ISLAMABAD -  Breaking his silence on criticism of PPP leadership after Sehwan Sharif attack, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Saturday said it was the Sindh government's responsibility to provide security to the shrine of sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalander.

Also, he blamed the provincial governments in general for failing to prevent a number of terrorist attacks despite the federal government issuing specific threat alerts.

The minister said he stood by his own two principles, which he adopted during his term as interior minister, of not criticising anybody over any lapses and not taking credit individually for any success. However, he said he has to speak after the Sindh government held his ministry responsible for poor security arrangements at the shrine.

The minister was addressing the consultation meeting of representatives of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBA) on recent wave of terrorism in the country. State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb was also present on the occasion.

"I conducted strict accountability during internal meetings but never publicly criticised anyone (as interior minister)," he said. He added that he deemed it inappropriate to do politics on issues relating to war against terrorism.

Nisar said that security of the shrine was a provincial responsibility but even then he was criticised for it.

“Following the volley of criticism on the federal government, I had to raise the questions at the briefing after the blast... and ask them why there was not enough security to begin with. Why were the walk-through gates not working, and why was the power supply cut at the shrine? They [Sindh government] had no answers to these questions."

He told journalists that during a briefing on the Sehwan bombing the Army Chief asked Sindh Chief Secretary over security arrangements at the shrine before the blasts, the CS had no satisfactory answer to present. Nisar said that millions are collected every year from the shrine, and asked where all those funds go if a fare portion of it is not spent on the security of the complex.

Chaudhry Nisar put the blame on provincial governments for a number of terrorist attacks saying that the federal government issued quite specific threat alerts to the provinces but even then the attacks could not be foiled.

"There have been numerous times that our department has had intelligence about certain attacks and we informed the provincial governments to take measures to prevent those attacks, but they did not act on our tips… When those attacks that we had told them about were carried out, they shamelessly raised fingers at the interior ministry for not doing its job."

The minister gave reference to the Bannu Jail attack, saying that meetings were even held with the provincial government sensitising it about the threat of jailbreak but attack could not be warded off.

He claimed that law and order situation had improved a lot during the last three and a half years. On average, 6-7 explosions used to occur daily in the past but significant decline had been witnessed after the efforts during the present government, he said, reiterating a much repeated statement and ignoring the recent wave of terrorism that had gripped the whole country.

However, the minister said it was not a justification for the deteriorating situation, though it was a fact that the number of explosions reduced from over 2,000 to 700 per year [after the PML-N came to power]. Out of these 700 explosions, he said, no loss of life was reported in 260 incidents.

Pakistan has a porous border of around 2,500km with Afghanistan and there are multi-faceted issues in this regard, Nisar said. He said that 30,000 to 40,000 people used to travel earlier without documents through this border, with no policy to stop them or existence of any data bank to check their movement.

The minister urged the media to play frontline role in countering the terrorism menace and unite the nation by keeping feelings of fear and depression away from them. He said that media had great power, it could portray fear or hope and both would have an impact on the masses. He urged the media to portray a soft image of the country.

He however appreciated the role of the media, saying that it acted upon its earlier appeal in such a meeting held on January 18, 2015 for not giving due coverage to representatives of terrorist organisations. The media stopped this practice completely, he added.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali stressed it was mutual responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure implementation of 20-point National Action Plan. He said that implementation on 10 points was the responsibility of the provinces, four of interior ministry, four of other ministries and one point was about army. But unfortunately, he said, the interior ministry was always criticised for political point scoring in every TV discussion on NAP.

He said foreign hand was involved in terrorist activities and endorsed PM’s remarks that decision to launch Raddul Fasaad was taken at the PM House.

“Our government ensured legislation to prevent cyber crimes despite hurdles in its way,’ the interior minister informed representatives of media bodies. He urged the participants to further consider as how to corner or blacklist terrorists.

The media delegation included Sarmad Ali, Aamir Mehmud, Shakeel Masood, Ejaz ul Haq, Mehtab Khan, Umer Shami, Shaheen Qureshi, Kazim Khan, Shahab Zuberi, Tahir Farooq, Abdul Basit and Ms Rameeza Majeed Nizami. Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami and Arif Nizami also attended the meeting on special invitation. Agencies add: Later the same day, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said the suspects from Sehwan carnage were identified using same equipment that 'others' said was not functioning properly.

"The bomber was identified using footage from the same CCTV cameras that people had criticised saying they did not work," he told media.

"We have plans to increase security at shrines and other sensitive places," he said to a question.

He refused to comment directly on Nisar's assertions regarding failure of Sindh government in counter terrorism.