ISLAMABAD - The PML-N government, on the first private members day of the 20th National Assembly session, strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Lahore and vowed to arrest those involved in the brutal killing of two persons after the gruesome incident.

“Both the terrorist attacks on the churches and lynching of two persons after the incident are the worst kinds of terrorism,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said, concluding the discussion on the attacks on the two churches in Lahore.

Nisar said: “Though the government is appreciating the senior leaders of minorities for controlling the situation amicably, the way the two persons were burnt alive is unacceptable and all those involved in it will be brought to justice. No one can be given a licence to kill people in reaction to terrorist attacks,” said the interior minister, adding there was a need to give a unanimous message after such kinds of attacks. “We need to be united. We should not follow the agenda of terrorists by showing disarray after such incidents,” he added.

About Shafqat Hussain’s capital punishment, the minister asked the circles demanding halt to his execution on account of age should bring proofs he is a juvenile. “It is a matter of law and the Constitution because a seven-year-old child was killed by Shafqat,” he said.

“A political party that rules the Sindh province issued a formal statement on this matter two days ago. I would like to say that everyone has the right to express views. Similarly, every political party has right to expression. But let us keep politics aside,” the minister said, adding he had postponed the date of execution of his capital punishment. He said no proof about his age could be brought to his office. “The date has been fixed according to the law and by the courts. I am constantly in touch with the Sindh government. “Why this issue was not raised when an appeal was filed in the high court,” he questioned.

He further said the prison doctor had determined his age as 25 years and the jail authorities as 23 years. “From this hour to the hanging time we have 36 hours, so I would request anyone who has any document about his age to help the Interior Ministry,” he added.

About the Shikarpur blast incident, the minister told the house that two culprits involved in the terrorist act had been arrested with the help of close intelligence of security agencies. “Credit goes to the security and intelligence agencies for their close coordination,” said the minister, adding the real brain behind the incident would also be arrested.

He said what the people did in Lahore was like forwarding the agenda of terrorists. The interior minister told the house that 21 people were killed in suicide attacks on Lahore churches and other related incidents. “This includes 14 Christians and seven Muslims. In the suicide attacks 10 Christians and five Muslims were killed. Later, two Muslims were burnt alive by protesters. Two injured expired at hospitals and two Christians were run over by a female car driver who was trying to save her life after the protesters had attacked her,” Nisar said.

He said during the last 14 years minorities suffered numerous attacks, but the Christian leaders expressed restraint which was appreciated. “However, the reaction to the Lahore incident was unlawful and violent. Such acts fulfill the agenda of the terrorists. What we need is to express restraint and stand united against terrorism,” he asserted.

The interior minister said mosques and imambargahs came under attack in Shikarpur, Quetta and other parts of the country, but the families of the victims did not burn anyone.

He said one of the two burnt by the protesters had been identified and he was a peaceful, innocent citizen. “Killing innocent people and staging violence to create sectarian strife is motive of terrorists and what happened in Lahore was also the same what the terrorists desired,” the minister observed. “Today, the situation has improved, but the war is not yet over. So we need to be sane and responsible,” he added.

“The Lahore incidents are humiliating for the country, democracy and law. We cannot close down our schools, markets and worship places; rather we need to live as a vibrant and responsible society,” he maintained.

Nisar said, “Today the security and intelligence agencies have better coordination, today we have an action plan and today there is also a need for unity in our ranks. Whatever the challenges are, we shall win this war, bring peace to our motherland and bring terrorists to justice.”

Taking the floor, PPP senior lawmaker Naveed Qamar lauded the efforts of intelligence agencies for arresting the culprits behind the Shikarpur incident. He also strongly condemned the lynching of two persons.

Earlier, PPP, ANP and PkMAP jointly walked out of the house for not convening any meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) for the last nine months. “It is an unconstitutional act of the government,” they said.

Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada tendered apology on government’s behalf for not holding a CCI meeting. “I apologise on behalf of the government. Now a meeting will be held tomorrow (Wednesday),” he added.

Earlier, PPP lawmaker Belum Hasnain introduced a private legislation to establish national commission for minorities, which the chair referred to the committee concerned while the government didn’t oppose it. The bill seeks realisation of the rights and safeguards provided to the minorities under the Constitution and law.

JI MNAs tabled Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Amendment Bill, 2015. JI’s Ayesha Syed introduced Witnesses Protection Bill, 2015, to carry out the speedy trial of terrorists by providing protection to witnesses.