The Quetta carnage and the NAP of insensitivity


 It’s a tragedy of errors we could have avoided


Pakistan’s security dilemma probably confirms with the famous quantum mechanical paradox of Schrödinger’s cat that perceives her to be dead and alive at the same time. We are officially informed that backbone of terrorists has been permanently fractured and their capability to retaliate has been minimised. But after every couple of months, there is a terror assault that is more organised and devastating than the previous one. We are officially enlightened that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) is no longer a threat after the assassination of Malik Ishaq. But it strikes more viciously, sometimes with a new name Lashkar-e-Jhangvi-al-Aalmi (LJA). State declares that ISIS doesn’t exist on Pakistani soil, but the most recent terror strikes were overtly claimed by this organisation. Schrödinger must be proudly rejoicing in his grave as his paradox is making sense in the relativistic world.

The recent terror assault hit a police training center in Quetta and claimed at least 61 lives leaving hundreds crippled. It occurred two months after a horrific attack in a hospital that killed more than 70 lawyers in Quetta. ISIS claimed that it carried out the attack in collusion with LJA. In fact they released pictures of their martyrs who accomplished this holy task. So let’s be very clear about it; our war against terror is far from over and this menace is staying here at least for some time. We can squeeze them on one side and they may re-appear on the other side with a different shape. Due to the grand military operation ‘zarb-e-azb’, the number of terror incidents has drastically reduced, but the number of causalities is almost the same. Events occur after months but their scale is devastating. There is something fundamentally wrong with our approach towards fighting this menace.

Ruling elite knows that Balochistan is lying at the centre of a complex existential hazard involving regional powers and a confusing array of militant networks, but it has done probably nothing substantial to avoid the catastrophe of human lives. This insensitivity is particularly aimed at Quetta. How could one imagine that a police training facility in the heart of the most volatile provincial capital does not have even a concrete wall? Terrorists easily jumped over the mud-wall and sprayed bullets on unarmed cadets in a well-planned surprise-attack. The irony is, there was only one security guard to protect more than 400 cadets, and obviously he was neutralised within seconds. Are we fighting a war of survival?

First of all, the situation raises serious questions at the quality of training that is being imparted to the Balochistan police. Presumably, cadets were being trained to fight against terrorists but they had no idea of how to respond to an attack during the training itself. They didn’t have access to weapons during the ambush. There was no contingency plan within the perimeter of the facility to handle the emergency situations of this kind. They had to rely on the military’s Special Forces to arrive and save the remaining lives as there was no first level engagement with the militants.

Although, Pakistani armed forces and intelligence agencies are doing a remarkable job of countering internal and external security threats, no one can deny the fact that most attacks occur due to the intelligence failures. Quetta’s failure was neither the first one, nor will it be the last one. We have heard about NACTA that was established to regulate and analyse the intelligence gathered by different agencies. But we don’t know whether it is dead or alive. We have also heard about a national action plan (NAP) that was to be implemented holistically as a counter-terror policy, but it is probably on a nap.

NAP is a classic document but it’s far from implementation. The banned terrorist outfits are reappearing with new fancy names and state has no check on it. Difa-e-Pakistan council, a bunch of highly dubious extremist groups, rallies in the heart of Islamabad under the nose of civil and military establishments, but the state doesn’t give a damn. This not only questions the state’s willingness in fighting extremism, but it also diplomatically harms the indigenous Kashmiri movement and strengthens the Indian narrative of Pakistan fuelling insurgency in Kashmir using these extremist groups.

Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa brigade has overtly pledged allegiance to ISIS and this is an open secret. It is operating in the heart of the capital and state doesn’t care. Believe it or not, ISIS has established a presence in Pakistan, because it is a mindset and any splinter group can open a franchise on its name. ISIS has no problem with this as long as the objective is to kill the human species.

We have learnt a lesson – that is, that we never learn lessons. Our politicians won’t grab certain sectarian outfits because they don’t want to lose their vote bank. Our military establishment is in no position to persuade their Afghani and Indian counterparts to stop fuelling insurgencies on our soil, because they would ask us to do the same, which is not easy considering our geostrategic fears in the region. Afghan refugees are a big security risk but our statesmen are unsure how would they extradite them till the end of this year knowing the fact that their 2rd generation is integrated here economically and socially and they are scattered throughout the length and breadth. Southern Punjab and Northern Baluchistan are turning into new safe havens for terrorists. We know that another terror attack is imminent on our soil which will be more devastating than the previous ones. But we are not sure if our policy makers will wake up from the NAP of insensitivity.


  1. For sure Pakistan has never learnt its lessons. The idea of good and bad taliban is probably still alive and the evidence is that of Maulana Abdul Aziz. The guy was caught red handedly and every one knows he was involved in training his Madrassah students for terrorist activities in the name of Jihad. The students of Jamia

  2. ridiculous. Army is dong brilliant job. Intelligence failure are a routine matter all across the world.

  3. the whole pakistan in one articles. These are the loopwholes which are dragging us towards our destruction what we have ? we are only alive due our army JUST?ur politicians have no foriegn policy rather that is just a joke .We all know that india and raw is funding terrorist and still we are on the page that we will have dialouge with terrorist we are dooming inside who is bad terrorist who is good terrorist and that is resulted in muslims to be called as terrorists. In western world muslims are called as terrorist where as our politicians dont care what going on they will just play blame game on each other they dont care what is going in peshawar where little flowers were brutally martyred and then many lawyers were killed in quetta then our own brothers who let us feel safe were killed
    in this regard what our politician did they just went there and said a few fake words gave them their own money and came back
    what Mr prime minister know the pain of amother who lost her son or daughter their kids are safe in foriegn countries and called as prince or princess whenever they visit thier monarchy hundred of police men are given as thier security protocol
    like serioulsy??? do you guys think this is how country flourishes? this is how country progresses??
    i am sorry then there in no one big drafter then you

  4. I have read your article, really good effort and please accept my congratulations on wonderful piece of writing.
    It would be better if you sketch the picture of the interest of super powers in Baluchistan and consequently we are facing these kind of terrorism Overall a good article. congratulations

  5. Due to the grand military operation ‘zarb-e-azb’, the number of terror incidents has drastically reduced, but the number of causalities is almost the same
    Well said….
    Point blank

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