Politicians condemn Bahawalpur incident

Dawn ReportISLAMABAD, Oct 28: Chiefs of various political parties have condemned the killings of innocent people in a terrorist attack on a church in Bahawalpur on Sunday.

In a statement, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf chief, Imran Khan, said the government must ensure protection of all minorities living in the country. Killing of innocent people belonging to any religion or having any ethnic background could not be justified under any pretext, he added.

The PTI chief warned against rising tension in the country due to the continued US attacks on Afghanistan. "The government must ask the US to immediately stop indiscriminate bombing in Afghanistan as only through political dialogue can this crisis be resolved", he said.

Mr Khan emphasized that the time had come for the US to review its policy. He said by attacking Afghanistan, the US government had acted as a judge, jury, and the executioner, which was unacceptable.

Imran Khan called upon the government to initiate serious consultation with all segments of the society to discuss and evolve Pakistan's future strategy, which should be in conformity with the aspirations of the people.

The TJP chief, Allama Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi, in a separate statement, expressed his profound sense of shock and sorrow over the killings of 16 persons as a result of firing by the terrorists in a church in Bahawalpur.

He condemned the tragic happening and said because of the existing global situation and as a result of the key role that Pakistan had been playing, certain anti-Pakistan forces were out to defame the country and to tarnish its peaceful and positive role.

Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi said President General Pervez Musharraf was entirely responsible for this tragic incident as he had been focussing all his attention and energies towards fight against international terrorism and neglecting the situation inside the country.

He recalled that his organization had drawn the attention of the authorities that besides cooperating with the global campaign against terrorism, the rulers must keep their eyes open against the terrorists' groups working inside the country. However, he regretted the government had demonstrated traditional negligence and apathy as a result of which such a profoundly tragic incident took place.

While condemning this happening in severe terms, Allama Naqvi expressed apprehension that in the garb of this incident, efforts might be made to fan this happening. He warned Muslims and Christians to be careful and jointly foil the nefarious bids of the terrorists, who were out to defame Pakistan.

President Pakistan Muslim League (Qasim), Syed Kabir Ali Wasti also condemned the murder of 19 innocent people at Bahawalpur and termed it part of an international conspiracy against Pakistan.

In a statement issued here, the PML-Q chief expressed sorrow and grief with the Christian community on the gruesome incident and attack on the church. "Attack on a minority community at this time have been made to dub Pakistan as a terrorist country when it has extended full cooperation to combat international terrorism," he said.

He said the choice of Bahawalpur for committing such a heinous act was particularly ominous since it had a sizeable Christians community and churches, he added.

He said the powers and elements inimical to the country were involved in the Bahawalpur tragedy as these could not see the betterment of Pakistan and economic gains that Pakistan was achieving since the wise decision of President General Pervez Musharraf regarding support to US in war on terrorism.

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Older Comments:
It is good to see Muslim leaders condemning this senseless violence. I have studied Islam and I know that it teaches tolerance like "there is no compulsion in religion" i.e. you cannot force a religion on anyone and the verse which tells the prophet to recognize difference in faith by saying "to you your religion and to me mine".

I am deeply concerned with these recent events and I am apprehensive about how ignorant people will try to take advantage of this situation.

My heartfelt prayers to the families of the victims in this incident.

I pray for PEACE!