Pakistan

Lahore under attack, once again

Aug 9, 2017
The truck bomb blast in Lahore on Monday night that claimed a life and injured over 45 people appears to be a result of criminal negligence. The explosives-laden truck was carrying fruit. Intelligence on the possibility of an attack was conveyed to the relevant departments on August 1, and it was clearly mentioned that terrorists may hide explosive devices in fruit or vegetable stands. Yet the authorities appear to have taken no action.
 
Former Prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s cancelled Sunday rally was to pass through the same route. The locals quoted in the media have said that the truck was present at the site for more than four days and the authorities were informed about its presence but they remain unmoved. The provincial government will have to make strict security arrangements to secure the GT Road rally especially given the intelligence concerns about security on the occasion. But it should be ensured that this doesn’t result in a lack of adequate security in the rest of the city particularly at places, which are vulnerable to terror attacks. Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s efforts to make the provincial capital a ‘Safe City’ will not see the light of the day if such small and big attacks continue to take place. While we laud the police for thwarting a terror activity by killing four Taliban militants in the city on Tuesday — a day after the Outfall Road blast, it is time to demand capacity building of the police department.
 
In a number of previous attacks that took place in Lahore, timely action could have prevented the situation. The provincial police department is known for nepotism and politicisation. It is about time the Punjab government introduced reforms in the department so as to enable the police to work in a proper and meaningful coordination with the provincial Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and other relevant institutions especially the intelligence agencies. The recent attacks in Lahore should serve as a reminder for the government to fix the basics in the province. What good is investing billions of rupees in public infrastructure when public safety has not been addressed? Furthermore, Lahore and its environs are known for the presence of banned militant outfits that seem to be autonomous and even free to form political parties. 
 
Daily Times, August 9, 2017

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