Friday, February 05, 2010

Sectarian Terror in Karachi

Karachi Blasts
Dawn Editorial, February 6, 2010

The Shia community has again been targeted in Karachi on a day of religious observance. That one of the targets was a hospital where the dead and injured from an earlier blast had been brought only underlines the distressing reality of terrorism that is breaking new ground in ruthlessness.

If the Muharram blasts last December are any indication, we may not know for many weeks which group is behind the latest attacks. Suspicion, though, is likely to fall on Jundullah, a virulently sectarian militant outfit, four of whose members have been arrested in connection with the December blasts. So last week ended with ethnic violence breaking out in the city and this week ends with sectarian violence — a damning indictment of the city’s security situation that was for months talked up as a relative success.

However, we are not going to lay blame for yesterday’s blasts on a ‘security lapse’. We did not like the fact that the police quickly pointed to the fact that the main procession in the city was not attacked, as though the loss of life elsewhere was any less important. Yet, we understand that it is all but impossible to secure a city the size of Karachi with even the best of resources and capabilities, especially when the focus was on securing a procession similar to the one targeted in December. Karachi suffered again on Friday, but the carnage could have been much worse had the bombs targeted the main procession.

The main problem lies elsewhere: the lack of any political and security resolve to uproot the infrastructure that churns out the ideologically crazed men who want nothing more than to kill the ‘enemy’. Yes, the intelligence agencies and the security forces have been successful in breaking up a number of terrorist cells in recent months, but that is mostly a case of treating the symptoms and not the disease. Where did these men learn their hate? Who taught them to kill and maim? Who are the ideological figureheads? The answers do not all lie in faraway South or North Waziristan or Afghanistan. When Karachi escaped relatively unscathed from the wave of violence engulfing the rest of the country over the last couple of years, knowledgeable observers kept pointing out that the city was still at the mercy of various militant groups that could strike if they wanted to. The infrastructure of hate was never dismantled and now that the terrorists have seemingly decided to open the Karachi front, the city appears as vulnerable as ever.
18 killed in dual bomb attack in Karachi - CNN
Karachi mourners bleed again - DT

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