With elections now only months away, terrorist attacks in the country continue relentlessly. The latest incident has come at a judicial complex in Peshawar, where a suicide bomber detonated himself inside the court of a sessions judge after his partner opened fire at a security guard. Four people, including the bomber, were killed, while around 29 were injured.
We have become accustomed to hearing such tales. But what is frightening is that the terrorists were able to strike inside a court premises. We would have thought better security would have been in place given the nature of the location and the need to keep it safe. It is now becoming clear that we have a complete intelligence and security failure in the state and, notably in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where bombers seem to strike most often. The motives for choosing the judicial complex as a target are somewhat unclear. But then, it is, perhaps, impossible to determine quite why bombers strike or where they are most likely to do so. Official buildings are always, of course, a prime location for such attacks. But we do not know what other factors may have been involved.
What is terrifying is that even now, militants can inflict death at any place they choose. The panic this brings also adds to the general uncertainty prevailing in the country. This could well affect the electoral turnout, as it has on past occasions, with the threat of attacks keeping people away from polling stations. Perhaps, this is what those behind the bombings want. In such a scenario, it is, in a way, fortunate that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have postponed their talks offer, which some of our political parties were so quick to welcome. At the same time, they have warned people against attending rallies held by the PPP, the ANP and the MQM. Given the kind of violence they have perpetrated on an innocent populace in the past and the harm they still promise to inflict in the future, our political leadership must think twice before advocating talks with such forces. We live in a state where killers can hit any place at any time. The havoc this has created is before us and there is no sign yet, that this reign of terror will end any time soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2013.