Pakistan is getting a taste of what its in for in the post-Osama scenario. Whereas terrorist attacks had never quite vanished from the country, there has been a distinct escalation after the Abbottabad episode. Some of the attacks seem distinctly targeted and aimed at those perceived as the ‘enemy’. The incidents in Karachi in which the Saudi Consulate had grenades thrown at it and an employee killed are examples. So, too, was the horrendous bombing in Charsadda district in which scores of paramilitary cadets died. Now it appears the militants have been able to hit the chief ‘foe’ in this ongoing war of ideology, driven on by intolerance and blind hatred. Two US consulate employees were injured when a roadside bomb went off as two cars with US number plates passed by. An individual walking along the same road was killed.
The attack is not surprising. It hardly takes the intellect of Einstein to guess that in the post-Osama scenario, foreigners will be targeted. This is also one reason why all western foreign missions have lowered their profile in the country, aware of the risks they face. We accept it may not be possible for security personnel to watch over every street corner, but we wonder what the intelligence set-up is doing. Suicide attacks and other bombings continue to happen, almost on a daily basis, and it is clear that our many intelligence agencies (both civilian and military) are failing in their job to prevent such incidents from happening. For instance, all kinds of tactics can be used to penetrate the militants, especially since their structure, in terms of logistics, suicide training/indoctrination and weapons acquisition and delivery must be, or should be, well known to the agencies.
We have heard of a few individual arrests, but they are not enough to have any impact on the terrorism that could at any time claim lives. We keep hearing that the Taliban and al Qaeda are on the run but, quite clearly, the poisonous ideology they promote is not going anywhere and keeps on motivating all kinds of groups to carry on with their destructive actions.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2011.