Full Version: Press Cycle 17 - Attack in Pakistan
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"How should the government respond to the devastating nuclear attack in Islamabad? What happens next?"

Bold your tagline. Press cycle ends 11:59 on the 18th of February. 
What is incredibly clear is that, first and foremost, our most heartfelt condolences go to anyone, anywhere who are affected by the devastating images of the bomb going off in Islamabad. Not since World War II has the world known such destruction or violence and it was hoped that we had become more peaceful, more civilized, since then. But there are, now, millions of people in Pakistan who are in grave danger; from those within the radiation radius of the blast, to those who are now living under the threat of war and oppression by the Pakistani Taliban, there is no one safe in Pakistan. Our government, which is a caring and compassionate government, must first look to ease the human suffering of those who are most effected by the blast; then, we must look to secure peace in the Indian subcontinent.
Sir Duncan MacMahon addressed reporters outside of LDHQ. 

This is an utterly appalling and horrifying attack, and there can be no overstating the gravity or severity of what has happened. We are all shocked, we are all horrified, we are all worried and anxious and angry, and our deepest condolences go out to the people of Pakistan and all those affected by this horrifying atrocity. 

The priorities are clear. We must be swift and generous with humanitarian aid, rescue operations, and assistance with rebuilding civilian governments and supporting refugee populations. We must do what we can to prevent health crises or further environmental peril. If the international community falls short of that task, then the human suffering from this disaster will only grow exponentially. 

We must support the people of Pakistan as they work to stabilise their region. That requires joining the international community in stopping the Taliban from exploiting this crisis to gain a foothold, supporting the civilian governments in Sindistan and Punjabistan, assisting in returning order and governance to Baluchistan and Pashtunistan, ensuring the situation in Kashmir is handled with the delicate and sensitive handling that it warrants, and that the stability of the region as a whole is taken care of. 

And we must work to make sure this never happens again. That an emergency operation to denuclearise Pakistan's military has already taken place is reassuring, but every step must be taken to ensure the completeness and verifiability of this move. Perhaps now is the time to look at a Pakistani equivalent of the Nunn–Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction that helped secure and dismantle nuclear weapons in the former USSR. 

I will be responding to the statement by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs later today in Parliament. This is not the time for party politics, and we in the Liberal Democrats will work constructively with the government on this issue. We will look into the government's plans for joining military intervention, and scrutinise them to the best of our ability - but in principle, the Liberal Democrats will support joining this military action.
Extended 24hrs.
Speaking to reporters outside CPHQ, William makes the following comment on the ongoing situation in Pakistan.

It's important that we recognize this attack for what it is: an evil act of mass murder, perpetuated by a terrorist organization bent on enforcing its world view on innocent people across the world. The Taliban are evil incarnate, they threaten freedom and free people across the globe, and they must be stopped.

My heart goes out to all those across Pakistan who have been effected by this terrible tragedy, and the many millions of Pakistanis who now live in fear and uncertainty as their country enters a period of troubling unrest. The people of Pakistan are of course our Commonwealth brothers and sisters, and they deserve our steadfast support. I am as well of course deeply concerned about the British nationals in Pakistan, and I appreciate the Government's efforts to rapidly ensure the safety of our fellow citizens. 

Given the unfathomable scale of this global tragedy, it is right that we take this moment to mourn all who we have lost. It is equally critical, however, that we quickly move from grief to action to ensure those who were killed were not done so in vain. 

I believe that Britain has a moral obligation to play a leading role in both the relief effort for those harmed by this evil attack, and in the long-term effort to ensure such an attack is never permitted to occur again.

This is not a time for our nation, a leading global power, to sit back and hope that someone else will solve this problem for us. I am encouraged by the Government's willingness to ensure Britain is at the center of the action moving forward, because anything else would place at a strategic disadvantage at a time when British leadership on the global stage is desperately needed. 

In the immediate term, I am sure I speak for everyone in the Conservative Party when I say that we as the official Opposition will play a constructive and genuinely cooperative role in assisting the Government as they begin to work with our American allies on developing a joint response to the Taliban's attack. This is not a time for partisan politics, but instead one of national unity. When legislation is put before the House to authorize military action, as the Government has indicated it will be, we will offer it the scrutiny the British people expect and will work collaboratively with the Government to ensure we craft the best plan for the challenges ahead. We must ensure that all terrorist organizations know that their actions will not go unpunished, but it is equally critical that we respond in a way that honors the sacrifices of our men and women in the Armed Forces and prevents future loss of life. The Taliban must be defeated, in Pakistan and wherever they remain, and the Conservative Party will do everything in our power to ensure that goal is achieved. 

