Tragedy In Karachi

An extremely unfortunate tragedy took place on Independence Day in Karachi as 12 individuals lost their lives and several others were injured during a grenade attack on a mini-truck in the outskirts of Karachi. The 12 individuals were members of an extended family, all women and young boys. Police sources claim that it was an act of terrorism and that apparently a Russian-made device was used in the attack. The increasing frequency of attacks is of serious concern and it is also important to note how such incidents are now not just limited to the border areas.

Though investigations are ongoing to ascertain whether the perpetrators were terrorist members of an ethnic or an extremist group, it is essential that the inquiry moves beyond the preliminary stage and that the culprits are held to account at the earliest. Pakistan cannot afford a resurgence of militant outfits as the hard-fought internal military operations cost the country tens of thousands of lives, severely impaired the economy and also damaged the country’s reputation. After all those years of suffering and sacrifice, especially by civilian populations in the northwest of Pakistan, the resurgence of terrorism would be devastating to the national morale and would act as an obstacle in our drive towards regional connectivity.

Pakistan has time and again made it clear that its security is inextricably tied to Afghanistan. While certain actors in the international community continue to scapegoat Islamabad for the worsening situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan is now having to deal with the spillover of violence.

Pakistani military officials have already warned of terrorist sleeper cells being galvanized because of what is taking place next door. To prevent our counterterrorism gains from being erased, the country’s security institutions will have to be extremely vigilant. In addition to reviving the National Action Plan, there is a need for increased inter-agency cooperation going forward. Especially with regards to terrorism in urban centres, our police will require the right resources and equipment to effectively deal with this menace. To prevent a nightmare scenario from repeating itself, this will have to be a united effort.

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