Peshawar bleeds, again!


Monday’s suicide bombing at a mosque inside the police headquarters in Peshawar’s high security zone has sent the entire country reeling as the body count from the tragedy surpassed 100 with over 200 more admitted to hospitals. As authorities seemingly look hesitant to figure a way out of the situation getting more difficult and tougher with the passage of time, the Peshawar attack is the worst of its kind in the country, which targeted police personnel. The attack sent shock waves across the country and broke a period of relatively tense calm in the province, especially in Peshawar which has been the site of several terrorist attacks on schoolchildren, masses, security forces and worshipers.
Ironically, no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing which took place in the most heavily-guarded neighborhood home to several important government offices. Many victims lost their lives trapped under the debris of collapsed roofs, while others succumbed to their injuries on way to hospitals. The ultimate losers in the tragedy are the people. Distraught families rushed to hospitals and the Police Lines, not knowing whether their sons, brothers, husbands and parents were alive or dead. Social media networks livestreamed the rescue operation at the site. As the death toll continued to climb, the attack was so colossal and soul-searing that it would etch on the collective memory and consciousness of the nation for years.
Total chaos was witnessed in the nearby Lady Reading Hospital, a state-run medical facility, where the injured and the dead were brought. Doctors and paramedical staff were seen struggling to move the many wounded to operation theaters, while relatives frantically searched for their near and dear ones. The national resolve must not be dissipated. The ongoing war against militancy must be taken to its logical end. As pointed out in the National Action Plan, state institutions need to adopt an action plan with specific, mostly quantifiable and ultimately time-bound agenda to curb the scourge of militancy. For many months now, Pakistan is afflicted with a crippling political uncertainty, which weigh heavily on the nerves of the nation. The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an umbrella organization of over a dozen political parties, and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which was ousted from power in April last year, have been engaged in nerve-racking battle for power. As such, decision making is almost stalled.
Notwithstanding the political uncertainty, the country is also plagued by a deepening economic crisis that is ascribed to the global slowdown and the Russia-Ukraine war. It is high time the civil and military leadership put their heads together to chart an effective way out of the current situation in the light of the 20-point National Action Plan, which was chalked out following the December 16, 2014 massacre at the Army Public School. The Peshawar police lines’ bombing is enough to catalyze a degree of soul-searching and strengthen the resolve of state institutions to weed out militancy from the country once for all.