The first twenty days of 2016 have already seen four major terrorist attacks in the country. The government came up with the National Action Plan in December 2014 after the APS attack. It has been over a year since then, and yet here we are seemingly standing exactly where we were then.

The terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University on Wednesday serves as a reminder for the entire country that the war against extremism and terrorism is still being fought, and often with the deadliest of consequences. It is really distressing that once again, it has spilled over to the confines of educational institutions. 21 people have been reported killed with over 50 wounded in this horrific incident, where just yesterday an attack in Khyber Agency killed at least 11 and injured another 36.

TTP Geedar Group has claimed responsibility for the Charsadda attack, the same group who was behind the Karachi Airport gun battle and the Peshawar APS attack. Four suicide bombers were sent to carry out this task. Two of the terrorists were found wearing unused suicide vests; if they had been able to carry out their ultimate aim, the country would be mourning many more on this day.

At times like this, it is important that the entire country unites and expresses its solidarity with the victims and their family; and this includes the media as well. It is important that TV channels in particular respect the sensitivity of the issue and not ask questions that can cause even more grief to those affected only to generate more ratings. In addition to this, it is also important to remember that sensitive information such as the exact details regarding the operation being carried out by security agencies are kept secret until appropriate, in the interests of national security.

The government’s answer after December 16, 2014, has not been sufficient. Executions are clearly not an effective deterrent. The fact is that Bacha Khan University could have a standing army at its door and this could still happen. The same questions still remain. How are terrorists still moving freely enough to orchestrate attacks of this nature? With an ongoing operation in the agencies, how are attackers still finding safe havens and enough breathing space to carry out attacks in the country? What is the regime doing to counter the extremist narrative and ensure that the populace does not succumb to its ideology? The state was already seemingly aware of a threat to educational institutions in KPK, considering its order of closure of schools only a few days ago, and yet this happened.