Lahore: Pakistan’s deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz has blamed former ISI chief Gen Faiz Hamid for the suicide attack in a high-security zone mosque in Peshawar that killed 101 people, including 97 policemen. “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan’s facilitator, Gen Faiz Hamid, who was posted in Peshawar (as Corps commander) was responsible for the Peshawar attack,” Maryam, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice-president, told a party gathering in Bahawalpur city of Punjab.
A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up during the afternoon prayers on Monday in the mosque in the Police Lines area in Peshawar, killing 101 people and injuring more than 200 others. The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
“The one (Gen Hamid) whom Imran Khan used to call his eyes, hands and ears, was posted in Peshawar (Corps commander). Why did he open doors for terrorists (from Afghanistan)? Why did he say that terrorists were our brothers and invited them to Pakistan? Why did he release hardcore terrorists from prison?” Maryam asked.
She further said, “had he (Gen Hamid) become the eyes, hands and ears of Pakistan, this situation (of terrorism) would not have happened.” Maryam also taunted the former ISI chief for his “controversial visit” to Afghanistan at the time of the fall of Ashraf Ghani government. “This man used to say in Afghanistan that everything is fine while drinking qahwa,” she lambasted.
Lt Gen Hamid, who served as the chief of the spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from June 2019 to November 2021, was the first high-ranking foreign official to visit Afghanistan after the Taliban seized the Afghan capital in mid-August in 2021.
In the last phase of his stint as head of the ISI, he became the focus of a controversy between Imran Khan and then army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as the latter had decided to post him as commander of the Peshawar Corps and the former was not willing to relieve him. He was ultimately posted out to Peshawar, where he served for less than a year before being moved to the Bahawalpur Corps.
The post of ISI chief is considered one of the most important in the Pakistan Army, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence and has hitherto wielded considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.
Maryam said her father rid the country of terrorism but it returned because of the bad policies of the Imran Khan regime. She also indirectly hit out at former army chief Gen Bajwa and former chief justice Saqib Nisar for her father’s ouster.
“If Nawaz Sharif was the cause of all problems then there should have been rivers of milk and honey flowing in the country during the four-year tenure of Imran Khan,” she said, adding that Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif saved the country from becoming Sri Lanka, which is facing its worst economic crisis in decades.