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  • Oct 31st, 2006
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NWFP finance minister and provincial Amir of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Siraj-ul-Haq on Monday quit his ministerial post in protest against the killing of 80 students of a religious seminary in Bajaur Agency.

Addressing a press conference here at Peshawar Press Club (PPC), he said that he had already informed JI Amir Qazi Hussain Ahmad and NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani "about my decision of resignation from the cabinet". The chief minister, he said, would send the resignation to the Governor House for acceptance.

"I will now utilise all my energies and efforts to bring Islamic revolution in the country," he added.

He said that the incident occurred in Imam Baro Cheena, Tehsil Mamoon, Bajaur Agency at 5:02 am at Madrassa Zia-ul-uloom Taleemul Qur'an of Maulvi Liaquat, having 83 students at the time killing 80 of them on the spot. The age of majority of the victims was less than 20 years. The patron of the seminary, Maulvi Liaquat, was also killed in the incident, which occurred just 2 km from the residence of MNA from Bajaur Agency, Haroon Rashid.

He said that he was feeling ashamed to go there in official protocol. So, he quit the ministerial vehicle and preferred to travel on a motorbike. "The bombardment had brought complete destruction to the building and the limbs of the teenage students were spread all around the area," Siraj said, his voice filled with emotion. He said that out of 80 bodies only 45 were in somewhat recognisable condition otherwise, heads, hands and other parts were spread all around the ground. The body parts of some dead persons were also bundled into bags.

He said that the residents of the area offered collective Namaz-e-Janaza for the dead. He said he led the Namaz-e-Janaza, which was attended by about 25,000 people, while a large number of women were also present.

He said that the government had signed a peace agreement with the tribal elders through NWFP governor and political administration of Bajaur Agency. The Jirga, which signed the peace agreement, comprised 100 key political elders. The government also reciprocated with good gesture with release of 10 tribesmen.

Both government and tribesmen were happy with the signing of the agreement, which was later ratified by two grand tribal Jirgas, attended by 3,000 people. In such a situation, there was no need of going for such kind of bombardment, killing innocent teenagers.

He said that the federal government, in exchange of such steps, receives $900 from the United States, which is not a deal of profit but deficit. He expressed the hope that the blood of innocent children would not go waste, "and we will not remain silent over this naked cruelty".

Siraj held the US and its allies responsible for the genocide of innocent tribesmen. Criticising acceptance of responsibility by military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan, he said that the people had not given planes and bullets for use against their own people.

He demanded of the federal government to stand down in the wake of the acceptance of the responsibility by General Shaukat Sultan. However, in case of attack from outside the country, he urged the government to fix responsibility on responsible officials.

He said that on Tuesday protest would be observed all over the country to condemn the incident, and warned that such acts should be prevented in other parts of the country. He said that the JI Amir would make formal announcement from Islamabad.

Online adds: Meanwhile, the MMA accepted resignations of NWFP Minister Siraj-ul-Haq and MNA Haroon Rashid.

MMA President Qazi Hussain Ahmad in a statement said that following attack of security forces on a seminary in Bajaur agency, NWFP Minister Siraj-ul-Haq and MNA Haroon Rashid resigned from the government in protest. Resignations of both had been accepted by MMA, he added. He further said Haroon Rashid was against the operation of security forces in his area.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2006

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2006

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