At least nine people, including five policemen, were killed and 20 others injured in a suicide attack on a police check-post set up near the Tableeghi Markaz in Raiwind on Wednesday where the bi-annual congregation of ijtima was under way. The banned terrorists outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility of the attack on the police force where the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan central spokesman Muhammad Khurasani released a video message that TTP’s Mujahid Yaqoob Ghazi attacked Raiwind’s police check-post to take revenge of their Mujahideen’s killing in Punjab. The extremists threatened more attacks on police in retaliation for killing their “associates” in the province.

The attack bears similarity to TTPs attack in July last year, killing at least 26 people, including nine policemen, in a bombing attack near the Arfa Karim IT Tower on Lahore’s Ferozepur Road. The TTP had again claimed responsibility. In February 2017, six police officials, including two senior officers, were martyred when a suicide blast claimed by a Taliban faction ripped through the camp of protesting chemists in front of the Punjab Assembly. The Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the TTP, had similarly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Wednesday’s horrifying attack was scantily covered by newspapers and the media, where precedence was given to the PSL. The suicide attack comes as a protracted assault on the police force by the terrorist outfit seeking to terrorize and undermine law enforcement agencies in the provincial capital. Where our police force has recurrently been on the receiving end of public and institutional ire and chastisement, its is unequivocal that it is the undervalued police personnel in the front lines in such barbaric acts who lay down their lives protecting citizens. Such bravery and sacrifice commands our respect and diligence in bringing the perpetrators to justice. It is to honor these brave souls that the state needs to adopt a more stringent crackdown on all terrorist outfits, from those who are severely proscribed to those who are entertained for political gains. Where toothless initiatives like the NAP need to be reconfigured to represent the urgency of the situation, the sacrifice of our police officers needs to be remembered in transcribing a policy that moves away from the notion of ‘negotiating with the Taliban’. Such a meek prescription in the face of such terror only lends legitimacy to terrorist outfits as a force at par with an autonomous nation-state as opposed to what they really are; a band of hate-mongers without a cogent ideology.