Terrorists on the loose

ByMalik Nasir Mahmood Aslam

Seasoned social activist

Dated

February 26, 2023

Terrorists on the loose

Malik Nasir Mahmood Aslam mentions the horrifying increase in terrorist activities

The entire country is traumatized by the aggressive increase in terrorism with incidents taking place with horrifying regularity. The most worrying aspect of the whole scenario is the inability of the state apparatus to come to grips with this grave issue and terrorists on the loose. People are asking what happened to the National Action Plan devised to curb and finally eradicate the terrorist scourge from the country.

The rise in terrorism has practically paralyzed the authorities as they feel bogged down in a highly uncertain situation about which they have very little clue. The consistency in terrorist activities has compelled people to protest about the failure of authorities to counter this menace. The situation is getting difficult by the day and the weakness of state authorities has emboldened the terrorists who now carry out their activities almost everywhere in the country.

It is now widely recognized that many security analysts were correct in mentioning that TTP has set its sights on the entire of Pakistan and is just not limited to KP only. The ominously dark shadow of TTP is lengthening all over the country as is evident by the fact that just after the devastating attack in Peshawar whereby police lines became the target causing an outrageous number of casualties.

Just after this dastardly attack, the terrorists came calling Karachi again attacking the police force. They raided key police installations on the city’s main carriageway raising questions about the efficacy of the national counterterrorism policy. The entire event brought back painful memories of violent past episodes in the metropolis where the TTP has launched murderous, brazen assaults including the Mehran Base attack in 20211 and an attack in 2014 carried out on Karachi airport.

Influential Stakeholders Of The Country

TTP has now cut loose on Pakistan launching a series of attacks including attacking CTD personnel in the Kalabagh area while a few weeks earlier members of the banned outfit had raided a police station in the same district, located close to KP. However, the attack on police in Karachi is a far more complex operation as the terrorists targeted an area in the heart of the city, where several facilities of the military, police, and other security agencies are located.

This is a breach of unacceptable proportions implying that the collective security and intelligence apparatus was caught off guard resulting in devastating consequences. The seriousness of the attack could be gauged from the fact Rangers’ backup support was called in from the entire city, while the provincial government also sought the military’s help.

This audacious raid has brought to focus the obvious worry that since just one terrorist raid brought Karachi’s entire security apparatus to the field then, therefore, what havoc could be caused if more complex terrorist operations take place?

There is hardly any doubt that the latest attack is another wake-up call for the decision-makers of the country including the powerful military establishment pointing out that the hackneyed policy of declaring all well in the country should be abandoned.

This is all the more important that the most influential stakeholders of the country should get their act together as things are getting out of hand. It is more than clear that the impression conveyed by the top political decision-makers that TTP would not go beyond KP and Balochistan is wrong and the correct and real facts must be brought to the notice of people.

Plenty Of Sympathizers For TTP

In this context, it should be realized that terrorists on the loose have the ability, as well as the links and operational wherewithal, to strike at will, while the state’s response has been largely unimpressive. Karachi was the city from where many Al-Qaeda operatives were caught a few years before and it is obvious that the terrorist sleeper cells were activated as it is widely known that TTP has plenty of sympathizers in the city.

The outlawed TTP on social media claimed responsibility for the latest ambush. The latest terrorist outrage has brought to the fore the cumbersome position of security arrangements in the country particularly for government offices. It was a pity to observe that the very visible police office was attacked that was already heavily guarded but still the attackers were able to infiltrate it.

All observers are unanimous that a thorough exercise would be needed that included a security audit and the plan of action police and security agencies are acting upon. They are extremely worried that the target of the terrorists on the loose is the law enforcement agencies, particularly the police. This incident is indeed a serious security lapse and it cannot be pushed under the carpet as it won’t in Pakistan.

It has come to the fore that the police force is fighting and bearing the major brunt and is fast losing its nerves. Hitting the most significant and secure office of the head of Karachi police has further demoralized the force. Those who have worked closely with security agencies and the provincial administration see the attack on KPO as a symbolic one and a kind of message from militants to the authorities about their preparations and next targets.

KPO Terrorists On The Loose

Many analysts recalled the past wave of terrorism in the country when militant outfits often went for soft targets attacking public places, markets, mosques, and shrines but the fresh one had started with a visible shift in their line of action, so far. By doing so the militants are showing how prepared and trained they are.

Their attacks on such closely guarded government installations also underscore the vulnerability of public places. KPO is not a soft target and attacking it is indicative of a serious problem. It is more than clear that the terrorists on the loose find it quite easy to launch their attacks in the country owing to prevailing lax security it and lack of efforts to improve the security and intelligence apparatus.

The sequence of events during the recent terrorist act reportedly was daring in essence as just half an hour after sunset three militants parked a car at the KPO entrance before hurling a hand grenade at the gate. The police said that there were three attackers with one of them blowing himself up on the fourth floor of the building during the operation while two others were shot dead on the rooftop.

Security forces finally cleared a five-story police compound in many hours while two policemen, one Rangers official, and a citizen also met their deaths. At least 19 men, mostly police and Rangers officials, sustained injuries in the exchange of fire with militants who stormed the heavily guarded Karachi Police Office.

Footage shared on social media showed flames and smoke emitting from the top floor of the high-rise with the sound of an explosion and a man uttering ‘God is great’ while cautioning people to stay away and that another blast might occur. The Weekender

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