THERE seems to be no peaceful respite for the people of Pakistan. Even as countless Pakistanis were being ravaged and their homes devastated by the floods, mourners commemorating the death anniversary of Hazrat Ali (AS) in Lahore and Karachi were targeted by terrorists. In Karachi there was firing which left at least five injured but in Lahore a string of three suicide blasts left massive death and destruction in their wake with the initial death toll at 53 and over 250 wounded. Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Al Almi has claimed responsibility even as other major religious leaders have condemned this act of terrorism. That Muslims and religious processions are targeted in an Islamic country is shameful and it is simply not enough to declare that those carrying out such acts cannot be Muslims when we know full well that they also lay claim to being of this faith. Clearly there are forces out to destabilise and destroy this country whose people continue to show amazing resilience in the face of multiple disasters coming their way both man-made and natural. Sectarian terrorism has been a major part of the terrorist problem in Pakistan and has been made worse by an inability or unwillingness of the government to act resolutely. After the attack on Data Darbar, the government was meant to call an APC and deal with the terrorism problem by forming a consensual and holistic policy. As usual nothing has moved. The visible inability of the government in dealing with the suspected groups has allowed the latter to feel emboldened into conducting acts of terrorism as they please. In this most recent case, there were warnings from intelligence agencies that this occasion was going to be a sensitive one and the provincial government should have made more of an effort to isolate the procession and throw in more plainclothes intelligence personnel amongst the mourners. While no one can totally prevent a suicide attacker, the environment can certainly be made more difficult for him to carry out his act by ensuring no lapse in security. As for the mere act of banning extremist groups, this does nothing for improving security for the people since all that happens is that these groups go underground and become more difficult to track. Stricter monitoring of these groups as well as the flow of their funds is needed alongside exemplary punishment for the guilty. It is mere will that is required since the government does know these groups linkages and leaders. At a more basic level, we have to alter the mindset of our people that has over the years become more militarised and bigoted. We have seen minorities places of worship attacked, minorities lynched publicly, as well as sectarian terrorism rearing its head just when people are commemorating an occasion of mourning. Increasingly, the people are reacting by going on a marauding spree, burning vehicles and targeting the law enforcers. People have lost all faith in the government and are on a short fuse ready to spring into violence when provoked - a sure recipe for vigilantism and anarchy.