ISLAMABAD – Political leaders from across the national spectrum on Saturday expressed grief and shock over the death of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa senior minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour along with nine ANP activists in a suicide attack in Peshawar on Saturday evening, and called upon the nation to stand up against the menace of terrorism.

With Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s announcing one-day national mourning for the martyred leader, the national flag would be brought down to half-mast on Sunday (today).

Paying glowing tribute to Bilour, the premier termed his death as a great national loss, and condemned the cowardly terrorist attack. He said, “Bilour was a courageous man who sacrificed his life for his conviction.” It was a national loss indeed, the prime minister said in his condolence message to the bereaved family members. He prayed that may Almighty Allah rest the departed soul in Janatul Firdous and grant fortitude to his family to bear this immense loss.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan expressed deep sorrow over the sad demise of Bilour, saying his party valued his efforts for peace in the country and war against terrorism.

Condemning the suicide blast on an ANP workers’ meeting in Peshawar, Khan said, “The PTI condemns the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan that claimed the responsibility for the attack and their approach of violence as a weapon to achieve their reprehensible ends.”

 The PTI chief also came down hard on the government, and deplored that it had miserably failed in controlling the law and order situation in the country which, according to him, was evident from Saturday’s condemnable incident. Khan prayed for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in the dastardly act, and commiserated with their families and prayed for speedy recovery of the injured.

National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza and Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi strongly condemned the killing of Bashir Ahmad Bilour. In their messages to the bereaved family, the speaker and deputy speaker termed the attack an inhumane act of terrorism. They expressed heartfelt grief over the tragic death of Bilour, and prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity.

Senate Chairman Nayyer Hussain Bokhari and Deputy Chairman Sabir Ali Baloch, in their messages, termed the bombing of the ANP meeting a cowardly act. They said Bilour’s services to democracy would always be remembered and in this time of grief, the nation was mourning along with his family. Praying for the victims of the blast, they said may Allah rest their souls in peace and give courage to their families to bear these losses.

Leader of the House in Senate Jahangir Badar, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Ishaq Dar, Senator Sehar Kamran and Former Home Minister Sindh Dr Zulfiqar Mirza also condemned the incident, and condoled with the bereaved families.