ISLAMABAD, March 11: The Tuesday’s suicide attack on the Federal Investigation Agency’s regional headquarters in Lahore appears to have been aimed at preventing the interrogation of some people involved in the recent terrorist activities. The interrogation by the agency was to take place at the time the terrorists struck.
Sources said the government had intelligence reports that FIA buildings could be targeted but security at the buildings had not been beefed up.
FIA director general Tariq Pervez told a private TV channel there was information that terrorists could target the agency’s headquarters in Islamabad, but there was no specific information about the possibility of an attack on its Lahore headquarters.
Interior Ministry spokesman Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema said the attack appeared to be an attempt to ‘demoralise’ the next government.
“This threat of terrorism has to be eliminated to ensure stability and consolidation of the new era of democratic rule,” Brig Cheema said at his weekly press briefing.
Analysts said that a series of bomb blasts and terrorist activities in the country had proved that the government had “completely failed” to combat terrorism and extremism.
“Additional measures are being taken to beef up security for public places, government installations and likely targets of terrorist elements,” the spokesman added.
He said the provincial governments had been asked to review their security plans. “They have also been asked to accelerate their intelligence collection apparatus to apprehend terrorists before they carry out their nefarious designs.”
Brig Cheema said that an investigation had been launched into the Lahore attack.
Answering a question about the possibility of involvement of any foreign hands, he said: “We cannot blame any country until we have some solid evidence. It’s not only a national problem but also an international issue which needs wholesome efforts to curb it.”
The spokesman said that despite comprehensive security measures and arrests, terrorist elements continued their anti-Islam, anti-people and anti-state activities.
He said law-enforcement agencies were trying to eradicate the remnants of clandestine terrorist cells and would overcome the threat to national security and stability with the support of the people.
Brig Cheema said that security forces had arrested last week seven terrorists in Swat, including two commanders of a militant group. He said one of them was involved in the beheading of an employee of a mobile phone company.
The security forces, he said, had also seized a large quantity of arms and ammunition and explosives, including 75mm recoilless rifles and 12.7mm machine guns.