South Asia

Pakistan’s political, military leadership rush to act

Army personnel enter the Army Public School which was attacked on Tuesday by Taliban gunmen, in Peshawar on Wednesday.

Army personnel enter the Army Public School which was attacked on Tuesday by Taliban gunmen, in Peshawar on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: ZOHRA BENSEMRA

Lying on cots under the open skies, young boys in Peshawar donated so much blood for those injured and fighting for their lives after Tuesday’s school attack that hospitals ran out of storage space.

While the dead were being given a mass burial with their families shedding tears of sorrow and anger, and the toll from the attack rose to 148, the government called an all-party conference, where politicians put on a brave face but appeared helpless about what future course to take.

The best that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could come up with was an announcement that by next week, there would be a plan in place to counter terrorism.

“We have decided that all parliamentary and political leaders will decide a national consensus to defeat terrorism,” he said, adding that officials from intelligence agencies would also be taken on board.

Giving in to demands from the army, Mr. Sharif announced an end to a moratorium on the death penalty in terror-related cases which have put over 400 on death row.

The only man who appeared to have a clear plan was Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif who, without waiting for protocol, simply informed the Afghan leadership that he was flying in to meet them for a day-long visit accompanied by DG ISI General Rizwan Akhter.

The official version put out by the Inter-Services Public Relations was that in meetings with his Afghan counterpart as well as President Ashraf Ghani, and International Security Assistance Force commander General Joseph Dunford, the Pakistan Army chief shared “essential intelligence”.

Sources said Gen. Raheel had demanded that either they help in extraditing Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Mullah Fazaullah, or allow Pakistan to go after him.

He was said to have shown them intelligence reports that the Peshawar attack was masterminded by TTP from Afghanistan. Sources said the Uzbek Islamic Movement was also involved.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:32:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/pakistans-political-and-military-leadership-rush-to-act/article6701738.ece

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