=> EXACTLY two weeks after the assassination of Ms Be
EXACTLY two weeks after the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto in a terror strike in Rawalpindi, 24 people were killed, including 21 policemen, and about 60 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the police force gathering outside the Lahore High Court building Thursday morning just ahead of the lawyers’ protest rally. The busy square around the police barricades at the site of the blast was littered with the dead and injured. The wounded lying in pools of blood and crying for help were rushed to different city hospitals where emergency was declared. One fails to find words to condemn the macabre incident. Lahore, regarded as a secure metropolis, became the latest victim in the wave of suicide bombings that started last year after the Lal Masjid confrontation in Islamabad which ended when it was stormed by the security forces. More than 800 people have since been killed.
There is no cause that can possibly justify a man wrapping explosives around his body and walking into a crowded place to blow himself up and commit mass murder. But the fact that most of these suicide hits were directed against the security forces and law enforcement personnel indicates that it could be a reaction against the ongoing military operation in the tribal areas in particular, and militants in general. Suicide attacks were earlier restricted to the troubled region with security forces being the prime target, but have gradually started spilling over to the settled areas. And eventually almost the entire country came in the grip of militancy with the deadliest act occurring in Rawalpindi on December 27 where Ms Benazir Bhutto was killed along with 58 others soon after addressing a public rally. It was distressing to find the administration making a headlong rush to wash away the crime scene rather than preserving the evidence to help investigators solve the crime. It was followed by mindless utterances with the state apparatus churning out implausible theories about the cause of one of the gravest tragedies befalling the country.
So far no one has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in Lahore, nor ascribed it, but it is bound to deepen turmoil and the insecurity prevalent in the country ahead of the elections. Such grisly acts cannot be condoned. The accusing finger is, however, being raised towards the intelligence agencies for their failure to do the spadework of gathering information since they are deeply involved in witch-hunting political opponents. They should be keeping vigil on the terrorist networks playing havoc with internal security. The gruesome massacre of innocent citizens and security personnel should bring home to the government that force alone is not working in curbing the growing militancy. It must handle its own citizens in a radically different manner.
Source: The Nation