Developing a response for the many long term problems that have arisen from this terrorist attack will be of equal importance. The fact of the matter is that this attack would have never occurred if Pakistan, a nation not permitted to possess a nuclear arsenal, didn't have these weapons in the first place. I believe it is vital that Britain play a leading role within the United Nations Security Council to recommit the alliance to the elimination of nuclear weapons from states outside of the NPT-designated nuclear weapon states. As a signatory of that treaty, we share a responsibility to enforce it and should begin to do so alongside our allies. I also believe it is critical that we begin to put together a plan to stabilize the Pakistani state, both for the wellbeing of the people of Pakistan and to ensure that terrorist organizations within the country are not permitted to utilize the current uncertainty to strengthen their foothold. The future strength and prosperity of Pakistan, and of the whole region, is of paramount importance to our country and the world. 

And finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the ongoing environmental crisis developing at the site of the attack as a result of the detonation of a nuclear weapon. As the Shadow Secretary for Climate Change, I am particularly passionate about the effective stewardship of our planet, and therefor deeply concerned about the impact this nuclear attack will have on Earth's ecosystems. Not since the explosion at Chernobyl have we seen such a massive release of atomic energy and the ensuing radiation. It is critical, both for the innocent civilians suffering in the immediate blast site, and for humanity itself that Britain takes the lead in assembling an international coalition with a mandate to contain and decontaminate this area. Acting swiftly and with a strong sense of purpose is the only way to ensure the elimination of greater damage to our Earth, the only home humanity has ever known. 

When Britain leads, the world is a better place. Now, as has been the case in so many past instances of global crisis, the world needs Britain to step up and get the job done. It is our responsibility, our obligation really, to ensure that good once again triumphs over evil. While this attack has no doubt caused heartache for billions around the globe, as it has done for me personally, we cannot allow it to shake our belief that the arc of history bends towards the righteous. Britain has fought for freedom and on behalf of free people many times before, and now we must do so again.
Firstly I must say even though we are in different parties the way in which the situation has been handled by a Prime Minister who just took office not too long before this event and her entire government has been professional even tempered and well done in attempting to ensure this terrorist assault does not destabilize the region. 

My heart as well as the heart of this country goes out to the families of Britain and in former Pakistan who have been decimated by this unprovoked illegal heinous terrorist act. And unfortunately the suffering this monstrous act has caused will not cease for generations and generations this is a time of great sadness and sorrow which I cannot fathom for those who still remain in the area effected by the nuclear blast. I can only hope and pray that soon we can restabilize the region and bring whatever help and comfort we can to those dealing with these unfathomable destructive situation. We must do everything in our power to aide the people of former Pakistan while ensuring the destruction of the forces behind such disgusting actions.
I will make this address brief, as I'm sure the press will appreciate there is a lot to be done right now. I would like to once again extend my deepest and sincere condolences and sympathy to all those affected by this attack. Not just in Pakistan, but many of our constituents, our neighbours, our friends and our loved ones will be extremely worried about the situation as it unfolds. We shall mourn alongside them as we prepare for what comes next.

The government shall, as the Foreign Secretary explained in Parliament earlier, be maintaining contact with the civilian governments led by Benazir Bhutto in Sind and Nawaz Sharif in Punjab. Operations are underway to evacuate British citizens as quickly as possible. We shall be supporting action at the United Nations in order to defeat the Taliban in Pakistan and to create a credible long term plan for the region, alongside the provision of humanitarian aid as soon as it is possible for it to be provided. Our plans for intervention in Pakistan will be put to parliament and subjected to full scrutiny because fundamentally we need to get this right and in order to do so every party must play its part going forward. The process may be long and difficult, but it is our obligation as a global power to provide what leadership we can to see it through.
This cycle is pretty simple to mark, people don't like that Islamic terror, they like to feel safe, sort it. Dermot begins strongly for Labour talking about the human cost, respectfully mourning the dead. It was pretty much bang on the tone it needed to be which helps out a lot, nobody likes people who politicise death. Sir Dunk also marked the occasion well as well, calling for priorities to be set that include humanitarian aid, refugee support, etc. This was probably a better comment because it marked the death but also suggested policy without politicising the deaths. Croft wrote a PC that is far too long, the media were actively trying to shoo him away by the end of it, but what he said was sound if somewhat muted by the length. Sometimes concise thought is better than verbal diarrhoea. Pavard echoed earlier sentiments before the PM returned to say that military action against the Taliban, people are dubious but for now about 50% of the population are on board with war with the Taliban so this is a net positive for you.

I'm going to say the winner of the cycle is Labour, XP to Hunter, Havard, and Kingsley.