Thwe two statements below were released by the socialist Awami Workers Party (AWP) in response to the February 16 terrorist attack on the Lal Shehbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, Sindh and the February 13 terrorist attack in Lahore. They are reposted from Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.
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The AWP expresses grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in another terrorist attack on the shrine of Lal Shehbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Sindh, one of the most revered mystic shrines of the country.
“We express heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the families of those killed and injured in the terrorist attack,” AWP President Fanoos Gujjar and secretary general Akhtar Hussain said in a statement on Thursday.
At least 70 devotees including children and women have been killed and more than 100 injured in a suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in Sehwan, the constituency of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday evening.
The two leaders demanded the government to provide proper medical assistance to the injured and compensation to the families of the victims.
The fresh spike in terror attacks with a rapid succession in Peshawar, Mohmand Agency, Parachinar, Lahore, Quetta and Sehwan have put a question mark on the capabilities and will of the government and security apparatus in fighting the monsters, the two leaders said.
These attacks also belie the claims of the political and military leadership that the backbone of the terrorists has been broken and their network smashed.
Earlier in the day on Thursday an explosive device targeting an army convoy killed three security personnel in the Awaran area of Balochistan.
The AWP leaders criticised the law enforcement and security agencies for failing to protect the people despite spending billions of rupees on Zarb-e-Azb as it was the second terrorist attack within four days and third attack in a month’s time this year claiming over 200 civilian and security personnel’s lives and injuring over 300 others.
On Feb 15, a suicide bomber struck in Mohmand Agency, killing three personnel of the Khasadar force and five civilians. The same day, a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a vehicle carrying judges in Peshawar’s Hayatabad area killing the driver and injuring four others. On Feb 13, a suicide bomber struck a protest by chemists on Lahore’s Charing Cross interchange, killing 16 people including six senior police officers and injuring 85 outside the gates of Punjab’s Assembly. On the same day, two personnel of Balochistan’s bomb disposal squad were killed as they attempted to defuse an explosive device planted under the Sariab Road bridge in Quetta.
A similar attack took place on November 12, 2016, when a suicide bomber struck the shrine of Shah Norani in the Khuzdar district of Balochistan, where at least 52 people were killed and 102 were injured because of security lapse. But it seems that the law enforcers and security apparatus have not learnt from the past negligence, the AWP leaders said.
Jamaatul Ahrar (JA) and other splinters groups of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks, including the March 2016 Easter bombing at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore, which killed over 70 people.
The government and security apparatus should come out of the state of denial and do soul searching.
The two leaders said that the security apparatus instead of pointing fingers at external forces should smash the nurseries and safe sanctuaries of the terrorists inside the country.
They criticised the government for resisting action against extremist sectarian organizations which are linked with terrorist outfits.
“Terrorism cannot be eliminated completely unless and until action against the nurseries and safe sanctuaries of terrorists taken throughout the country,” they said.
The two leaders said that the police instead of going after the terrorists were arresting poor balloon sellers, pushcart owners, peasants, progressive and nationalist political workers.
They demanded a swift action against religious seminaries which were providing shelter or are breeding grounds for the terrorists.
They also demanded action against all proscribed and sectarian outfits throughout the country.
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The AWP expresses grief over the loss of 16 lives in yet another terrorist attack in Lahore.
On February 13, AWP spokesperson Farooq Tariq condemned the failure of law enforcement agencies in foiling the terrorist attack despite forewarning. He expressed sympathies with the families of those killed and injured in the attack.
At least 16 people, including six police officers, were killed and more than 80 injured in a suicide bombing outside the Punjab Assembly in the heart of Lahore on the evening of February 13. It occurred while hundreds of chemists were protesting nearby against a new regulatory law.
Jamaatul Ahrar, a faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group previously claimed responsibility for last year’s Easter bombing at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore, which killed more than 70 people.
Tariq demanded adequate financial and medical assistance to the victims. He criticised the law enforcement and security agencies for failing to protect the people, as it was the second major terrorist attack in two months this year.
Tariq pointed out that billions of rupees have already been spent on the counter-terrorist Operation Zarb-e-Azb. “The civil and military leadership every now and then claim that the backbone of the terrorists has been broken but they still strike wherever and whenever they want every month,” he said.
He criticised the interior minister and the Punjab government for not taking action against some sectarian outfits in Punjab. Tariq said that terrorism could not be eliminated completely if action against the nurseries and safe sanctuaries of terrorists is not taken throughout the country.
Tariq noted that the police were quick enough to take action against peasants and working class people when they protested for their rights, yet were hesitant to weed out terrorists.