Karachi terror

Published April 20, 2024

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five Japanese nationals in the city’s Landhi area comes two years after three Chinese academics were killed by a Baloch suicide bomber at the Karachi University. The Japanese autoworkers survived the attack, but one security guard died of his injuries. They were on their way to the Export Processing Zone. According to the police, the suicide bomber was killed in the attack and his accomplice was shot dead. Law enforcers also say that the collaborator fired 15 rounds and was equipped with grenades. While the Sindh chief minister has sought a report from the IGP, the slain associate is believed to have had links with a Baloch separatist outfit, underscoring the need for foreign nationals working on development and other projects in the country to be provided with an extra layer of security.

The violent incident cannot be taken lightly as it brings into question the vigilance and performance of the Counter-Terrorism Department and the intelligence machinery. Karachi was the venue of terror campaigns, political, sectarian and ethnic carnage for over two decades. Presently, brutal street crime afflicts it, costing too many lives daily. Therefore, law enforcement must evaluate its competence, especially when it is aware of sleeper cells in the metropolis, to keep the commercial nerve-centre from becoming an inferno again. Attempts to destabilise the city must be thwarted with precision. Although the reasons for this attack are unknown, security forces are duty-bound to intensify intelligence-gathering procedures, while the state must upgrade CT policies. Urban centres are seats of progress and power, thus hostile elements exploit flaccid security networks to target them. Moreover, the presence of paramilitary forces in Karachi should have neutralised militant groups. At a time when the economy is flagging and geopolitical temperatures are on the rise, Pakistan’s growth depends on a safe environment for foreigners and investment.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2024

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