Friday, 21 July 2017

Terror In Lahore

Pakistan had been enjoying a period of calm with a drop in terrorist attacks as well as optimistic outlooks for economic and social development. It was the turn of the worst yesterday when a bomb blast ripped right through the heart of Lahore, and hours later there was a blast in Quetta as well. The Lahore blast killed ten people, injuring 53 and the explosion was heard for several kilometres. DIG Traffic Ahmed Mobin, DSP Pervez Butt, SSP East Zahid Nawaz Gondal are just some of the police officers who lost their lives, joining the ranks of thousands of other Pakistani heroes who have died while on duty. There was confusion as there always is, about the purpose of the attack. Was it to derail CPEC, payback for military operations against terrorists? Was it to scare the police, or was it to derail plans to host the PSL tournament final? The answer is the same as it always is, it was to create fear, and cause maximum pain to the Pakistani populace. The incident occurred as hundreds of chemists protested a new law near the Punjab Assembly building at a busy time in the day. A spokesperson for Jamaat ur Ahrar (JuA), a faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack. This is the same group that had also claimed responsibility for the Easter Day bombing in Lahore at Gulshan-e-Iqbal last year that killed more than 70 people. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar also claimed the Quetta bomb attack last during a lawyer’s rally, which also killed more than 70 people. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a statement said that resolve to counter-terrorism would not be weakened: “We have fought this fight against the terrorists among us, and will continue to fight it until we liberate our people of this cancer, and avenge those who have laid down their lives for us.” People in Pakistan, in major cities, in FATA and KPK, in Balochistan and in Kashmir- all share the constant feeling of being unsafe. The blast yesterday is a sad reminder that safety is a long way off, but it is also a confirmation that the menace of militant groups must be eliminated, and the purging of extremists has be taken up a notch further. The army and security forces must decimate these groups, without mercy, starting with the likes of JuA and the TTP, and ending with any one who threatens, by force or speech, the writ of the state and the life of a Pakistani citizen.

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