Incidents of violence in the country have once again drastically gone up. With each day comes fearful news of acts of terror. The deadliest attacks include the target killing of nine people in Karachi in broad daylight and a suicide blast in Peshawar, leaving four members of a banned outfit dead. Karachi has been engulfed in protests, which have seen significant damage of public property in the aftermath of the killings. On January 28, five soldiers of the FC were killed in Dera Bugti. Three people, including an inspector of the FIA were shot dead in Quetta recently.

These attacks are blamed on alien forces by the Interior Ministry and the politicians concerned. That alien forces are involved in the ongoing violence, is not incomprehensible. However, it is not possible that such persons or outfits could carry out the sinister attacks without material and active assistance from local criminal elements and non-state actors. Many of the attacks in the past fortnight have occurred in Balochistan, particularly in areas of Dera Bugti and Quetta. The infliction of further violence in a sensitive province would be ideal, should a foreign force be looking to create trouble. The situation in Karachi likewise is alarming because it has grave ramifications for the peaceful co-existence of various ethnicities in the metropolis. The city is the leading commercial hub of the country and the loss to the economy has been colossal. Concurrently, deadly militant outfits seem to have set Peshawar as their preferred target. Terror incidents there have become daily occurrences with over hundreds of deaths in the past few months. Aerial surveillance of Islamabad is expected to start shortly, with an aim to pre-empt terror attacks. This may well be a good idea for Islamabad, but one wonders what plans the Interior Ministry has to control the scourge in other parts of the country.

The need for urgent reforms in the police force have been felt for some time now. They are required to make the police a professional, trustworthy institution. While the intelligence agencies must also be more responsive to countering terrorist threats. Presently, the police and intelligence forces do not enjoy the absolute confidence of the public. In order to restore this, the Interior Ministry must look into a revision of pay scales, hiring practices and crime intervention techniques. Unfortunately, the said Ministry's energy is mostly spent in ensuring the political survival of this government.