The country is once again drenched in the blood of the sons of its soil. The Awami National Party (ANP) is the one party in Pakistan which has always taken a stand against the extremists and suffered endlessly for failing to accommodate them. The death of ANP leader Haroon Bilour and 19 other party members yesterday in a corner meeting reflects how cowardly these attackers are, and how are determined to take out everyone who stands against them. It is a shame that the party lost another leader in this election campaign and it is a failure of the security agencies for not being able to manage the situation.

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This shatters the narrative that Pakistan has been able to manage the security situation because those at the risk of being attacked are still being attacked. This is exactly what we have witnessed in the case of ANP, where the party has to carefully plan out its movement and refrain from large political gatherings in order to protect themselves and their followers. The party has restricted its canvassing to corner meetings and door to door meetings but these extremists have managed to sabotage them too.

There is absolutely no excuse for why only two police officers accompanied Haroon Biolur despite the imminent threat the party faces. There were reports of threats for party leaders but there was a huge security lapse. It is time we question the statement made by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) while taking away the security protocol that terrorist attacks do not make a difference because we all have to die one day. That day came too soon for Haroon Bilour and his late father as well.

This is exactly why parties like the ANP exist - to push the extremist narrative where it belongs because it ends up taking lives. ANP’s history is a history of struggle against the Taliban and this incident is a huge question mark upon the efficiency of the security agencies and the state. This incident is a reminder that the principled position against the mainstreaming of extremist narratives is correct because it helps breed individuals who are inhumane in their outlook. It is unfair to the scores of sacrifices made by our own citizens and parties like the ANP.