IT has been a blood-soaked run-up to Eid — the blast at a football ground in Karachi, the cold-blooded murder of Punjabi migrant labourers in Balochistan, and yesterday’s attack on Quetta policemen who had gathered to bury a colleague killed while he was shopping with his family. There’s no escape for anyone any longer — the line that previously divided civilians and security forces is increasingly getting blurred for the militants who attack at will. And there is helplessness all around. But that this vulnerability should extend to premises accessed by those who enforce the law is alarming. Yesterday’s attack in Quetta occurred within the police lines, an area which has supposedly enhanced security. The attack is yet another painful reminder of how easy it has become for militants to compromise the security of police and military installations and cause large-scale havoc. All it takes is one suicide bomber to breach security and cause mayhem. Given the huge challenges that the police in this country face, it was understandable that a walk-through gate had been installed at the funeral venue to scan the mourners. But was it expected to do the trick? Although the suicide bomber detonated his explosives before walking through, how he entered the main gate of the premises without being stopped must be investigated.
The Balochistan police had of late stepped up its efforts to nab sectarian militants in Quetta so retaliation from the extremists’ end was expected; the attack simply shows that the militants are determined to wipe out all obstructions in their path. Security forces can in fact expect more, and while it is only natural that such brutal retaliations lead to the loss of morale, it would be deadly for the public if operations against militants in Quetta were to be slowed down. Instead, efforts to monitor suspected militants as well as their sympathisers within the force and to take pre-emptive action against them must be redoubled so that such incidents are not repeated. Action is also needed to demolish the infrastructure of terrorism in Balochistan.
Acts of terrorism conti-nue to rock Quetta and other parts of the province. Irrespective of their political differences, the mainstream parties in the province must recognise that a strong joint effort is needed to break up the web of militancy that has destroyed peace and security in Balochistan and has laid the ground for bloodbaths like the one witnessed yesterday. It is untenable to lurch from outrage to outrage and only condemn the atrocities; sustained action is needed against the perpetrators.