Simply inexcusable

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Our defenders need self-defence lessons

Something is basically wrong with the security system in the country, particularly the one under control of the armed forces. This is what anyone is bound to conclude after the attacks on GHQ attack and PNS Mehran and now on the country’s premier military academy. Abbottabad is no ordinary cantonment city. Besides Pakistan Military Academy, it hosts the Frontier Force Regiment, Baloch Regiment, the Army Medical Corps and the Pakistan Army’s School of Physical Fitness and Warfare Training. It is a fortunate coincidence that none of the nine rockets caused any human loss or injury as some 700 male and female cadets were undergoing training courses with a large number of training staff when the attack took place. The excuse offered by an official is nothing but a facile explanation of how it became possible for the terrorists to launch the attack. If the explanation that “the place they used as a launch pad is accessible from all sides and there are mountains at the back” is accepted, it amounts to admitting that with all the resources at the command of the armed forces the institution remains simply indefensible. When plans to ensure the security for any sensitive installation are made, all possible loopholes are duly considered and provisions made to cover them. Throwing up arms in despair can only heighten concerns about the ability of the planners.

The security lapse has evoked the memory of the swoop by US commandos on OBL’s Abbottabad compound. Interestingly, Defence Secretary Panetta explained on Friday why Pakistan was not taken on board while conducting the raid on the compound: “I personally have always felt that somebody must have had some sense of what was happening at this compound.” Security lapses of the sort are bound to reduce the confidence of our allies, be they Americans or Chinese.

It has been claimed that unknown terrorists had launched the attacks. This raises questions about the talks that have supposedly been initiated by the agencies with the hope that these would dissuade them from launching attacks inside Pakistan. The attack leaves little reason for optimism. There is a need to take action against those assigned the task of security in the cantonment city. Punishing a few junior officials would be taken as no more than mere eyewash.