Fight against terrorism to continue undeterred: Raja Pervez Ashraf

Raja Pervez Ashraf

Amidst nationwide anger and outrage over brazen terror attacks against Shias, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf today said the fight against terrorism would continue "undeterred till its logical end".

Addressing a weekly meeting of his cabinet, Ashraf expressed sorrow at the bomb attack in Quetta targeting Hazara Shias that killed 89 people on Saturday.

"The cabinet reiterates its resolve to continue its fight against terrorism and remain undeterred till its logical end. The cabinet also resolves to bring to book the culprits behind such brutal acts," he said.

The premier referred to a string of recent terror attacks, including a Taliban assault on a security forces camp in Lakki Marwat that killed 23 people and a suicide attack on a Shia mosque in Hangu that killed 22, and said: "The fight against terrorism is a national issue and a national approach is required to be adopted for a solution".

The Pakistan Peoples Party-led government, which is set to complete its five-year term on March 16, is facing growing criticism for failing to counter a spurt in violence by the Taliban and attacks on the minority Shia community.

The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for two attacks on Hazara Shias in Quetta that killed over 180 people.

After Shias began a sit-in protest with bodies of peoplekilled in Saturday's bomb attack, the government directed security forces to launch a "targeted operation" against banned militant groups in Quetta. Following talks yesterday with a parliamentary team led by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Shia groups buried their dead today. Ashraf said his government needed the "support and strength of all the political leadership of the country" to address "grave" issues.

"Pakistan continues to confront courageously the menace ofterrorism and we will continue to fight till it is wiped out," he said.He contended that negotiations with Shia groups in Quetta had been successful because of the efforts of the parliamentary committee, a "focussed and targeted operation" against militant groups in Quetta and the appointment of a new police chief for Balochistan province.

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