Attack on grid station

Published: April 2, 2013
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The attack damaged the grid station, resulting in disruption of power supply to several parts of the city and areas in the tribal belt. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/ EXPRESS

The attack damaged the grid station, resulting in disruption of power supply to several parts of the city and areas in the tribal belt. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/ EXPRESS

A few days after a suicide attack targeting an FC commander in Peshawar killed 12 people, militants have struck in the city again, this time, with an attack on a grid station that claimed seven lives. The attack also caused a power outage in the city and the tribal areas. This attack could signal a terrifying new front in the militant war against the state. By targeting infrastructure, the Taliban would be able to bring life to a complete halt. Power plants, bridges, sewage tunnels and other important parts of daily life that we take for granted could end up being the next target of militants.

It is easy to say that the government should simply post security at all such potential targets but in practice, that can turn out to be quite impossible. The grid station which was attacked by militants did have police guards but they were outnumbered by the attackers and held hostage. The unfortunate fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of potential sites that need to be guarded, while the militants can take their pick and still cause significant damage. This is why the only lasting solution is to defeat the militants so comprehensively that they can never pose a significant threat again. The resurgence in violence in Peshawar, coupled with the territorial gains made in Tirah Valley, should convince politicians of all stripes that negotiations, which have been endorsed by many political parties, simply will not work.

Right now, the entire country has essentially been held hostage by the militants. We are paying the price in blood for the many years that the state vacillated between action and inaction. There has never been a comprehensive strategy that aims at reclaiming the entire tribal areas from the militants. Instead, we have been fighting a piecemeal war, allowing the enemy to relocate and rejuvenate. The increased violence in Peshawar is testament to that failed strategy. The militants are not only as bloodthirsty as before but, as the grid station attack shows, have also become tactically smarter.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • cautious
    Apr 3, 2013 - 1:48AM

    There has never been a comprehensive strategy that aims at reclaiming the entire tribal areas from the militants. Instead, we have been fighting a piecemeal war, allowing the enemy to relocate and rejuvenate.
    .
    Well said and worth repeating. It’s time for Pakistan to take control of all of it’s territory and allow all Pakistani’s the same rights/responsibilities. Pakistan needs to show to the World that extremist are not welcome and militants won’t be tolerated.

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  • Usman
    Apr 3, 2013 - 3:44AM

    We need to learn to correctly identify symptoms and causes. We have been treating the symptoms for 10 years while ignoring the causes of this militant infestation, which are IMHO:

    1- Lack of readily available justice and education in tribal areas
    2- Lack of political will of the past government to tackle extremism
    3- Lack of political will for witness protection and tough Anti-Terror laws
    4- Misuse of development funds by the ex-premier and his predecessors.

    Just like you have dedicated a whole editorial to a militant attack, I would like to see similar scrutiny when FATA’s development funds are being misused by Raja Ashraf, or on the corruption of the past government which effectively multiplied all military efforts in the area by Zilch due to no civilian reconstruction. The military was building schools and road with its own budget! All of this while billions (of dollars mind you) were being swindled by PPP’s government.
    .
    Our Media has wasted enough time with ‘strategic depth’, ‘deep state’ and ‘islamophobia’, time to identify the true causes of extremism in the society and to learn to speak up at the right time, not when it’s too late.

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  • realist
    Apr 3, 2013 - 9:55PM

    Those who advise beginning with, “We should/need…” should realize that they speak for the minority. The brutal, bigot, merciless, inhuman, militant, and ir-rational Taliban mentality is the majority of Pakistanis voice and position. They (the majority) will naturally win, you can hold back the river only for so long, your flood gates will break soon as the U.S. is out of the Afpak theater.

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