Since the recent wave of terror attacks there have been renewed pledges to exterminate the menace of terrorism from the country once and for all. Such pledges are nothing new, the government has been claiming of strict action against all terror elements pretty much ever since the gruesome terror attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December of 2014. After the attack outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore this past week the government vowed to put security on high alert across the country, statements were given out that the terrorists won’t be allowed to success in their nefarious designs and the support of the public to counter terror activities was emphasized. One day later the terrorists stuck again, this time targeting the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Lal Shehbaz Qalandar resulting in 88 deaths up till now with more than 250 injured.
Stopping a suicide bomber once he has approached the target is next to impossible, even in the most ideal scenario a terrorist fitted with a suicide blast will at least taken a couple of lives even if stopped. However, in the case of Sehwan attack there are some very serious question marks on the performance of both the provincial and the federal government.
CCTV footage of the incident released by the police show the alleged terrorist easily bypassing the security check. Yes, the terrorist bypassed the security check without much hassle. The question now is how? The answer is rather simple, the terrorist managed to bypass the security check because it was almost nonexistent. A single police official trying to check multiple people at the same time, no walk through gate or metal detector can be seen in the footage. How does the government expect a lone police official to check hundreds passing every few minutes? Was this the heightened security promised after the Lahore attack? The government officials keep reminding us from time to time that the war is long and the nation must cooperate fully and remain vigilant. Isn’t the vigilant nation justified in asking as to who is responsible for our ill equipped, under staffed and under paid police? How does the government expect the police to perform their duties in such a scenario?
The Lahore blast claimed the lives of two police high ups, both the officers were known to be extremely dedicated and commanded massive respect of their colleagues. After their martyrdom the provincial government paid tribute to their services, statements were issued that their sacrifice will never be forgotten. But the on ground situation suggests that these statements are just for public consumption, if the government indeed wants to remember their sacrifices and the sacrifices of thousands of other police officers who laid their lives in this war across Pakistan, the first step should be to better equip the police. To reform the police system and improve their pay-packages and de politicize the police.
In the current system the police officials are nothing but sitting ducks for terror elements. As made obvious from the CCTV footage of the Sehwan attack.
All provincial governments and the federal government need to take a hard look at themselves and ask whether they have done even little in this war against terror. Military gains aside the will shown by the respective governments in the form of systematic changes and reforms is nonexistent. If the government is serious in taking this war to its logical conclusion a lot more is needed than mere lip service. Improving the police is one of the few steps that must be taken.
Mere lip service won’t be of much help in the war against terror.
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