Lahore blast

Lahore blast

June 24, 2021

Three dead; 21 injured; four in critical condition. This time the terrorists struck in the heart of the country – the capital city of Punjab – rather than in any border areas of Balochistan or Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as has been the case for quite some time. The target of what is described as a car blast – occurring in Jauhar Town neighbourhood of Lahore yesterday – was the residence of proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, who is currently serving a jail sentence over terrorism-related charges. A nearby police picket actually shielded Saeed’s residence otherwise the “remote-controlled” attack would have hit the intended target, confirms the chief of police in Punjab province, Inam Ghani. A police officer is among those injured in the blast for which 30kg explosives of foreign make was used.

On whose handiwork it could be, one needs not delve deep for an answer. The enemy, on our eastern border, is already out to exploit the situation – arising out of an ongoing withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan – through its proxies, like the TTP and Baloch insurgents, as well as its intelligence operatives. The border areas – particularly those in Balochistan where both armed personnel as well as civilians are being targeted with a growing frequency – have already become a staging ground for militants of various hues and stripes. One fears lest the enemy is now seeking to expand its reach in its nefarious bid to trigger chaos in the country through its terrorist activities.

While our law-enforcement machinery is already expected to be aware of the growing security challenge in the face of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is need for all relevant authorities to sit together to review their coordination mechanism and devise a comprehensive response strategy. Each layer in the security net must know its duties clearly. Intelligence gathering should be strengthened, in particular. For its part, the government needs to facilitate the security forces as regards bolstering their armoury. No way can we afford to let the guard down even for a second at during these sensitive times.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2021.

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