At least 46 people were killed on June 30, in some of the deadliest attacks since the PML-N government has come into power. Twenty-nine of these, among them nine women and three children, were killed in Quetta in a suicide bombing, in an attack targeting the Hazara Shia community, which was later claimed by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). Earlier in the day, 17 people were killed and around 47 injured when a bomb targeting an FC convoy exploded near a busy marketplace in Peshawar.
According to a report in this newspaper, in Peshawar, the police and security officials opened fire after the bomb was detonated, leading to more casualties. Clearly then, despite the fact that we frequently suffer such blasts, our security officials are not only unable to help prevent them, but are also unable to deal with their aftermath. Moreover, in any other country, this death toll would make heads roll. But in Pakistan, we seem to have tacitly accepted that this is a fight beyond us — that our government and security apparatus should be excused because the enemy is just too powerful.
To be fair, the new government has just come into power and may need breathing space before it can tackle this issue. On the other hand, the fact that this was going to be one of its major challenges was no secret and one hopes it has a winning strategy to deal with this issue. With these attacks amongst others, since the government has assumed office, the militants have clearly stated their intent. There is nothing remotely encouraging in terms of talks in their demeanor. In fact, with every passing day, they seem to signal that they want things to be their way, or there will be more death. Clearly then, it would appear that they seem to want to bring down the state, rather than talk to it. The government’s priority then, at this point, should be to reassert itself and act decisively towards the militants. Leaders of the LeJ, who claimed responsibility for this and other sectarian attacks with so much impunity, must be dealt with, as well as those from other terrorist organisations. We cannot allow space for other such attacks. Every life is precious. Let us resolve not to let even one more be taken in such a manner.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2013.