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پیر، 18 فروری، 2013

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi war against Pakistan

The fact that these attacks continue unabated should have served as an eye-opener to our intelligence agencies a long time ago but we still see gruesome crimes like the one on Saturday. The ‘banned’ LeJ has proudly taken ‘credit’ for the attack, fully endorsing this bloodshed in the name of some warped religious ideology. Then how is it that the leader of LeJ, Malik Ishaq, is still out there, a free man? Why has he not been hauled up when his organisation openly claims responsibility for these atrocities? 

In what may well be Pakistan’s darkest hour, another sectarian attack has taken place, turning the tide on any hopes there may have been for peace and coexistence. Some 80 people have been killed and scores more injured after a remote controlled bomb went off in Hazara Town, which is a Shia-dominated locality situated on the outskirts of Quetta. The attack was particularly deadly because a huge quantity of explosives were used — 800 kilogrammes packed inside a water tanker near a market place thronging with men, women and children. A building collapsed in the explosion, adding to the toll of people wounded and killed. The extremist sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) has taken responsibility for this cold-blooded attack. This heinous act comes on the heels of the January 10, 2013 double suicide bombing on Alamdar Road in Quetta in which some 100 people were killed, most of them Hazaras. To say that we are moving steadily and surely towards all out genocide would be a mere stating of the facts; the battle lines have clearly been drawn by fundamentalist militants who are hell-bent upon eliminating a minority group that consists of 20 percent of Pakistan’s population. In response to the attack in January, relatives of those Hazaras who had been brutally wiped out took to the streets with the dead bodies of their loved ones. Their heartbreaking protest was so profound that it resulted in changing the political structure in the province with the dismissal of the Balochistan government and imposition of Governor’s rule. On Sunday, the families of the victims of this latest massacre once again refused to bury their dead. What will the authorities do now? What protest can be bigger or more tragic than the one they have already staged and are again staging? Their lot has not changed and, hence, neither has that of the country.

The latest attack has claimed lives of another 83 persons including scores of innocent women and school-going children and left 200 persons injured. Initial investigation suggests that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED), the terrorists planted in a water-tank was armed with around 800-1000 kilograms of high-grade detonable material. The bang of the blast was so heavy that windows of the nearby buildings were broken, and the site of the explosion wore a look of the human slaughter-house having worst massacre. The genocide, though not the first of its kind in the immediate past, is yet another classic example of a total breakdown of administrative control of the rulers. The rulers are supposed to provide security to life and property with the help of a strong network of the security agencies across the country that they have failed to do. It has been said earlier and is being said again here that the rulers are incompetent. There is no doubt about that but the way, religious extremists, militants and terrorists foxed the local administration particularly the police and the intelligence agencies so frequently points fingers at the total incompetence of the police, military and civil intelligence agencies especially of their heads. It will be sufficed to say that the security agencies are now non-existent in that province. The infrastructure of the security has crumbled and the staff working there has taken refuge in their safe havens to save themselves from the terror regime prevailing over the restive Balochistan and Quetta has fallen to the terrorists who have become de facto rulers and the governor has been reduced to a spectator of the federal government witnessing mass murder of his countrymen. The political leadership, no matter good or bad, will step down in a little less than a month. Subsequently their competency and their sincerity to the cause of the masses will be held accountable by the people in the upcoming elections. Contrarily, the security institutions and personnel working in there will hold the ground. Bad performance rather heart-breaking failure of the security agencies to discharge their national duty will come under the scan, threatening their very survival. The surprise is that terrorists roaming around on the streets and roads of the provincial capital with loads of explosive remained unnoticed till their mission of blasting the masses was accomplished. The terrorists have once again shattered the so-called red alert put in place by the government. What a joke it is! The huge blast has made mockery of the security measures of the security agencies raised for safety of the city, already battered and bruised. Ironically, even such a massive bang of the blast cannot awake the intelligence staff from the deep slumber they are in. Pakistan has already witnessed such breakdown of the administration and the intelligence in 1971 when the then East Pakistan was subsequently dismembered- believe it! The situation in Balochistan is not so different today. It warrants immediate attention of the power corridors.

Once again, Minority Shia community was targeted by militants of the banned sectarian group Lashker-e-Jhangvi that has claimed the responsibility of the attack. Each and every man working in the intelligence network of Pakistan knows and many of them firmly believe Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has become a major security threat but the point is who is going to act against the banned outfit. Why political leadership and heads of the security agencies are shamelessly failing short of giving a matching response to the strength and myth of the banned group for a long time. Yet another simple condemnation of the blast comes from the President Zardari. Like him the premier too has issued rhetoric that terrorists will not be able to subdue 'our will through such dastardly acts'. The fact is the will to fight out terror remained a missing link throughout the term of the incumbent rulers hence today Balochistan has become a flashpoint for sectarian violence. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is banned though but now it seems it is banned only in papers. Practically the banned outfit has outsmarted well-trained and well-equipped army of Pakistan and its intelligence wings, the FC and the police, and is maintaining its strong operational capability to strike any where at will. Fresh explosion is, by all means, Pakistan's worst sectarian bombing that has exposed the country's weakness around the globe. Extremists have become a prime threat to the existence of the people and the country alike. The present rulers are certain to end their regime on a sad note. The civil and military bureaucracy should wake up to uphold the system, showing professionalism, some degree of commitment and sincerity to the national duty before it is too late. Clouds hovering over the survival of the country need to do away with. Pakistan is not a failed state but it for sure carries a failed administration. The rulers have plunged the country into no-hope situation yet they should put an interim setup in place to give the nation a chance to elect sincere leadership.

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