Pakistan PM urges national unity after mosque bombing
Islamabad, Feb 3 (EFE).- Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday called for national unity in fighting terrorism after a suicide bombing at a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed at least 100 people and injured more than 150 earlier this week.
“If we do not act now, history will not forgive us,” Sharif said at a high-level meeting in Peshawar, calling on all parties to join hands at a time when the country needs coordinated efforts to counter growing violence.
According to statistics released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, January was the deadliest month for the country since 2018, with 134 people losing their lives, and 254 getting wounded in at least 44 militant attacks across the country.
“We have to avoid differences and become one wall (against terrorism),” said the prime minister, who has called an all-party meeting in this regard on Tuesday (Jan. 7).
The attack was carried out on Monday at a mosque in the police lines area – a residential and training complex for the police – of Peshawar, capital of the restive northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Around 300-400 devotees, most of them police officers, had been offering afternoon prayers at the mosque when the attacker detonated himself, blowing away the building’s ceiling.
Sharif on Friday admitted that the incident amounted to a security lapse, but insisted that this did not mean that terrorists had made a stronghold in a particular area.
“They do not have an inch in their control. They roam about here and there. But there is no place in their possession,” he said.
Although the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the main Taliban offshoot in the country, has denied responsibility for the mosque bombing, the group has been behind most of the recent attacks in the region.
TTP attacks have increased after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021, and even more since December, when the rebels resumed fighting after a series of failed negotiations. EFE