While watching the coverage of the bomb blast at the Lahore railway station, I was shocked to see footage of a member of the bomb disposal squad, collecting evidence from the site of the blast using his bare hands. He had not put on gloves and was searching with the help of his cellphone’s torch. The fact that many Pakistanis take great pride in the country being a nuclear state seems laughable when one considers the kind of equipment and training that is provided to our security agencies and bomb disposal squads.
Whenever there are incidents of bomb blasts, plane crashes or major disasters in the country, we often get to see ordinary people lingering around the site of the incident creating hurdles for rescue workers, security agencies and media personnel. It seems that the National Disaster Management Authority exists only on paper and one can hardly recall any instance where it did anything of note during troubled times.
It is high time that the people, the state and its institutions started behaving responsibly instead of feeling misplaced pride at being a nuclear state.
M Rafique Zakaria
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2012.