People want anwser from the rulers. They want to ask the rulers to identify who these terrorists and Taliban are. The News in its comment stated that the terrorists struck again -- in broad daylight and again in the country's main garrison town of Rawalpindi killing at least eight people. Not only that, they struck on the city's busiest thoroughfares and managed to achieve their objective of targeting a senior officer of the Pakistan Army -- a lieutenant-general who at the time of his death was the military's surgeon-general. The attack, according to initial reports, is said to have occurred as a vehicle laden with explosives rammed itself into a vehicle carrying the officer. Given the high-profile nature of the victim and the location and time of the attack, it would be fair to assume that many questions are going to be asked. The modus operandi of the terrorists, in recent weeks, has widened beyond the use of suicide bombers on foot and this recent development -- of using automobiles laden with explosives as moving bombs -- is ominous and one can only imagine the impact it will have on the movement of senior officers of the armed forces (most of whom already move around under heavy armed escort).
The frequency of such attacks and the apparent boldness of the terrorists should force the government into drawing up a counter-terrorism strategy that effectively deals with the menace of suicide bombings. In fact, it is somewhat surprising that such tactics have not been developed so far since it is anything but business as usual as far as law and order is concerned (notwithstanding recent statements made by the caretaker interior minister who had claimed that terrorism had been dealt a fatal blow and that law and order was very much under control).
If anything, the bombing on The Mall is a grim reminder that the war against extremism and terrorism is far from over in the country. This is something that the PPP and the PML-N also need to take particular note of. Asif Zardari has said that fighting this menace remains one of his partyís top priorities but that the same time he has said that a military solution alone will not solve this problem -- a line echoed in totality by Nawaz Sharif. However, both gentlemen will hopefully understand that any political solution to this will have to be made from a position of strength and not to appease the extremists. Also, it should be understood that the extremists are fighting a violent war against the state, the target of which is the government and the military, and this means that, for better or for worse, the response will have to be in part military and one that breaks the back of the extremists. Of course, in the long run this alone will not work -- and the matter of reforming the madressahs (where a lot of militants are indoctrinated) and even the mainstream system of education, reducing the dissemination of sectarian literature and also Pakistan's orientation in the war against terror will have to be re-worked.