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There has been much speculation and discussion about the delayed police response following the Abbas Town bombing. The unfortunate Sharmila Farooqi has become everyone’s favorite punching bag for having a large police contingent protecting her engagement celebration. Everyone from the Chief Minister to the Inspector General Police has taken flak for emergency responders not arriving for at least an hour after the blasts.

Given the insensitivity and disregard of the political elite and senior bureaucracy for the awam, it is entirely conceivable that the diversion of resources for Ms. Farooqi’s event played a role in the delayed response. However, this has been neither fully verified thus far, nor can it logically explain the delay in its entirety.

While a number of other conceivable factors might explain the one hour lag (or longer according to some sources), the real reason for the delay might be quite simple and very frightening, upon further analysis. Fear – an uncomplicated, yet powerful emotion. It is very likely that the basic human instinct of survival and self-preservation kept the police and emergency responders away from the scene for a significant amount of time.

What were they afraid of you might wonder? A double-strike; a favorite terrorist tactic and one that LeJ employed with deadly results on Alamdar Road in Quetta. I quote, from a story published about the Quetta bombing on this website on January 11th, 2013:

Police sources said that the first blast took place in a snooker club on Alamdar Road when people were busy playing the game. Several people were killed or injured in the blast. “A man entered the snooker club and a powerful blast took place,” they said, adding that it appeared to be a suicide attack.

Police, workers of Edhi Trust and media teams rushed to the place soon after the first blast and started taking the injured to hospital.

A second blast took place 10 minutes after the first blast outside the snooker club when a large number of people, police and rescue workers gathered there. A majority of people were killed and injured in the second blast.

If this line of reasoning is true – and it is surprising that this aspect has not come up for debate in any meaningful way – the ramifications are chilling to say the least. What we may be witnessing is a collapse and capitulation of the political state in the face of a militant onslaught.

LeJ’s message with the consecutive Quetta bombings was clear: Those who assist our enemies are fair game as well. Did the state’s security apparatus take this message to heart? It seems very likely. What does this mean for the awam with regard to future terrorist attacks? Quite simple: You’re on your own …until the coast is clear, at least. Especially if you happen to be a minority group.

Other signs of capitulation (if needed)? Everyone and their mother jumping on Maulana Fazl Ur Rehman’s APC bandwagon for peace talks with the TTP – a group that has wreaked havoc on the state and continues to do so, relentlessly. The political leadership’s message to the TTP then: We give up, we can’t take this anymore; please stop targeting us (concern for the awam might not be a major factor in this message, considering its campaign season).

Finally, the million dollar question, which many concerned citizens, activists, and talking heads are vocalising: Where is the army and why is it not acting? General Kayani’s response to the awam seems equally clear: You voted for this lot, now live with them.

Regarding the direction in which Pakistan may be heading if this state of affairs continues unabated, it might be fitting to end with a well-known quote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Socialist.   Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.   Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Jew.   Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.



The writer is a communications consultant based in Washington DC.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (18) Closed

manomoni Mar 13, 2013 03:53am
if the government could not save the citizens of the country why people have to pay taxes to the government? Where the collected tax money goes?
abbastoronto Mar 12, 2013 05:03pm
The writer correctly analyzes that the targeted can not count on the State for defense. They better get organized for self defense. Sensible advice.
anony Mar 12, 2013 10:28pm
I will agree with the writer that the delay in response to the first attack might have been 'Fear'. But we are not wrong in thinking otherwise as well that the political elite did have a heavy contingency of police and security for their weddings/valimas, BECAUSE this is how the political elites have abused the security establishment in the past so many times. We will never know the truth to this story. I also agree with what Kayani've voted these lot in, now deal with it. It is our own fault to vote such people in and then cry for help later. I won't be surprised if this same lot is elected to power again. Oyr country is going down the drain unfortunately.
Iqbal Mar 13, 2013 06:30am
Are you proposing a civil war?
AHA Mar 12, 2013 03:31pm
Good analysis. It is very much possible that the delay was deliberate in view of a possible second strike.
Prashant Mar 13, 2013 03:05am
Then they came for me
Parvez Mar 12, 2013 06:44pm
When the police are politicised and the criminals are politicised and all politicians are all one at the end of the day....................what do you expect ?
Cyrus Howell Mar 12, 2013 06:30pm
"It is very likely that the basic human instinct of survival kept the police away from the scene for a significant amount of time." The police are not paid enough to die for a system that will not even care for their families if they do get themselves killed. The old saying is, "You get what you pay for."
KH Mar 12, 2013 06:32pm
Religion is to make a person a good human being by changing his/her inner and thoughts but what i have noticed that now people pray more then ever before but no good changes in their behavior in fact becoming more evil day by day. I will also add over here from Allama and Alim not to preach hate and don't curse those personalty who are respected in other sect .If we start respecting each other believe me harmony will come.
Shakeel Ahmed Mar 12, 2013 05:29pm
A humble jumble of an article kept me waiting for the crunchy bit to bite at the end but it never happened. I think what you need to say unequivocally is the police were simply coward and too damn scared at their late arrival.
Khanm Mar 13, 2013 11:16am
with due respect I don
john Mar 13, 2013 07:02pm
Kayani did even need to stand the test of votes.
john Mar 13, 2013 07:05pm
The fight against lej is not a civil war. I think it is a civic duty.
john Mar 13, 2013 07:13pm
Every one seem to be coming up with their own plausible causes. Why not have the Policemen speak up? They are afraid of the backlash from politicians and the public. They just sit back and hide since no one blaming them. Politicians have always been the favorite punching bags, since they are the only who can even remotely be held accountable. Imagine how different the reaction would have been if an Abbottabad like incident happening the jurisdiction of the politicians.
Khan Mar 14, 2013 01:13am
It goes to Punjab and Islamabad
Yawar Mar 14, 2013 01:45am
It is amazing that instead of blaming the terrorists that plant and detonate bombs at will, we continue to blame everyone else including the government, police, maulanas, foreign forces, army, etc. etc.
quantum Mar 14, 2013 03:20am

What do you propose to protect minorities in Pakistan ?

Zahid Khan Mar 14, 2013 08:38am

How convenient of you not to mention specifically the Sunnis in your list.