Islamabad : “In times of war there can be no room for mistakes,” an editorial in a leading English daily said Friday on the five terror strikes in Pakistan Thursday that left at least 36 people dead. Another editorial noted that the country was “up against an enemy that is showing no signs of receding”.
“The attacks in Lahore took place despite warnings from intelligence agencies that this would happen. Some of these warnings had appeared in the media. If we are unable to stop the militants despite such precise intelligence, there is quite obviously something that is very wrong,” The News said in an editorial.
“We need to find out where these oversights or lapses or negligence are occurring and why. In times of war there can be no room for mistakes, especially ones that lead to death and destruction on this scale,” the editorial, headlined “Terror unrelenting”, maintained.
Heavily armed Taliban militants dressed in military fatigues staged simultaneous attacks on three police establishments in Lahore Thursday leading to the deaths of 25 people, including 10 attackers, before the security forces restored order. Earlier in the day, a suicide bombing in Kohat town in the restive northwest left 10 people dead, while an eight-year-old child died in a similar attack in Peshawar city of the same region Thursday evening.
The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) claimed responsibility for the Lahore attacks, which were seen as a reaction to the threatened Pakistani Army action against the militants in their South Waziristan stronghold along the Afghanistan border. The TTP had last Saturday staged an audacious assault on the Pakistani military headquarters in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, taking hostage 42 officers and soldiers, who were freed after a two-day standoff.
That the Lahore attacks were countered “must count as some kind of success. It seems apparent the militants will make more such attempts in the future. This is something that we must focus on”, The News noted.
The editorial also pointed to the “possibility” that rival Taliban groups “are engaged in an attempt to demonstrate superiority”.
“It is possible too that the daring assaults are an act of desperation by a militia that faces defeat. But whatever the truth may be, the government must assess why authorities have repeatedly failed to pre-empt the strikes despite the existence of intelligence and why terrorists from the northwest have faced few problems in moving into fortified cities,” the editorial maintained.
Dawn wrote in the same vein, saying that “surely”, a higher level of preparedness and vigilance on the part of the security forces “would have given them a better chance against the militants”.
“We can also do without the confusion and dithering displayed by an assortment of officials in Lahore. Whereas the city’s police chief has indicated that the threat from the Punjabi Taliban has been defused, the Lahore commissioner has been insisting that the violence is being perpetrated by India. With the country in turmoil, there is no room for rhetoric and finger-pointing. Action is needed – urgently. The country is up against an enemy that is showing no signs of receding,” the editorial, headlined “Bloody Thursday”, contended.