Disrespecting life

It is clear that the Taliban will offer no quarter in their fight against the Pakistan state — not even to the innocent. Perhaps apologists for this Wahabi self-avowed jihadi force could have ascribed the first attack against tribal children in Khyber Agency to confusion in the ranks of the Taliban or to their own understanding of Islamic injunctions. Monday’s bomb attacks in both Karachi and Peshawar, however, which claimed the lives of a total of 13 people including two children have relegated those theories to the trash heap.

The horrible Karachi attack, which, according to intelligence reports had been predicted, has raised a number of issues. Chief amongst these is the reason for such a poor security arrangement for SSP Chaudhry Aslam, given the particularly sensitive nature of his job and the imminent threat to him. It is clear that terrorists bearing a significant amount of heavy explosives in a sizeable vehicle met neither resistance nor challenge on the way to the supposedly safe area.

It is also clear that the intelligence by the terrorists that led to this attack had to have been gathered over a long period of time given its relative success. It is through sheer luck that the high profile, primary target of the attack escaped unscathed. This poses serious questions regarding the competence and efficiency of Pakistan’s various security agencies.

Peshawar’s attack also speaks volumes about the contempt for life that the terrorists hold onto as policy. This is not the first attack launched by militant outfits against venues of audio-visual entertainment. In fact most such attacks turn out to be precursors to larger attacks. They can be seen as markers for the regrouping and revitalisation of banned outfits. The police force in Peshawar has proved unequal to the task at hand. The military operation launched against the terrorists was cut off too soon it seems.

If effective steps are not taken to strike back hard against the terrorists, Pakistan faces continuing violence perpetrated by the militants. Shifts in US policy notwithstanding, the Pakistani state needs to pull up its socks and contemplate the best interests of its citizens, who are fast becoming mere casualty statistics in this confrontation. And these efforts need not stop there. Officials under threat must be better protected. At this moment it seems that whereas the terrorists have no respect for human lives, those tasked with protecting citizens are proving unequal to the challenge so far. – Dailytimes