Sadly, the gut-wrenching thriller in Islamabad exposed the incompetence of police and the security establishment more effectually than other mass-casualty attacks that only elicit condemnations and lip-service. Reports are that the federal setup is in the process of setting up a Cabinet Committee on National Security.

The decision has coincided with an onslaught of criticism -- quite justified -- from the opposition. The government as well as the Islamabad police seems to be arguing that excessive media coverage boiled up the public sentiment and hence made it hard for the authorities to normalise the situation. But, media did only the right thing and it remains hard to accept that it presented an obstacle to the police personnel in any way. The cameras were at a safe distance doing only their job like media does elsewhere in the free world.

Just how easily Sikandar waded into one of the most sensitive areas of Islamabad affords just one instance of how weak and defenceless Pakistan is against terrorism. Obviously when the police is ill-trained to react to a situation where it has to simply use a rubber bullet or a tranquilizer to subdue a troublemaker goofing around, that sufficiently explains why it would not like the media to make that known to the public.

It is hoped that the Cabinet Committee will lead to a tangible security policy, and would also deliver since it will be led by PM’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. But one may still ask, if this move has been prompted by this five-hour thriller alone or whether it is the logical reaction to terrorism rocking all corners of life within the country. If it is just that one episode, then nothing much is going to come out of that. Besides, the view that committees and commissions crop up normally to hide a multitude of sins often by those who are setting them up has been bred after many examples from our chequered past.