THE election process in Pakistan has hardly ever had smooth sailing. There have been brawls and fights between competing candidates, causing injuries to them or their supporters. The election day, in particular, is at times marred by deadly incidents. The unsuccessful attempt on the life of Sheikh Rashid, a former federal minister, President of the Awami Muslim League and candidate for by-election in NA-55 (Rawalpindi), on Monday appears to fall into that category. It, certainly, is not a terrorist attack, as Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has tried to make it out to be on the floor of the provincial assembly, while the outraged opposition members staged a walk-out in protest at the dastardly attack. A day earlier, a PPP worker, a retired Captain, was gunned down right in the middle of the federal capital in the course of a clash between supporters of Muslim Conference of Azad Kashmir and PPP. It were the mutual recrimination about the allegation of false voting that culminated in his death. The facts about the shooting at Rawalpindi, as reported in the media, are that when Sheikh Rashid, accompanied by his party workers and supporters, left his election office at Khayaban-e-Sir Syed and proceeded towards the place where he was to address a public meeting, two motorcyclists suddenly appeared from nowhere and fired shots at them. Two of his bodyguards and another person lay dead on the spot, and Sheikh Rashid fell down in the stampede that ensued and hurt himself. Thus clearly it was a targeted, and not terrorist, attack. It is a clear pointer towards the progressive trend to have recourse to violence rather than rely on fair play to achieve the desired results. Meriting severe condemnation, such incidents should shake the ruling circles out of their slumber and egg them on to devise a comprehensive strategy to inculcate the spirit of toleration in society. Condemnations and commitments about investigation into these criminal acts, a routine in which our leaders unfailingly indulge are, in course of time, lost into the thin air. The public is never made wiser about the motives at work behind these incidents, and as it gets preoccupied with other more pressing, perhaps ghastlier, events, the issue recedes into the background. In this particular case, where the affected party is pointing an accusing finger at the ruling PML-N, it is highly desirable, indeed necessary, that the Punjab Chief Minister take personal interest to have the attack transparently investigated, as he has promised to do in his call to Sheikh Rashid. The President and the Prime Minister also telephoned him to express their shock and sympathy. They should become the moving spirit behind the corrective measures that society so badly needs to set things right.