One would have been horrific enough. Yet the frequency of suicide attacks in the country is getting absolutely maddening. The latest attack in Mohmand Agency, which has killed up to 56 people so far, is the latest example in a series of brutal attacks designed to maximise terror and mayhem. After more than three years of a violent rampage that started after the Lal Masjid incident, it remains unclear as to exactly what purpose the militants plan on achieving through the slaughter of innocents. Given the magnitude of the devastation and loss of life, the government clearly has a lot on its hand, in terms of eliminating militancy from most of Fata. Officials have repeatedly pointed out that when terrorists choose a soft target — as was the case in this attack — it is very difficult to stop suicide attacks. And while we may agree with that in principle, surely enough of these dastardly attacks have taken place for the government, and the security forces and their intelligence agencies to get their respective acts together.
For instance, how other countries have coped and dealt with suicide attacks should be considered. The immediate example that comes to mind is that of Israel and while Pakistan has no diplomatic ties with it, there should be a means for Islamabad to at least try and replicate how suicide bombings were tackled, to the extent that they hardly happen now. In addition to this, the state needs to at least use the tragedy of these attacks to convince ordinary Pakistanis that the suicide bombings are happening not because of America or Blackwater but are being engineered by our very own Taliban. Most of these are home-grown and they studied from seminaries in Pakistan and have lived most if not all their lives in Pakistan — barring those who may have come to Pakistan from Afghanistan as refugees.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2010.