We are quick to point fingers. Intelligence agencies were immediately blamed after 248 prisoners escaped from the Dera Ismail Khan Jail on July 29 after a daring raid by the Taliban. But it now transpires, from credible reports, that the country’s intelligence services had indeed informed top administration and police officers in DI Khan about the militant plan, sending out a detailed letter several days ahead of the raid. This was followed up by yet another warning from the interior ministry’s National Disaster Management Cell. The place where the Taliban operatives had gathered was pointed out, as were the dangers of keeping a large band of militants in a single barrack.
There could have been no information more detailed than this. Indeed, based on it, meetings were held and the police’s Elite Force assigned to react. But reportedly, the Elite Force did not do so when the time came. The reasons for this need to be examined by the PTI government. In recent weeks, senior police officers have spoken of low morale within the police because of the harsh criticism directed towards it by the provincial government and also because of the PTI government’s ambivalent attitude towards the militants. It is necessary to assess what impact this is having on the security infrastructure, which needs to be working at top gear if we are to curb the militant threat.
This task must be made a priority. Knowing what we now know, the suggestion put forward by the PTI chief that a new intelligence force running under the provincial government be created, is not really valid. The intelligence input coming in from the vast network we already have in place was more than adequate; it makes little sense to set up a new intelligence wing, which could complicate matters. The focus should be on working out why there was so inadequate a response from forces on the ground, so the reasons behind the DI Khan debacle can be understood.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2013.
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