President Zardari visits Rawalpindi mosque blast victims

President Asif Ali Zardari inquiring about the health of the injured of Parade Lane Mosque blast during his visit to CMH. Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is also present on the occasion.—Photo

RAWALPINDI, 07 Dec, 2009 (Dawn): President Asif Ali Zardari visited the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) on Monday to enquire after the health of the people injured in Friday’s terrorist attack on a mosque in Rawalpindi’s Parade Lane area.

The president, accompanied by Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, went to the hospital in a helicopter and visited different wards.

This was the president’s first reported public appearance in recent months, apparently aimed at silencing his critics who have started saying that he is scared of leaving the fortified Aiwan-i-Sadr. He recently addressed a gathering of PPP workers in Karachi through video-phone and is planning to address a public meeting in Mochi Gate in Lahore on phone.

According to an official handout, President Zardari told the patients that the entire nation and the armed forces shared their agony. He expressed sympathy for the bereaved families and praised their exemplary strength in the moment of trial.

The president said that forces of extremism and terrorism posed a threat to national security, but armed forces were fully prepared to combat the menace.

‘We, as a nation, will never bow down to cowardly acts of terrorism,’ the president said. He prayed for early recovery of the injured.

Earlier, the president was received at the CMH by Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Meanwhile, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif visited the house of late Maj- Gen Bilal Umer who was killed in the Rawalpindi suicide attack.

The PML-N chief paid tribute to Gen Bilal and offered condolences to the family.