When Boston Marathon was subjected to an act of terrorism, the city, state and federal government of USA acted in unison, subjecting over one million residents of Boston to an extended curfew, halting all public transport and local business activity, in order to track two terrorists identified by CCTV surveillance cameras.

Terrorists can survive and evade a determined state only, if there is no writ of law and such criminal activities enjoy local support. In Boston, combined efforts of local residents and law enforcement agencies helped in successfully nabbing the suspects. Compare this with half-hearted measures, mostly confined to condemnation by political parties and constitutional public office holders, whenever an act of terrorism takes place in Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Lahore or any other part of Pakistan. The sad part is that stereotyped statements that President, PM, CM etc have ‘taken note of’ the incidence coupled with sad reality that nobody ever gets caught, or prosecuted, only encourages terrorists and their sympathizers to believe that they are more stronger than the state, or that the state is slave to political compulsions and blackmail.

In Karachi for more than two decades, street crime, extortion and kidnapping coupled with threats of target killing has created an environment where crime flourishes with huge financial benefits, enjoying massive political patronage and a pliant corrupt civil bureaucracy, with an equally corrupt law enforcement agency. After 2008, the huge financial bonanza reaped by few, enticed other political players to have a share of this large pie and there followed a battle for turf, with thousands of fatalities. This encouraged the more formidable and ruthless brand of terrorists such as TTP, with their misconceived perception of religion, to forcefully have access to enormous financial funding from extortion and other heinous crimes.

There is no way that a MQM Bhatta Mafia activist can be identified from a TTP activist, both look alike to the common citizen. If terrorism is to be controlled and finally eliminated from Pakistan, it can only be done by an across the board ruthless action against all criminals, irrespective of their political affiliation, otherwise this nemesis threatens our country from within and destroy state infrastructure and collective national security interests of Pakistan.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, April 29.