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MPAs seek probe into security forces’ failure to prevent cadet college attack

MPAs seek probe into security forces’ failure to prevent cadet college attack

QUETTA: A heated debate took place on the floor of the Balochistan Assembly on Tuesday regarding the failure of security forces to prevent the militant attack on the Police Training College which had claimed 63 lives and left 165 cadets injured.

Members of the opposition and treasury benches asked for an inquiry as to why security measures had not been taken despite an earlier alert about a possible terrorist attack. They demanded to know why those police cadets who had completed their training had been called back from their hometowns to the college.

Responding to the questions, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri said the government was fighting terrorists and had achieved much success which he could not disclose openly in the assembly. “I will inform the legislature about the details in an in-camera briefing,” he said.

He said the government and security forces were working hard to protect people and institutions.

“No government wants such tragic incidents to occur,” he said.

A judicial commission was probing the suicide attack on the civil hospital and a joint investigation team had initiated an inquiry into the Police Training College attack. “Those found responsible will face legal action,” he vowed.

Home Minster Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti said they were fighting a difficult war. The government was cracking down on terrorists and their abettors according to the strategy evolved. “We are aware of our responsibilities and are doing our best to fulfil them,” he said, adding that the government wanted to inform people about those behind the attacks.

He said in the case of the attack on the Police Training College, the attackers were getting guidelines from across the border.

He said security forces had conducted 4,956 operations against terrorists and banned outfits in the past year. “I will share the details of these operations in an in-camera briefing,” he said.

The home minister said that the government welcomed positive criticism and would improve the performance of security forces. He said three senior police officers had been suspended for dereliction of duty and an inquiry into the Police Training College attack was under way.

To the members of the opposition demanding his resignation, he said, “If these problems would end with my resignation, I would gladly resign from office”.

Mr Bugti, however, said it did not seem likely. “We have to fight terrorism together as the government cannot win this war alone.”

Earlier Zamrak Khan Piralizai, the deputy opposition leader, said the inquiry should start with the question as to why police cadets had been called back to Quetta after they had completed their training and had returned to their home districts. He asked what security measures the government and relevant authorities had taken after receiving a security alert a few days before the attack.

The government had declared the national highways safe and claimed that everyone could travel even at night. “We do not consider ourselves protected, even in our homes,” said Mr Piralizai. He said the inquiry into the Police Training College attack should be given to the judicial commission appointed by the Supreme Court to conduct a probe into the civil hospital suicide attack.

He said the families of police cadets who had died in the attack should be given Rs10 million as compensation, as was given to the lawyers who had died in the civil hospital attack. He said jobs should also be given to a member of each family who had lost their loved ones.

Taking part in the debate, former speaker Mir Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali said the two recent incidents had left the province shocked as the atrocities were committed under the nose of those charged with protecting people. “We live in a conflict zone, but what measures have been taken to rectify the situation?”

Published in Dawn November 9th, 2016

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