Govt will punish perpetrators of Quetta attack: Ashraf

Islamabad: Calling for collective action to eliminate terrorism, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday pledged that his government would go to any extent to punish those responsible for the bomb attack that killed scores of Shia Hazaras in Quetta.

"It is not time for a political divide. It is not time to discriminate between the government and the opposition. We need collective wisdom and action for the nation's deliverance from the challenges it faces," Ashraf said, while addressing the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

He spoke after the House discussed the law and order situation with special reference to the devastating bomb attack that killed 89 people and injured nearly 200 in a Shia-dominated area of Quetta on Saturday.

The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack, which came barely a month after twin suicide bombings in Quetta killed 92 Shias.

Strongly condemning Saturday's bomb attack, the premier said his government would take all steps to bring the perpetrators to task without making any compromise.

Ashraf said the government will fulfill all the demands of the Hazara community, including the deployment of security forces as the foremost objective is to protect their lives and properties.

Ashraf said he had directed the Balochistan Governor to probe whether the bombing was the outcome of negligence on the part of any security agency. He said action would be taken if any negligence was proved.

"It is an undeniable fact that our society is in the clutches of different forms of terrorism and bloodshed has affected all the provinces and every section of society and all institutions, including security forces, politicians, students, mosques and schools," he said.

Ashraf said the time had come to "strengthen each other against militants as a strong collective message would ultimately weaken anti-state forces".