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London knife attack

Pakistan and terrorism are again in the international spotlight after the London Bridge lone terror attacker turned out to be a Pakistani origin British national. According to the London Metropolitan Police, the man who stabbed two people to death and left three injured in the knife attack on a bridge on Saturday, was identified as Usman Khan, a 28-year-old male from Staffordshire. Luckily, special armed forces personnel nailed and killed him before he could harm more people. He was born in London and spent his late teens in Pakistan when his mother was ill. The attack should not surprise the London authorities and they should bear the blame for letting Usman go free earlier despite knowing his tendency towards terrorism. He was convicted in 2012 of terrorism offences and was released from jail in December 2018. With no proper schooling, he has often been caught preaching terrorism on the internet with a liking for Al Qaeda. The court in a sentence ruling for Usman and other convicts had said: “They wished to support and commit acts of terrorism in furtherance of their religious beliefs. They came to the attention of the security services who monitored them using covert surveillance techniques and devices and were able to affect their arrest prior to advanced steps having been taken to implement their plans.” Earlier in 2010, the UK authorities found him in conversation with other like-minded about how to construct a pipe bomb from a recipe referred to in an Al Qaeda publication.
The recent attack is a chilling reminder to the UK authorities that the danger of terrorism is still not off the table and they need to revisit their decision of lowering the threat level from ‘severe’ in 2014 to ‘substantial’ in 2019. A few weeks ago, the world was celebrating the Islamic State’s destruction in Iraq and Syria in the wake of the killing of its founder Abu Bakar Beghdadi. IS has been instrumental in spreading radicalisation in 120 countries, including Pakistan and the UK, and many fighters from the UK even joined the militants in Syria. Today, a very few have sympathies for the losing outfit but those few will keep on trying to assert their presence with such lone or coordinated terror attacks. On Friday, there was a bomb blast in Lahore, in which 14 people were injured. Though there has been a sharp drop in terror attack as well as terror threats across the world, including Pakistan and the UK, such lone attacks stress the need for continuous war on terror.



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