- PSX attack revealed vulnerabilities
Four terrorists, armed to the teeth with hand grenades and automatic assault rifles, made a failed attempt to shoot up Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) yesterday as they were quickly intercepted and eliminated by security officials protecting the area. Given how all the attackers were carrying with them enough food supplies to last for days indicates that the plan was perhaps to lay siege to the exchange by holding people hostage. Three brave men, including a police sub-inspector, laid down their lives in the line of duty, thwarting an attack that could have easily resulted in a much higher body count, had the terrorists entered the building. Separatist group Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) that has carried out several other attacks in the country, including the one on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi in 2018, has claimed responsibility for this latest attack. The PSX compound is considered a sensitive, high-security area and is therefore protected by law enforcement agencies round the clock, which is why the attack was over within eight minutes, but the incident does still reveal vulnerabilities that cannot be ignored. If four BLA terrorists can make it within a few feet of the PSX building entrance before being killed, one can safely assume that the next attempt by the same terrorist outfit or any other could be at a less secure target with more men. And this is the problem; militants need to get it right just once while security forces have to continuously preempt such attacks through intelligence gathering and stop them.
Pakistan has fought a long and bloody war for close to two decades against terrorism that has resulted in a drastic fall in the number and frequency of attacks, significantly reducing the loss of innocent lives. But clearly the threat still remains and the recent spurt in small-scale attacks in North Waziristan and Sindh has to be addressed with full force so that all the progress made through so much sacrifice is not reversed. The country faces a myriad of challenges that includes a possible black listing by the FATF, an outcome for which India is making an all-out effort as well. There is no capacity to deal with any resurgence of terrorism at the moment.