RAWALPINDI – Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa said on Tuesday that Pakistan Army will not allow the enemy’s plans to use terrorism as a tool for fanning sectarianism in the country to succeed.
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The COAS would be spending the second day of Eid in Parachinar. However, ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor informed the army chief’s visit to Kurram Agency was postponed due to poor weather.
“Army authorities are in communication with Parachinar victims’ families and local tribal leaders. The army chief will go immediately [to Parachinar] on clearance of weather,” said Maj Gen Ghafoor, in a statement.
Meanwhile, families of the Parachinar bombing victims continued their protest on Tuesday as the death toll from the Friday’s twin blasts rose to 72, marking a grisly Eid for the town worst hit by militancy so far in 2017.
Officials confirmed that five more died in hospital. At least 10 others are said to be in precarious condition.
Members of the Shia community in Parachinar, capital of Kurram Agency – a mainly Shia area in the tribal belt – held protests against the attack claimed by the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami.
On the first day of Eid, families of the victims and locals gathered in Shaheed Park where they staged a demonstration against the repeated terrorist attacks in Parachinar and the firing allegedly carried out by the forces to dispel the demonstrators.
They said that they would end the sit-in after Gen Bajwa and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar came to negotiate with them.
The army chief, who recently returned from an official visit to Turkey, has during last 48 hours held meetings with various religious leaders and clergymen in a bid to encourage sectarian harmony.
“We all are united as Muslim and Pakistanis. [The] enemy’s attempts to target sectarianism shall not succeed,” ISPR quoted the army chief as saying earlier on Tuesday.
The ulemas, in return, assured Gen Bajwa of their complete cooperation to promote religious solidarity. Sources said the army chief met Allama Raja Nasir Abbas and Allama Iftikhar Naqvi.
In the meantime, “army authorities [are] in communication with Parachinar victim’s families and local tribal leaders”, ISPR said.
Gen Bajwa is also expected to visit Karachi and Quetta after Parachinar.
Ahead of Eidul Fitr this year, the country witnessed a spate of terror attacks that left at least 90 people dead.
On Friday, at least 14 people including 10 policemen were killed in a blast targeting police in Quetta that was claimed by both the militant Islamic State group and the Jamaatul Ahrar, and in Karachi four policemen were killed in a drive-by shooting as they opened their fast at a roadside restaurant the same day.