Prompted by the Supreme Court’s keen interest in the F-8 court attack case and the mounting pressure from the protesting lawyers’ community, the federal government has acted by ordering the transfer of key officials. The Interior Ministry had requested the transfer of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sikander Hayat, SSP Operations Dr Muhammad Rizwan and DG National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) Tariq Lodhi. The tragic incident that left 11 people dead, including Additional Sessions Judge Rafaqat Awan, also laid bare the incompetence of the individuals and agencies responsible for the security of the capital. The manner in which the investigation has been conducted leaves little hope for progress. From contradictory reports submitted to the SC by the city’s commissioner and IGP to Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan claiming that only 2 people were involved in the attack among other absurd statements, the entire exercise so far indicates that the culprits will likely remain at large.

The political leadership is always keen to transfer officials in the wake of such incidents – the same officials handpicked as favourites – but is never prepared to face accountability for its own failures. Replacing three officers is not the solution. It would have been if they alone were the fundamental problem. They aren’t, but someone had to lose their job so justice was seen to be done. Case closed. Still, the relevant ministry cannot escape responsibility. Appointing personal favourites at the cost of the safety of an entire city is not a matter which should be taken lightly. Furthermore, what measures has the Interior Ministry taken to ensure a similar incident doesn’t take place in the future? Its weak and apologetic response cannot be expected to build deterrence. Lastly, why should the citizens of Islamabad feel safer when the country’s Prime Minister talks of outsourcing security to the TTP? Until confusion and lack of will at the top persists, subordinate institutions cannot be expected to perform any better.