LAHORE  - A day after the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) hit in the heart of the Garrison City, security and intelligence agencies have anticipated that the merciless terrorists may hit more cities in the Punjab province specifically Lahore to target key politicians, media houses, and security personnel.

Citing intelligence reports, a source in the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) disclosed to The Nation on Tuesday that five suicide bombers had entered the Punjab province to attack key government installations, influential communicators and important persons. The Cell, which operates under the Ministry of Interior, has also indicated the TTP’s chieftain Mullah Fazalullah’s plan of suicidal attacks.

“In order to mark their signatures the terrorists are expanding their violent activities by targeting all unguarded, reticent and mute segments of society. The aim is to blow out their boasting audacity and show off their strength of defiance,” sources said.

An official also revealed that the bombers, said to be teenagers from Miranshah, are dispatched to Lahore on suicide bombing mission. The Punjab government has also been alerted to step up security across Lahore particularly at the entry and exit points of the provincial metropolis to thwart any possible terror assault. It was also learnt that the would-be bombers are carrying fake National Identity Cards (NIC).

Intelligence sources also revealed that there is a strong possibility that the so-called Punjabi Taliban are providing shelter and logistic support to the terrorists in their hideouts in the southern Punjab as they did on different occasions in the past.

The police have launched search operations in different parts of the Punjab province particularly in Lahore to hunt down suspected elements as the new spate of suicide bombings has stunned the entire nation. “In the wake of recent terror attacks, police have launched search operation in different parts of Lahore to unearth the miscreants. A major search operation is underway near Kot Lakhpat Jail in Model Town right now,” a police officer told this reporter by phone on Tuesday night.

Security experts say that the government has to take a lead and own responsibility to fight the threat posed by terrorists. Bloodshed must not be allowed to spread at the will of terrorists. A comprehensive strategy must be launched to crush the criminal elements.

They also warned that there is an urgent need to develop political will to fight the terrorists through well-devised strategy and firm resolve. The writ of the government must be established at all costs and all and sundry be brought to the folds of law. Political leadership must take tough but rationale decisions without any further delay. “Time is running out while terrorists are getting stronger with every passing day,” an official in the Punjab counter-terrorism department (CTD) commented on the condition of anonymity.

Rigidly locked in their insular mind-set the terrorists (TTP) oppose the Constitution of Pakistan, reject the system of governance, fight the -armed forces and leave no stone unturned in promoting their politically-motivated agenda to gratify their power motives. Under the present scenario, there is a dire need to devise a comprehensive strategy to deal with the terrorists with iron hands, he emphasised.

The experts have also suggested that the religious clerics must come forward to condemn such terrorist attacks and play their due role to counter the menace of terrorism. Different factions and civil society organisations must hold collective conferences to promote inter-faith harmony to fight the terrorists. Terrorism is a phenomenon which needs to be fought collectively and the entire nation has to put up a collective effort. “A meaningful message must immediately be sent to the terrorists that the government has the will and power to eliminate them,” the CTD official observed.