Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Thursday that while the rise in terror incidents was alarming, it would not get “out of control”.
“It is not worrying […] Don’t think that this is going out of control or that some group will become out of reach,” he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.
At the same time, the minister raised alarm over the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claiming responsibility for the suicide attack in Quetta yesterday, which claimed four lives, including that of a policeman.
That the TTP claiming responsibility for the attack was both “alarming and condemnable,” he said, adding that the TTP’s activities posed a danger to regional peace and should also be a cause of concern for neighbouring Afghanistan.
Sanaullah also regretted that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan did not attend a recent security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
He emphasised the need for provincial governments, security agencies and authorities, particularly KP and Balochistan, to address the issue of rising militancy in an effective manner.
“They need to take this matter seriously, and whenever they will need the help of the federal government and its agencies, we will assist them without any delay.
“Political matters aside, we have to play our role according to the system. I believe it is the KP CM’s responsibility to seek the help he needs from the federation and to address these matters,” Sanaullah asserted.
In response to a question from a reporter, the minister highlighted that the Afghan government had made a promise to the world that they would not allow their soil to be used for terrorism.
“If they follow through with this, it is not only in the benefit of Pakistan but it is also for their own benefit […] Because if the TTP is present there and is carrying out terrorist activities here, their soil is being used [for terrorist activities] contrary to their claims.”
During the press conference, the minister also castigated PTI chief Imran Khan for “attempting to spread anarchy and chaos” in the country and for persistently pushing the country toward uncertainty.
Sanaullah said that after the “failure” of the PTI’s long march, Imran should have accepted his defeat, apologised to the nation and made his way back to parliament.
“He should have sat down with politicians. Deadlocks are broken when politicians sit down together.” He gave the example of the coalition government, saying the parties had differing opinions on many issues but sat down and talked it over.
“But this man (Imran) has stooped so low. He only has one thing on his mind that what he says should be accepted.” The minister claimed that the mudslinging Imran indulged in after the retirement of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa showed that he had “no humanity or shame”.
Taking exception with the PTI’s announcement regarding dissolving the KP and Punjab assemblies, he said: “He (Imran) says he wants to exit the corrupt system. But if that is what you want to do, then resign from the Senate and Gilgit-Baltistan and ask the president to also hand in his resignation.”
He also said that media reports suggested the PTI would dissolve the assemblies by Dec 20. “If you have decided to dissolve the assemblies, then why wait?”
The minister went on to say that the PTI’s decision was also jeopardising free and fair elections in the country. He said that if polls were to take place in KP and Punjab, the provinces would not have caretaker governments when the general election takes place. “An attempt is being made to damage the system for free and fair elections.”
Sanaullah stated that the government would not play a part in the PTI’s “unconstitutional” decision to dissolve the assemblies. The minister condemned the PTI’s decision but at the same time said the government was prepared if the two provinces head towards polls.
“We are ready to go to the polls. We are not scared. Our stance is for assemblies to complete their terms, which was once also their (PTI’s) stance.”