Sunday, January 12, 2014

Daily Times Editorial Jan 13, 2014

TTP’s culpability Responsibility for the much lauded SP CID Chaudhry Aslam’s assassination has been claimed by the terrorists. Despite the fact that from Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar down to Karachi senior police officers, the assertion has been made that the suicide bomber who crashed an explosives-laden vehicle into Chaudhry Aslam’s convoy has been identified, the charge of culpability has been laid at the door of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by booking their new chief, Maulana Fazlullah and their spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid for the murderous attack on the SP, in which two other policemen were killed and 11 others wounded. In one sense, this makes for eminent logic, since it is likely that the suicide attack was planned and carried out with the TTP leadership’s blessing. But in another sense, since it is unlikely either Maulana Fazlullah or Shahidullah Shahid will fall into the law enforcers’ hands any time soon, the identified suicide bomber, Naeemullah, is the real lead to get to his accomplices and the network that launched him on his bloody mission. Naeemullah is said to have disappeared seven days before the attack and his cell phone was off for three days before he struck. Police have raided his residence in Banaras Colony, Karachi and arrested five of his family members, including his father Rafiullah, who runs a madrassa in the area, and two brothers Ghulamullah and Qari Siddique. The identification of Naeemullah became possible after some of his remains were found at the site of the blast and were matched with NADRA’s record. Naeemullah is said to have been associated with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi before but then became part of the TTP later. He trained in Afghanistan and Waziristan in preparation for his final appointment with death and destruction. Another brother of Naeemullah is said to have been killed by the Taliban after he failed to carry out a suicide mission in Peshawar in 2011. The family therefore seems steeped in the culture of terrorism in the name of jihad. These details also reflect the nexus of terrorists all over the country, with Afghanistan and the hotbed of terrorism, Waziristan. Since the investigation seems to be progressing well and establishing the facts of the perpetrator and his connections, it make little sense for the MQM to demand a judicial commission to investigate the assassination of SP Chaudhry Aslam. However, it is heartening once again to read the bold message of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, vowing to unite the country against terrorism and extremism. Shrugging aside the concerns about his safety and security, the young leader of the PPP has once again taken up the cudgels against the monsters of mayhem and shamed all the other political leaders who fail to speak out clearly against the terrorists or are hiding behind the elusive farce of talks to bring peace. If anyone has any lingering doubts about the intentions of the terrorists, the news while writing these lines that Amir Muqam has escaped in an attack should put all dissembling to rest. Pakistan is under siege from the terrorists. They are still several steps ahead of the security forces. Unfortunately, the needed urgency in bringing the civilian and security sides of the state together in a well thought through strategy to combat this existential threat to the state and society is still conspicuous by its absence. The governments, federal and provincial, the armed forces and intelligence agencies, civilian and military, have to be brought together under one umbrella with only one aim in mind: combating the growth and increasing deadly capacity of the terrorists. No one is suggesting the door to negotiations should be shut, but to succeed in that endeavour too the state has to show some spine and teeth, otherwise the terrorists will be justified in thinking that the authorities have gone soft and the state and society lie supine, waiting to be ‘taken’. Time to wake up and move fast, otherwise the security situation all over the country threatens to spin out of control.

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