After the murder of SP Chaudhary Aslam, Shafiq Tanoli has taken charge as CID chief, and it seems he is on the right path to honour the previous chief’s memory by carrying on his war against the enemies of the state. In an encounter under his leadership on Friday, he claimed to have killed three terrorists. Like Chaudhary Aslam, Tanoli is one of the brave officers who take the fight to all those who wish to harm the country and has been involved in various operations that led to the death of TTP members. Attempts have been made on his life on several occasions, including a very recent one near the end of December after which he was hospitalised. There are very few individuals who could get back on their feet in such a short period and return to active duty. It takes extraordinary mental fortitude to put oneself at risk on a daily basis. These exceptional people are all that stands between society and its destruction at the hands of terrorism.

And yet, outstanding though their valour is, how much longer can they hold back the tide that looks to engulf us all? The terrorists keep coming. They are hell bent on the breakdown of order in society and target men such as Inspector Tanoli because they know that with them out of the way, the public is at the mercy of all who want prey on it. Will we wait for another hero to die before we learn to value him? Over 200 security officers have been killed in the past four months, since the beginning of the operation in Karachi. That is no small number. These losses, along with Chaudhary Aslam’s shahadat, should teach us a lesson. The government needs to stand by the people willing to give their lives for the country.

The police need to be protected to enable them to do their jobs in the best possible way. Along with the provision of equipment such as bullet proof vests, armoured vehicles and better surveillance techniques, the police also desperately need better intelligence. There are many connections within society that can be exploited and used to gather more relevant information regarding various terrorist cells in Karachi and beyond. In addition to this, attacks can only be stopped before they take place if the police know about them. There is only one way to defeat terrorism, and the government needs to stand by the security forces for that to happen. Show some solidarity and make sure that our best aren’t alone in fighting the fight.