The accidental blast in a Karachi flat highlights some deeply unsettling trends. According to a report published in The Express Tribune, the explosions occurred when members of the outlawed sectarian outfit Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) were assembling bombs with the intention of setting them off on Youm-e-Ali. Though growing extremism and sectarian strife has meant that security threats are expected on any religiously significant date, it is alarming to note the ease with which terrorists manufacture bombs in the heart of the city. Had these operatives been successful in executing their plans, we would have discovered the plot only after innocent lives had been lost.
Despite the LeJ being a known security threat that has claimed responsibility for countless attacks on the Shia community, its operatives continue to work freely. Two of the militants involved in this incident had been arrested by the Crime Investigation Department a few months ago, only to be released on bail later. In the past, militant hideouts stashing explosives and guns have been raided by the police, and similarly bungled attempts at bomb-making have caused explosions that laid bare terrorist plans. Yet, there appears to be no cohesive strategy to fight growing extremism. Since these militants were working in Patel Para, a crowded Karachi neighbourhood, one must also question why it is that citizens refrain from reporting on the suspicious activities they observe in their locality. Citizen policing could go a long way towards tipping off law-enforcement agencies and possibly foiling terrorist attempts before fruition.
In order to clamp down on terrorist activities, the law-enforcement agencies need to enhance coordination and intelligence sharing with military intelligence. Furthermore, better coordination is needed between the provincial and federal governments as well as the police to shut down supply lines, which make the raw material for explosives so readily available.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2013.
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