An inquiry commission under the Supreme Court has slammed the federal interior minister, and the Balochistan chief minister and home minister for providing misleading information following a deadly terrorist attack in Quetta which claimed 70 lives and injured as many as 112 people earlier this year.
On August 8, a powerful explosion ripped through Civil Hospital in Quetta when Balochistan Bar Association President Bilal Kasi’s body was being brought to the emergency department. Kasi was gunned down in a targeted killing earlier that day.
An inquiry commission, formed by the apex court under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, issued its detailed report on the incident on Thursday, taking 56 days to finalise the 110-page report and making 18 recommendations.
After thoroughly examining the concerned persons and obtaining responses from relevant ministries, departments and institutions, the Commission criticized the government and state apparatus in its “monumental failure to combat terrorism and perform basic protocols”.
The commission also called for authorities to expedite the distribution of the amount earmarked by the Balochistan and Punjab government as compensation for the legal heirs of the deceased.
Action should be taken against those broadcasting statements by banned organisations and terrorists, suggested the report.
In its findings, the report stated that the Federal Interior Ministry lacks a ‘sense of ministerial responsibility’.
It requested that Anti-Terrorism Act should be implemented immediately and action taken against proscribed organisations.
The report stated that both the federal and provincial governments are short-sighted and confused regarding the fight against terrorism, and lamented that the Balochistan government is directionless and plagued with nepotism.
“The [Interior] Ministry’s National Security Internal Policy is not being implemented. The Officers of the Ministry appear more interested in serving the Minister than the people of Pakistan,” said the inquiry report.
“Forensic tools are not being used to aid in tracing the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, and rudimentary methodologies to examine crime scenes, etcetera, have just not been developed or standardised,” the report stated.
The report said that National Action Plan was not being implemented and its goals not being prioritised. It further asked the government to take action under ATA against gatherings held by proscribed organisations.
“Another monumental failure has been the lack in silencing extremist speech, literature, and propaganda. There has been a complete failure in producing and then disseminating a counter narrative,” mentioned the report.
“This country was created by those who wanted to ameliorate the condition of the Muslims of the subcontinent, and to uphold the freedoms of those of every faith. The message of Unity, Faith, and Discipline was unfortunately sabotaged by hypocrites and extremists and needs to be rejected.
“The original motto needs to be reclaimed, and in doing so, we will come closer in ensuring that fundamental freedoms are safeguarded,” stated Justice Qazi Faez Isa in his concluding remarks.