Pakistan faces a severe threat from the terrorists and cannot afford not to plug the loopholes created by years of negligence and false sense of security. A series of attacks on high value security targets, such as the GHQ, Mehran and now the Kamra Airbase, exposes serious lapses.

The emergence of residential-cum-commercial construction on the periphery of these sensitive locations is an act, which has proved disastrous for our national security. Those who gave permission for marriage halls to be built within the sensitive zone of Mehran base have to share the responsibility for the security breach, which resulted in the loss of four aircrafts, radars and lives of many officers.

 The very purpose of the establishment of cantonments is nullified when, instead of housing our soldiers and storing of ammunition, this area that is given by the state for national security falls a prey to the greed of the top brass.

The fact that the ‘sterile zone’, which is essential for the safety of these vital national security instalments, was allowed to be violated by the cantonment boards and high command of our sensitive organisations, only proves that commercial gains of a few greedy individuals have compromised the state’s security, thus giving an opportunity to our enemies to exploit.  When these vital national security installations were built, they were located far away from the residential areas and  were not accessible by the public. However, subsequent military takeovers by the Zia and Musharraf regimes gave prominence to the so-called welfare projects that have resulted in making the security of our sensitive military establishments a very difficult task to manage.

Indeed, allowing housing societies to be built around the periphery of our civil and military airports, bases and headquarters, poses a threat to our national security.

Malik Tariq Ali,

Lahore, August17.