Attack in Lakki Marwat

The police can only play a reactive role and try to limit the damage from each militant attack.

Editorial September 03, 2011

By now further proof shouldn’t be needed that the militants have no regard for the sanctity of human life and the religion they claim to kill for. But for those who remain unconvinced, the suicide car bombing at a police checkpost in Lakki Marwat should be the final straw. Five people were killed in the blast, which took place on the second day of Eid. That the militants would not even spare the beleaguered population of Khyber-Pakthunkhwa on this holy occasion tells us everything we need to know about them. Their fight is not for religion; they are simply at war with the state and its citizens. On the same day, seven people were killed in an ambush in Kurram, an attack that might have sectarian motives.

The knee-jerk reaction when hearing about attacks like the one in Lakki Marwat is to bemoan the incompetence of the law-enforcement agencies. This should be avoided. The police at the checkpost stopped the vehicle and only fired at it when the driver ignored them. It was then that the militants detonated the bomb. Among the almost-daily barrage of attacks, it can be easy to overlook the bravery and dedication of the policemen who man these checkposts. They arrive at work every day knowing well that it may be their last. For that they should be applauded and we should be humbled that they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of the country.

The ire would be better directed at intelligence agencies that seem to have made little headway in infiltrating militant groups and providing the police with better information and a government that does not have a coherent strategy for taking the fight to the militants. Lakki Marwat shares a border with South Waziristan, a region that the government and military have been unable to tame and control. These attacks show the impunity with which militant groups operate out of the tribal areas. The police can only play a reactive role and try to limit the damage from each militant attack. It is up to the generals and politicians to minimise the number of attacks by tackling head-on the menace of extremism.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.