Vigilance in Punjab—claims and performance

Terrorists continue to thumb their nose at security agencies

Despite tall claims by Punjab  police and CTD about the success of combing operations in the province, Lahore still  remains in the cross hairs of the  terrorist networks. Last month, 26 people, including nine policemen, were killed  and 58 others injured in a suicide attack  on Ferozepur Road. In April, six people including army personnel died in a suicide hit on a census team on Bedian Road. On February 13, over two dozen people including two senior police officers were killed in a suicide blast on the Mall.

 

In the latest incident of the sort a massive truck bomb ripped through Lahore’s Bund Road on Monday night, leading to two  dead and 46 injured. The powerful blast damaged, partially or heavily, more than 100 vehicles including  cars, mini-trucks and motorcycles parked at the stand.  The truck  had remained parked for three days  and despite residents of the area having reported to the police  the presence of a suspicious vehicle  no action was taken.   Incidentally, Nawaz Sharif’s cancelled Sunday rally was scheduled to pass through the route where the truck was parked, leading some to conclude that the former Prime Minister might have been the intended target.  The large store of explosives in the truck could also be used to  launch a  major attack inside Lahore.

 

What surprises one is how the truck managed to reach Lahore after traveling 698 kilometers  unchecked.  The explosives must have  been loaded   either in Swat from where it started its journey or  somewhere on the way to Lahore. That it managed to pass through several  check posts in both KP and Punjab  undetected speaks volumes about the efficiency of the security system  on the route. The city was saved  from what could have been a  much bigger tragedy by  sheer chance.  This raises questions about the efficiency of Punjab police, the provincial CTD  as well as the major security agencies of the country.




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