The nation is still shocked following the attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. It is reported to be the worst terrorist attacks in two years.

Last year we had suffered severe blows at the hand of terrorists – such as the Lahore Gulshan Iqbal Park carnage, the Quetta Civil Hospital bloodbath, or the slaughter of cadets at the Quetta Police Academy. All these places were equally insecure for the people who visited or lived there.  All these places had inadequate resources.

According to standard complaints, lack of efficient rescue operation and first aid multiplied casualties in all the above places.

When two senior police officers were blown-up in a suicide attack, while they were busy negotiating with the protestors at the Chairing Cross, Lahore, it was a chilling reminder that terrorism could still visit us with impunity, and on a large scale.

Once again people are shocked at the audacity of the terrorists to inflict pain where it hurts the most. We experienced the same feeling when children at the Army Public School were massacred. Spirituality and innocence, whenever tested, leave deep scars on the soul of a nation.

Those paying homage to the Qalandar, at the time of the blast, had come from different religious backgrounds, just as the children studying at the APS had no specific background except that they were innocent and had not tasted the severity of life unless it visited them in the form of brutal death.

The only commonality among them was their shared association towards the place they were gathered at.  It hurts the most when the sense of belonging is targeted.  The terrorists are after our existence. 

It is wrong to think that religion is their main concern or the driving force behind their attacks.  Religion could just be a tool for recruiting or a smokescreen. The existence of Pakistan, its survival, resilience and the ability to hold out, is what unnerves the enemies whether internal or external. 

Be it a political party affiliated with RAW, or the Baloch nationalists, or the Lal Mosque attack survivors, this array of hostile elements want the state to fall in disgrace. 

The worst part is that the state had provided freewheeling and a level playing field to these elements to execute their plans as regards their target.  The state unwittingly created an environment that allowed terrorism to breed.  The sanctuaries that we are now trying to dismantle had once been our mainstay not because it enjoined religion, but because they served our ideology of using non-state actors to keep our enemies at bay.

The policy failed. It not only emboldened the enemies, but also, brought them closer to us.  The emergence of the Islamic State (IS) has been imminent.  The Lal Mosque brigade confessed their allegiance to the IS, but we failed to respond. 

It is not difficult to understand why the Taliban or any other terror infected group, might get into the folds of the IS.  It is easier to operate from a cover that is larger, all encompassing and excessively funded.

It is, however, difficult to understand why we let Mullah Fazlullah flee during the Swat operation. 

It is difficult to understand why we allowed Abdul Aziz to operate in a mosque that had been home to terrorists – his wife has openly confessed preparing suicide bombers. 

It is even more difficult to comprehend why we allowed Hafiz Saeed a protective shield when many of his followers are looking at IS for a second abode.

There are so many things that this country does which are beyond the understanding of an ordinary mind that looks for good governance as the ultimate responsibility of a government for which it has been elected.

Afghanistan and India’s spy agencies have been blamed for the attacks. Retaliation has also been launched against Afghanistan killing senior leadership of Jamaat-ul Ahrar responsible for all the attacks.

Fair enough. However, for once, let the state wake up and take the blame too. Let it admit the fact that its policies had given room to evil to survive. Revelation of a sensitive meeting could be a breach of trust, but, for a change, if looked at with an open mind, it could save the country’s existence.