Quetta bleeds yet again. The city’s misfortune seems never ending; heavily militarised, stringently patrolled, but a constant target for all manner of extremist forces – each more horrific than the next. 60 young men destined to protect the city and province in the future, died unceremoniously in the night as heavily armed suicide bombers stormed Quetta Police Academy, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families.

So dire is the condition of the city that the phrase “Quetta attack” has lost its significance – it needs to be followed by a place and date to specify which tragedy it is actually referring too.

Such a state of affairs should put the government and military establishment on high alert, and looking at the flurry of activity that has followed the attack it seems that it has. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Raheel Sharif on Tuesday attended a high-level meeting on security at the governor house in Quetta, while similar consultations were held by other government departments too.

But it must be asked, behind the meetings, the gallantry awards, and national days of mourning, is there any real substance? How many times have these meetings been held, and yet the nation winds up on the same spot again – standing shell-shocked at another tragedy. Pro-activism and solidarity are important at this moment, but at some point it becomes necessary to assign blame and ask for accountability. This is not the first attack, nor second or even the fifteenth; if the state fails every time in protecting it’s citizens, then the state – which includes the civilian government and the military establishment – needs to answer for its failure.

And it has clearly failed, especially when it comes to the attack on the police academy. This was no unexpected attack against a random ‘soft’ target; the police force has been a favoured target by militants, and policies academies even more so. Furthermore, this specific academy has been the target of rocket attacks in the past too, which makes it a prime candidate for maximal protection at such a critical juncture.

Yet we find the facility sparsely manned, not monitored by intelligence agencies, and shoddily constructed. What baffles the senses is the sight of the facility’s back wall – which was scaled by the militants incidentally – which is of human height and made out of mud. The wall of a highly sensitive facility in the most dangerous city in Pakistan is made out of crumbling mud.

Who is responsible for this? The government, the military, the civil service? Someone is. That someone must be found and held accountable, as must be the everyone else who has shirked the duty of implementing NAP and fighting terrorism. Without such accountability, nothing will change, and we will be standing over the coffins of the next batch of citizens killed in Quetta.