Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister has accused the terrorists who attacked the PNS Mehran of helping Pakistan’s enemy.
“They have destroyed the same ships that would have helped Pakistan detect enemy ships.. By destroying them, they have helped our enemy,” Malik said.
Malik asked Pakistani people to realize who are the enemies of the state. He pointed out that there are some people in Pakistan who pray for blessings to the terrorists when such attacks take place.
“For God’s sake, please realize who is your enemy.. If anyone attacks Pakistan, he is Pakistan’s enemy. Please do not make sensationalist statements just to come on TV.. Let’s show the World that we are united,” he appealed to the people.
“Some politicians said they [the government] are lying, the Taliban are good. Are these the acts of good people? This is a question of our future, the future of our children,” he said.
A large number of terrorists, between 10 and 25, attacked the base Sunday night, armed with automatic weapons, rocket launchers and grenades. Four of them were arrested while they managed to destroy two P-3C Orion aircraft, used in surveillance.
However, Malik said there only 4-6 terrorists — three of whom have been recovered dead. Two are suspected to have escaped and one is yet to be traced.
The reaction by Malik is part of efforts by the Pakistan government to wean public opinion away from fundamentalists and extremists.
The Pakistani government has been under attack from the International community for failing to crack down on Islamic terrorists while under attack from inside the country for being too hard on Islamists.
Many Islamist groups have large support bases among the Pakistani public and the current attack is being seen as a ‘God Given’ opportunity for the Government to try to influence public opinion against the extremists.
The government has, in the past, characterized some Islamist extremists as agents of India — its enemy number one.
Malik also praised the commandos and officials killed in the attack. He said 10 officers and commandos were killed, while 15 people were injured, including 3 firemen.
There were 17 foreigners, including 11 Chinese and 4 American military officials. Malik said they were all saved “amidst gunfire.”
Four of the terrorists blew themselves up, he added.
“They had fair features.. we will soon be establishing their origins and ethnicity,” Malik said. He said no one has been arrested and dismissed rumors that the attackers were from Punjab [in Pakistan.] “Please don’t spread any rumor.. The Taliban have claimed responsibility.. But we will investigate and find out where they are from,” he said.
“They were very fair. They had very sharp features, 20-30 or 35.. They were not wearing Salwar Kameez (Pakistan dress.) They had western clothes. They had one-inch beards,” he said.
He pointed out that the terrorists had rocket launchers. “Rocket launchers are not there with ordinary terrorists.. They are supplied only to states. That is why I ask you to be patient before jumping to conclusions about who is behind this. This episode shows to what extent Pakistan’s enemies will fall to make us weaker,” he pointed out.
The destroyed aircrafts were used to detect submarines.