Jun 282017
 

The Pakistan Army has called for a unified response to what it said was a "malicious" campaign by hostile intelligence agencies and anti-state elements to give a sectarian and ethnic colour to a recent string of terrorist incidents in the country that mainly targeted minority Shias.

"Having failed to divide us through terrorism, our enemy is now trying to target and fragment us along sectarian/ethnic lines which merits a unified national response," said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release on Wednesday.

The people of Pakistan need to be cognisant of the campaign, which is also "unwittingly" being spread on social media, said the statement, adding that the army is closely following the situation.

"For us every shaheed [martyred]/injured is equal, regardless of sect/ethnicity and indeed is a great loss," it quoted Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as saying.

"We all are Pakistanis and Muslims who fully respect the religious rights of our Pakistani minorities."

According to the ISPR, the army chief interacted with religious clergy of all sects over the last few days to seek their involvement in defeating the "campaign" to create sectarian tension.

The army iterated that those responsible for the bombings in Parachinar shall be brought to law and the victims will be compensated without any discrimination.

"Alhamdulillah, we have brought security situation in country including Fata under control and shall not allow its regression at any cost," said Gen Bajwa.

The army chief was to spend the second day of Eid in Parachinar, where at least 72 people died and 200 others were injured in twin blasts last Friday. However, his visit was postponed due to bad weather.

In the days leading up to Eid, the country saw a spate of terror attacks that left at least 90 people dead.

On Friday, besides the Parachinar bombings, at least 14 people including 10 policemen were killed in a blast targeting police in Quetta that was claimed by both the militant Islamic State group and the Jamaatul Ahrar, and in Karachi four policemen were killed in a drive-by shooting as they opened their fast at a roadside restaurant the same day.

Members of the Shia community in Parachinar, capital of Kurram Agency ─ a mainly Shia area in the tribal belt ─ had earlier held protests against the attack claimed by the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami.

They said that they would end the sit-in after Gen Bajwa and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar came to negotiate with them.

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