Vacillation in the face of security threats


Quelling militants requires resolve

As if the DIK jailbreak was not enough, terrorists are reportedly planning more daring attacks of the sort on high profile targets. Through jailbreaks they can get their accomplices released and set free criminals who can either join their ranks or indulge in lawlessness on their own to weaken the state. An audacious attack can spread panic in an already much demoralised police force, as happened in KP. It also provides the terrorists projection and bolsters the confidence of their extremist supporters. On Friday, the security was beefed up at Central Prison, Hyderabad after intelligence reports indicated that it was likely to be stormed by the terrorists. Early Saturday morning, Islamabad airport was sealed and cars were allowed only after a thorough search operation had been conducted. A day earlier five policeman had died in Karachi in targeted attacks. Sectarian terrorists killed a Shia leader and his son in South Punjab. While the government vacillates between holding talks with militants or fighting them, the latter continue to launch attacks with full clarity of purpose. Their aim is to bleed the law enforcement agencies, weaken the common man’s will to defy them and to liquidate the state. Despite a new government having taken over, there is no respite to the militants’ attacks. These have in fact become more frequent and deadlier. Since the recent elections the terrorists have launched two major attacks in Quetta, killed three elected members of KP and Sindh Assemblies, shot ten foreign trekkers including Chinese and Ukrainian nationals, and launched a full-fledged terrorist operation to free fellow militants from the DIK jail. The government has promised to formulate a national security policy after consultation with the leaders of the parliamentary parties who were to be invited to finalise the policy on July 12. Subsequently it was postponed till Imran Khan’s return from London. Now it is supposed to be held sometime after Eid.

There is a need to put an end to vacillation and own the war against those who challenge the writ of the state. The entire coercive machinery at the disposal of the government has to be deployed to root out militancy once for all. This is the only way to safeguard the integrity of the country. Unless talks are conducted from a position of strength, these will only benefit the militants. The DIK incident proves that even when the law enforcement agencies are duly forewarned about an attack on a particular target along with its timing, they are found to be lacking the capacity to fight the well armed terrorists. Measures have to be taken to bolster the security of the jails and government and military installations, train the police to fight internal insurrection and provide it adequate weapons. What is more the task has to be undertaken without delay.