Chinese President Xi calls Pak PM Sharif, offers to deepen counter-terror cooperation
After 100 people were killed and 53 injured in a suicide attack in a police mosque in Peshawar, the police of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province hit the streets to protest against the rising terrorism in the province.
Scores of police officers gathered in front of the Peshawar press club and raised slogans against the rising terrorism. They also demanded justice for their colleagues, who were the victims of the suicide attack.
Holding placards, with different slogans inscribed, they demanded that an independent investigation be carried out into Monday’s suicide attack. They also said that they wanted to raise their voice against the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police.
The protest video went viral on multiple social media sites as it was the first time in history that a police force had protested against terrorism and also sought justice for the victims.
It is pertinent to mention that all but three were police officers who were killed in the attack on Monday.
A highly emotional Inspector General of Police, Moazzam Jah Ansari, stated on February 2 that the bomber behind Monday’s attack has been identified as a member of a terror network. He stated that the CCTV footage showed that the bomber, wearing a helmet and a mask, rode a motorcycle through the main checkpoint of police lines. He was dressed as a police officer. After parking, the biker asked for directions toward the mosque and went inside.
Ansari further stated, “I admit this was a security lapse. My men could not stop it. This is my fault.” He said the attacker was carrying 12-16 kg of TNT under his suicide vest. Since he was dressed as a police officer, he wasn’t checked, as the guards posted for checking took him as one of their own.
Ansari also said that he has told his officers to start investigating and stop protesting. He said that it was the duty of the police to find the terrorists and not protest. “There are losses in every battle, both on our side and theirs,” he said.
He also stated that allegations of an inside job are being investigated and that all details will be revealed soon.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang separately called up Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and condemned the suicide attack.
President Xi said China resolutely opposes all forms of terrorism and is willing to deepen counter-terror cooperation with Pakistan.
Pakistan has also sought cooperation from the Afghanistan-ruled Taliban. Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that Pakistan expected cooperation from the Afghan interim government in the probe. “Terrorism is a common threat to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” she stated while addressing the media.
Initially, Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack but later withdrew the claim. The police are also investigating Jamaat-ul-Arhar’s role in the attack.