Blaming is easier than remedying

ISLAMABAD: Blame RAW is far easier than fixing the problem itself. Shortly after the deadly suicide attack on our legal fraternity on August 8 in Quetta, the chief minister of Balochistan claimed that the terrorist attack was carried out by RAW, an Indian spy agency. He further claimed that there is evidence of RAW’s involvement in Quetta’s attack and that he would share it with the prime minister and the foreign ministry. Despite occupying the powerful post of chief minister of a province, such a statement can bring nothing but ignominy to Pakistan and its law-enforcement agencies (LEAs). If the CM had all the evidence of RAW’s involvement in the disruption of peace in the province, then why didn’t he act in a timely manner and direct LEAs to protect the life of innocent citizens? Such clumsy statements on the part of those who are at the helm of affairs, speak volumes of their nauseating mindsets.

I wonder when this blame game will end and when our leaders and public functionaries will begin addressing the root cause of terrorism. It’s pathetic to note that firstly, the president of the Balochistan Bar Association was brutally murdered and then lawyers gathered at the Civil Hospital were attacked the same morning. What a shame on those who just sit in their palaces with foolproof security at the expense of the public exchequer and issue statements through media to further deepen the wounds of bereaved families.

Like all other provinces, Balochistan has been experiencing such incidents of terrorism and violence for over a decade. Targeted killings of minorities, including the Shia and Hazara communities, have been underway for the past 15 years. The province is a safe haven for ethnic Baloch separatists, al Qaeda and sectarian militants due to its adjacency with Iran and Afghanistan. The law and order situation has deteriorated over the years and the former chief ministers have also made lame excuses for insurgency in Balochistan by placing all blame on foreign powers.

Terrorism is eating into the vitals of Pakistan like a termite and our so-called political leaders and legislators are inept in bringing cogent legislative reformation in the policing system of the country. It’s the police force that has the main responsibility of safeguarding the life, liberty and property of the public. But even today, no cogent reformatory measures have been taken to improve the training of the police force for the betterment of security for the benefit of the common man and the police itself. Furthermore, traffic policemen and those manning check posts also remain vulnerable. What a pity that they have no proper weapons to combat even the slightest terrorist attack.

On the other hand, the Elite Force or Police Commandos, who specialise in counterterrorism operations at the provincial and federal levels, are mostly deputed to perform VIP security duties. Police Commandoes are specifically trained in using a variety of weapons, including grenades, AK-47s, Glock pistols, MP5s and machine guns. They are officially provided with flak jackets for protection and are also trained in martial arts and boxing. Conversely, ordinary policemen do not receive specialised training and traffic wardens are not even provided with bulletproof vests.

If more funds can be allocated every year to expand the Elite Force for the protection of VIPs, then why can’t funds be allocated for ordinary police? Are these policemen and the citizens of Pakistan whom they protect, the children of a lesser God? How many more years will we spend sacrificing our children, sons, brothers, sisters, elders and professionals to terrorism? What a pity that in this century, our legal system is regulated by a centuries-old colonial legal legacy.

Wake up, executives and legislators. Pakistan is passing through the most dangerous phase of terrorism yet. Now is not the time to sit comfortably in ivory towers; it is the time to bring forth transformation to prevent total anarchy.

Syeda Saima Shabbir

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