As the United Baloch Army claimed responsibility for the horrific bombing of a train at Sibi station on Tuesday, it became clearer than ever how ill-prepared the state is to deal with even the most predictable terrorist attacks. The bombing which killed 17 people and injured 40, came in swift response to the killing of 40 ‘Baloch militants’ by paramilitary FC in Kalat division a day earlier. Even if we were to say the state cannot safeguard the public against every “rogue” terror threat, once security forces undertake an aggressive crackdown on militants (notorious for attacks on passenger trains), it is only prudent to increase security, at the very least, where a retaliation is expected. It’s a simple deduction; pre-empt attacks. Be prepared. Be on high alert.
Why was security not tightened in and out of important junction railway stations like Sibi following Monday’s raid in Kalat? It really doesn’t take an expert in probability theory to know that train stations are at increased threat of attack once you launch a raid against the UBA. Surely, security forces were not expecting that after killing 40 people, there would be no retaliation and the province would be functioning at business as usual? Why were emergency services, hospitals, fire brigades not fore-cautioned in preparation for possible attacks? Why were no additional security measures added? Why were women allowed to board trains unchecked? This is an example of state irresponsibility; the state must be prepared and wary of high scale attacks if it launches high scale crackdowns. If anything, it shows how quickly and ferociously the UBA is able to mobilise, communicate and hit back while all the people can do, it seems, is put their hands together and pray they aren’t at the wrong place at the wrong time.