Sectarian attack

Published February 14, 2015
Security personnel inspect a mosque inside Imamia Imambargah after an attack by Taliban militants in Peshawar on February 13, 2015. - AFP/File
Security personnel inspect a mosque inside Imamia Imambargah after an attack by Taliban militants in Peshawar on February 13, 2015. - AFP/File

ANOTHER week, another sectarian attack, yet another attack in Peshawar. While no one expected the state to shut down the militancy complex and suppress terrorism in a matter of weeks, what yesterday’s attack in Peshawar seems to have underlined is that the state strategy in the fight against militancy is inadequate and not wide-ranging enough.

There are at least two points to be made here.

First, the sectarian equation. From Shikarpur to Peshawar, militants have struck against Shias and their places of worship seemingly at will, indicating that yet another front in the militancy wars is once again being aggressively pursued.

While not all militant groups are avowedly and determinedly sectarian, it is nevertheless true that practically all operating here have a sectarian strain.

Know more: 20 killed as Taliban storm Peshawar imambargah

The failure of the state was in not giving priority to stemming the growth of avowedly sectarian militant groups — the longer those particular groups have been allowed to operate with near impunity, the more it seems to have encouraged other militant outfits to focus on their sectarian agendas.

It is still not too late. The country, despite grievous blows to the Shia community in recent years, is not on the verge of a full-blown sectarian civil war. But if fighting sectarianism is not made a priority now, the implosion in parts of the Middle East is a haunting reminder of how quickly and irreversibly matters can get out of control.

The other aspect is Peshawar. Sitting pressed up against the tribal areas and a regional hub for so many trouble spots, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a front-line city in the fight against militancy.

As such, it will always be a city militants look to stage attacks in. But it cannot be forgotten that Peshawar is also the administrative and military hub from which the state projects its power in the immediate region. The troops fighting in Fata are commanded from Peshawar.

The writ over KP and Fata is administratively handled from Peshawar. As such, it is a city that has vast resources and from where both the civil and military arms of the state have over the years learned how to work in cooperation with each other to help secure it.

In essence, then, why are such large groups of militants, as in the case of the Army Public School attack and now the Shia mosque, still able to so easily penetrate high-security sites in Peshawar?

Surely, that is not too much to ask for — that droves of militants not arrive at their targets undetected from where they proceed to deliver yet another blow to the national psyche?

Something is wrong here and neither the military nor the civilian, provincial and federal, leadership is willing to admit it.

The enemy is proving to be more resilient and smarter than the state that is purporting to fight it.

Published in Dawn February 14th , 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

Back to politics
Updated 29 Nov, 2022

Back to politics

PDM and PTI must realise that neither will get what they want if they keep fighting bitterly at every turn.
Election delay
29 Nov, 2022

Election delay

OF recent, leaders from the ruling PML-N have been dropping hints about a possible delay in general elections after...
Sugar woes
29 Nov, 2022

Sugar woes

IT’S that time of year again when cane growers get anxious over the delay in the commencement of the new sugar...
1971 in retrospect
Updated 28 Nov, 2022

1971 in retrospect

The point of no return came when the military launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971.
Gender-based violence
28 Nov, 2022

Gender-based violence

IT is a war without boundaries and seemingly without end. A UN report on femicide released on Nov 25, the...
Battle against dacoits
28 Nov, 2022

Battle against dacoits

THE Punjab police is clearly fighting a formidable, and so far losing, battle against the criminal gangs based in ...