WEB DESK: Karachi saw on Wednesday one of worst terrorist strikes during the recent years as seven policemen guarding polio workers were shot dead, raising the police death toll in the current year to 12.
Initial reports suggested, like in pervious so many instances, the target were the polio workers but subsequent details indicated the attack was aimed at the police only.
The brazen strike was carried out by eight terrorists riding four motorcycles. They first killed three police personnel sitting inside a stationary van, and another standing at a shop before riding away 400 meter farther to shoot and kill three more policemen doing protection duty for polio workers who were left alone. In fact, for a while terrorists have shifted their focus from health workers to the police. In several recent incidents only the police were targeted. That seems to be a well thought-out strategy aimed at causing fear among the populace and creating general chaos to be able to operate more freely.
A TTP splinter group, Jamaatul Ahrar, has claimed responsibility for the killings. It is the same group that was behind the March 27 suicide bombing at a public park in Lahore that left at least 75 people dead and over 340 injured. According to a JIT report on that carnage, Jamaatul Ahrar has also been involved in various other terrorist strikes, including the suicide bombing at the Wahga border, twin bombings at Youhanabad Town church in Lahore, and suicide attack outside district courts in Shabqadar in Charsadda.
The Ahrar, of course, are not alone in the business of massacring innocent people. In the present instance, counter-terrorism department officials suspect they had carried out the attack in co-ordination with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has long been banned, yet some of its leaders remain active by renaming the group even though under the National Action Plan no proscribed organisation is to be allowed to operate using a different name.
Similarly, the plan for madressah reforms stays consigned to the cold storage. Although security forces have been carrying out intelligence-based operations against various extremist elements in different parts of the country, the government also needs to get its act together and effectively implement the political consensus-based 20-point National Action Plan (NAP).
The police are easy targets for the terrorists because they are not properly prepared to deal with the threat both in terms of training and equipment. In Karachi alone, 270 policemen have been killed since the start of the Rangers operations in the city. This must not go on. The police personnel being the first line of defence against the menace of terrorism, ought to get every possible help that they need to improve efficiency as well as their own safety.
Source: Business Recorder