The enemy within

Published: April 13, 2012

During the 1990s in the Punjab, Sunni extremist groups such asSipah-e- Sahaba Pakistan, made a conscious effort to influence the police force and bureaucracy. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The idea that the militant enemy we strive to eliminate is not a distant one based in the north, but one that exists right in the midst of the very force intended to hunt it out is a terrifying one. Yet this, it seems, is the reality that stares us in the face. In an astonishing development some days ago, the SSP Malir district Anwar Ahmed Khan, who was targeted in a suicide attack on April 5, has accused an inspector of police in Karachi, Azam Mehsud, and his brother Sherzaman, of being involved in it. Khan escaped only because he had been using an armoured personnel carrier after having received death threats. The Taliban had immediately claimed responsibility for the suicide blast, which had claimed four lives.

The development in the case indicates how deep the Taliban penetration into our security infrastructure has been and the risk that this poses for us. Sherzaman Mehsud, who was till recently in jail, has been arrested and his brother Azam booked, following the lodging of multiple FIRs by Khan. But right now, we can only wonder where others with the same kind of sympathies for the Taliban, and a willingness to act on the basis of their convictions, lurk. The gunning down in January last year of former governor of Punjab Salman Taseer, by his own police guard, is yet another reminder of what can happen when those intended to hunt down terrorists or protect others from them, instead enter into a pact with them.

It is known that during the 1990s in the Punjab, groups which have since been banned, notably the Sunni extremist Sipah-e- Sahaba Pakistan, made a conscious effort to influence the police force and bureaucracy. Their efforts are believed to have succeeded to a considerable degree. It is clear that the infiltration by the extremists into the security and administrative set-up goes deep. We need to find a way to conduct a purge, detect these elements and oust them from the heart of our police and other security set-ups before they strike again from the inside, using their positions and knowledge to inflict maximum damage.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.

Reader Comments (4)

  • plaintalk
    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:06AM

    “We need to find a way.” Couldn’t you suggest one?

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  • harish
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:07AM

    time to take the nukes.

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  • Feroz
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:03AM

    The Media as well as the people know ideology based on a perverted version of Islam has seeped into the blood stream of the country. When bold journalists like Saleem Shahzad tried to nose around and expose the nexus between those guarding the people and those violating their Rights – they go their just desserts. The forces of Extremism, Fundamentalism and Radicalisation can cut a swathe through any cross section of soceity.
    The honest truth that terrorist training camps have been operated by various groups inside and outside the Government is still being denied by all. This could not have happened and continued for decades without the extremists having support from very influential quarters.
    When the COAS, PM and President say that our Nuclear Arms are safe – all they mean is safe from foreign Powers, not the devil within.

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  • ZYX
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:19PM

    Why does Karachi need to import individuals from Waziristan to fill the ranks of its police force when there is already a problem of chronic unemployment among the 18 million people that already live here?

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