When Lahore is hit, it is assumed that no place in the country is beyond their reach. For it is considered a relatively well-watched city. Now the same supposedly safe city has been hit. And those behind the attack want to send a clear signal to the government and the security agencies. The message is that they may have been made relatively dysfunctional but they are not rusty yet from the disuse. Their terror machine remains well-oiled and can strike at will.
This is the third blast in Lahore in last as many years where police officials have been the target. In February 2017 a suicide blast had killed five police officials, including two senior officers. In July, nine police officials and several civilians were killed in a blast on Ferozepur Road.
The latest strike – that targeted a police van deployed on security outside the Data Darbar, killing 10 people, including three police officials – should sound the alarm bells for those responsible for the law and order in the country. The trouble with our rulers is that neither do they bother to keep themselves informed of what they are responsible for, nor they have the right words to express themselves. Resultantly, they end up uttering the useless, clichéd phrases that mean nothing. It serves them right for one, they are able to be on media, two, they do not commit anything that they later have to account for.
CCTV footage that emerged later shows a 15-year old boy approaching the police vehicle and then exploding himself. According to media, Hizbul Ahrar, a splinter faction of the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. Sufi shrines such as Data Darbar Abdullah Shah Ghazi, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Rehman Baba, and Baba Farid have all been attacked by militants in the past. Due to Ramazan religious activities increase hence more vigilance is required on the part law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on the resurgent militants. The Wednesday’s blast also underscores the need for better training for police to not only combat terrorism but save themselves from becoming soft targets.
While we may have dismantled the terrorist infrastructure, we still are far away from eliminating their support base from the society and that is why they succeed every few months when we think they could not.