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Bisham attack: PM Shehbaz orders immediate action against 5 officials for negligence of duty

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ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Attaullah Tarar on Saturday announced that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered immediate action to be taken against five officials for negligence of duty based on the findings of an inquiry report on the Bisham suicide attack which claimed the lives of six people, including five Chinese nationals.

The development comes a week after five Chinese engineers — and their Pakistani driver — were killed in a suicide bombing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bisham while travelling between Islamabad and a hydroelectric dam construction site in Dasu. The bus was attacked in the Bisham city of KP’s Shangla district.

The attack prompted China to demand a thorough probe into the deadly blast and security for its citizens. In response, Islamabad had announced a swift probe to hold the “perpetrators and accomplices” accountable. Chinese investigators had also arrived to join the probe.

In response to the Chinese government’s demand to promptly investigate the incident and act against those involved, the government had also decided to form a joint investigation team to probe the attack. A day ago, PM Shehbaz said he would personally oversee monthly security meetings for Chinese citizens working on development projects.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore today, Tarar reiterated the developments up till now in the matter and said an inquiry committee had submitted its findings, adding that the prime minister ordered action to be taken against certain officials in light of the report’s results.

Tarar stated that as per PM Shehbaz’s orders, the Hazara regional police officer, Upper Kohistan district police officer (DPO), Lower Kohistan DPO, the security director for the Dasu Hydropower Project and the commandant of the KP Special Security Unit would face disciplinary action.

“The inquiry report found these security officials were negligent in their duties and should have remained alert on the day of the incident,” he said, adding, “Disciplinary action will be taken within 15 days.”

The minister said that action taken on the inquiry report was an example of future matters regarding Chinese security being taken more seriously with no tolerance for any lacking or negligence.

Tarar added that the prime minister was personally supervising security matters pertaining to Chinese projects and an effective system was being developed in this regard.

“The government’s full attention is on maintaining security and nobody will be allowed to disturb the peace,” he reiterated, adding that all institutions were prepared to counter any security challenges.

“We pay homage to those who have laid down their lives in the war against terrorism.

Interior minister orders ‘foolproof’ security for Chinese nationals

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi ordered foolproof security measures for the protection of Chinese nationals in Pakistan.

A report from Radio Pakistan said he issued these orders while chairing a meeting in Islamabad today on security arrangements for Chinese citizens.

“Protection of foreigners, especially Chinese citizens, is the top priority,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

Naqvi directed the implementation of standard operating procedures for the safety of foreigners, particularly Chinese nationals.

He said the country’s enemies did not want development or prosperity in Pakistan. “We will never allow the nefarious designs of the terrorists to succeed,” Naqvi added.

SCO urges Afghanistan to fulfil counter-terrorism obligations

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) urged the Afghan government to fulfil its commitments towards combating terrorism, according to a report by state-run broadcaster Radio Pakistan.

The call was made at the 19th annual meeting of the SCO Security Councils in Astana, Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

A joint statement issued after the meeting said that the presence of international terrorist groups in Afghanistan posed a serious threat to the SCO’s member states.

The statement emphasised the importance of expanding cooperation to address terrorist threats, transnational organised crime, suppression of channels financing terrorism and illegal migration.