Only months after a failed attempt to blow it up, the Shalimar Express fell prey to terrorism on Monday afternoon, when explosives went off in one of its coaches near Toba Tek Singh. Three people have been reported dead while many more have been wounded. Though the roof of the coach was rent apart, luckily the train did not go off track, which might have resulted in greater devastation since because of the large number of passengers on board due to the pre-Eid travelling season.

Yet another blow to the spirits of the countrymen gearing up for Eid festivities, it must not weaken the morale of the struggling Pakistan Railways, that had about some time back privatised the Shailmar Express in an attempt to lure the affluent classes as well as those with modest means.

Although investigations are underway, what has come to light as of now is that a militant outfit was demanding extortion money from the owners with threats of vengeful acts in case of refusal. This was revealed by the Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique who maintained that it was a terrorist attack. Sadly, despite these threats which were brought to the notice of the authorities, the kind of security measures that should have been put in place were missing at the time the bomb went off. There was not enough police squad and neither was there any action against the callers. It is now that the civilian led Intelligence Bureau is saying that the phone calls have been traced to somewhere in Afghanistan.

Hard on the heels of a recent warning by the Taliban of the biggest ever attack, that the intelligence agencies fear might be a high-value target in some urban centre, this only lays bare the shoddy state of our pre-emptive strategies despite reeling under the malaise for more than a decade.

What we can see is that the policing or the intelligence system for that matter alike has badly failed so far as taking the bull of militancy by horns is concerned. Revolutionary reforms are needed if we are to prevent further death and devastation.