ISLAMABAD: Whether compromise on security or some serious lapses to arrest the upward trend of high profile terrorist attacks in the Federal Capital is fast turning Islamabad into an insecure city.
Is Islamabad District Courts suicide attack fallout of the Lal Masjid operation or an isolated case to teach a lesson to Benazir Bhutto’s PPP for lending support to the government for its decision of operation against the Ghazi brothers is a question boggling the mind.
“We do have information that more than one suicide bombings could re-occur,” Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah told The News on Tuesday immediately after the Islamabad District Courts (IDC) terrorist attack.
In both the Lal Masjid operation and IDC suicide-bombing cases, the law and order seems to have been compromised to a larger extent. It is, however, difficult to intercept a bomber who hits the target by sacrificing his life.
Following months-long standoff with the Lal Masjid administration and the subsequent operation killing scores of people, the Tuesday night blast shattered the confidence of the citizens on law-enforcing agencies. If such incidents could take place at a venue where Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was to address lawyers, what would happen to other places in the otherwise most cordoned off capital city.
“More preventive measures are in the offing,” said Kamal Shah. “Rangers and FC jawans are already in the city and the security would be beefed up further,” he added.
It is learnt that apart from establishing checkposts at all entry and exit points of Islamabad, the authorities are contemplating to put in place mid-city cordons to net a suspect incoming vehicle or any individual.
Senior officials admit that interception of suicide bombers is almost impossible. They maintain that such bombers enter the city without explosives or other material. “These motivated suicide bombers often get such explosive material and necessary equipment from a person already in the city, particularly when such explosives are indigenous and homemade and can be fabricated in every nook and corner,” said the secretary.
He said the IDC bomber exploded the device by raising his hand when he got frustrated to enter into the area which had a walk-through gate with contingent of police watching carefully all the incomers towards the main dais.
Several high-profile meetings had taken place in the recent past and security was already tightened. However, the IDC explosion raises doubts over the efficiency and effectiveness of local security network.
The death of more than a dozen innocent people and injuries to scores of others is an incident of very serious nature. People have been talking about the failure of Islamabad police chiefs and those responsible for handling the security while the police bosses would try to cover up their failure as always done by them successfully.
While in Karachi recently, several people asked whether they go ahead with their planned visit to the capital or hold back. Such kind of apprehensions have gripped the entire population of Islamabad. We should all sympathize with the citizens of otherwise calm and quiet city, which today witnessed a shocking bang.
Islamabad District Courts is a crowded place where thousands of people gather daily to seek justice from the lower courts but one feels threatened following this ghastly act. One way of discouraging large public gatherings is to clamp an across the board ban on such public meetings to avoid colossal loss of lives. The other way is to make the security network more efficient, echoes of emergency notwithstanding.
At the larger canvass, the government should opt for a two-fold policy: First, to beef up security with state-of-the-art gadgetry and making no compromise with any one. Two, engage the top religious leaders in talks to seek their support in bringing about peace and tranquillity all over the country.