Terrorism on rise, but situation not out of control: Sana

Rana Sanaullah arrest

Says TTP terror activities should be concern for Taliban; Govt ready for polls if PTI dissolves assemblies

Ijaz Kakakhel

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday said rise in terror activities is alarming but the situation is not out of control and the country’s armed forces were fully capable of controlling the menace of terrorism and that Pakistan-based banned outfit’s involvement in the act of terrorism posed threats to the regional peace.

The federal minister was speaking to the media in the federal capital after attending a meeting to review the overall security situation in the country following a suicide blast in Quetta a day earlier. He said that banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan was behind the suicide blast in Quetta, assuring that things were “under control”. “TTP claiming responsibility for the Baleli suicide bombing is both alarming and condemnable,” he said, adding that the terror activities by the TTP militants in Pakistan should be concerning for the Afghan Taliban as it threatens the entire region’s peace. “TTP is enjoying all sorts of facilities in Afghanistan. It should be a matter of concern for Afghanistan as well. The minister further said that the provincial governments of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should fulfill their responsibility of ensuring law and order and may seek federation’s assistance to counter the terrorist threat. The federal government is keeping a check on the security situation across the country and our security forces are fully capable of dealing with any challenge, he added.

Rana Sanaullah asked provincial government to address law and order situation before the federal government takes matters into its own hands. “The KP CM didn’t attend the meetings chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif related to law and order,” the minister said and told the chief minister that he should have come as certain things are above politics because the state is more important. “Political matters aside, we have to play our role according to the system. I believe it is the KP CM’s responsibility to seek the help he needs from the federation and to address these matters,” Sanaullah asserted.

The minister said that individuals from TTP, who want peace, should be given safe passage. He said that the military leadership also agreed to this, which is why the talks are held on a regular basis. As far as the operations are concerned, powerful operations are being conducted and it is reported on a daily basis that the armed forces are sacrificing their lives in the line of duty, he added.

Turning to domestic issues, Sanaullah slammed PTI chief Imran Khan for “attempting to spread anarchy and chaos” in the country and pushing the country toward uncertainty. Speaking on the Punjab and KP assemblies dissolution issue, the minister said that elections will be held only on Punjab and KP assembly seats while the general election will be held on time.

“PTI chief’s announcement to dissolve assemblies in rallies is unconstitutional and undemocratic,” he said, adding that the PDM and allies will use all legal options to stop the assemblies from being dissolved. The minister accused former prime minister Imran Khan for trying to destabilize the country, adding that the peace was tantamount to political stability.

Sanaullah said that PTI is making every effort to destabilize the country. “Economy cannot strengthen when there’s political uncertainty in the country. When PTI were in government their agenda was to eliminate the Opposition and now they are trying to destabilize the country.”

Sanaullah said that after the “failure” of the PTI’s long march, Imran should have accepted his defeat, apologized to the nation and made his way back to parliament. “He should have sat down with politicians. Deadlocks are broken when politicians sit down together.” He gave the example of the coalition government, saying the parties had differing opinions on many issues but sat down and talked it over. “We are ready to go to the polls. We are not scared. Our stance is for assemblies to complete their terms, which was once also their (PTI’s) stance.”