OF the three major terrorist attacks in Lahore this year, the one on Wednesday was by far the deadliest, killing 30 people and injuring 300. While the attackers apparently wanted to target the office of the CCPO and that of a prime security agency, common people also fell victim as the two buildings are located at a busy city crossing. There was also considerable loss to property as the powerful blast damaged scores of private businesses and office buildings in the vicinity of the incident. Subjecting unsuspecting and peaceful citizens to suicide attacks is an act no words are sufficient to condemn. While NWFP has remained the prime target for the terrorists, a number of incidents of the type have taken place in Punjab and Islamabad also. The forces that are taking recourse to bombing to dictate their agenda direct their ire to Punjab, as they consider it the most vital part of the country. On March 3, six policemen and a PCB van driver were killed when the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in Lahore. This was a daring act meant to portray Pakistan as an unsafe country. The incident made headlines in the international media, providing glee to the enemies of the country. On March 23, terrorists struck inside the office of the Special Branch in Islamabad. This was aimed to convey the message that even the security agencies were not secure and to demoralize the common man. On March 30, five police trainees, two instructors and a bystander were killed as Manawan Police Training School came under attack. This too was meant to convey a somewhat similar message as was the next incident on April 4, when eight FC personnel were killed and six injured in a suicide blast inside their camp in Islamabad. Next day, 24 persons died as a bomber blew himself up in Chakwal. Subsequently Baitullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for the attacks in Islamabad, Chakwal and Manawan. The attack on Wednesday is a challenge to the security agencies. It illustrates the fact that the nation has to pay when its vital institutions fail to come up to the professional standards required from them. The incident is also a challenge to the Punjab government. The attacks on the Sri Lankan team and Manawan Police Training School were blamed on the inefficiency of the police officials appointed in the wake of the Governor's rule. It was maintained that they failed to heed to the intelligence reports and were either busy politicking or were careless. The officials policing the province and its capital now have been chosen by the CM himself. What provides one a modicum of solace is that the two mainstream parties are finally cooperating both at the centre and in the province. Similarly, Parliament is united over facing the challenge to democracy posed by the forces of terror and anarchy.