The aftermath of the Stock Exchange attack | Pakistan Today

The aftermath of the Stock Exchange attack

Large cities needs commissioners of police

The terrorist attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange building on 29 June and its aftermath need to be looked at from several angles. Firstly, the preparedness and valour of the private security guards, and the police staff posted at the gate, was first-rate. Kudos is due for the shuhada and the brave survivors. They did us proud. Secondly, that the agencies hostile to Pakistan are alive and kicking. They have a cadre of dedicated criminals available to do their bidding when asked. This is being met with focused vigilance by the security agencies. Thirdly, that once again it is patent that terrorist money financing is going on at a regular basis. Are we doing enough to minimize this aspect? Fourthly, that more effective training needs to be imparted to the law enforcing agenciess on officer safety. Fifthly, that all Inspectors-Generals may like to review the lists of Class A key-points, and get the owners to create more effective gating systems than the one at the PSX.

It is widely believed that the Indian state funded and organized the terrorist attack. Investigation into the incident lends credence to this theory. India makes no secret of its strategic aim to dismember Pakistan. It holds seminars on the subject in open forums.

After some respite over 2019, we see an upsurge in the incidents of terrorism in the country. Security agencies have been targeted by insurgents in the erstwhile FATA, and in Baluchistan. We have lost quite a few fine young officers and soldiers and we owe the armed forces a debt of gratitude for these sacrifices. The army is steadfast in holding its defensive positions, under constant attacks by the Afghan army across the Durand line, and by the Indian army across the Line of Control in Kashmir. The Afghans have so far only attacked our posts and forts in the KPK, but the Indians have made a habit of bombing our border villages, killing civilians on a regular basis.

The Karachi attack is not the last such incident. More may follow. The hope is that they will be met with the same resolve, yield the same results but without any casualty on our side

The Indian army has made it a rule of engagement to kill unarmed civilians on both sides of the LOC. After every weekly such action by the Indians, our Foreign Office then invites the Indian envoy to the Ministry. The envoy drives in on his BMW, escorted by the Islamabad police. He is given a cup of tea and handed over a letter which ends by saying that the MOFA assures the receivers assurances of its highest consideration. End of matter.

We have had this attitude of kowtowing to the Indians for decades now. There is the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the UN, and several other effective forums where we can agitate for economic and arms embargo sanctions against India. The present Afghan government is being run by the Indian Foreign Office, so any hope of making a dent there is a lost cause unless we checkmate India through diplomacy. Yet, all we do is issue a polite note requesting the Indians to desist from killing our citizens, please.

We must now realize, after observing the vicious anti-Islam trends ongoing in India, that the second term BJP government is hostage to zealot criminals, whose ultimate aim is to raze the Kaaba. And I am not being cynically dramatic. This is my considered view. The holy Quran bears testimony to at least one such attempt in Sura Feel (105). If you look at the RSS/BJP leadership you will quickly identify a lot of present day Abrahas.  This may be a quixotic quest but it can lead to great regional disorder if left unattended.

Our diplomacy is too colonial in attitude. Senior diplomats keep saying that for effective diplomacy one needs an underpinning of power. We are a nuclear state, for heaven’s sake. What more power does our Foreign Office want?  Although we have a poor government due to bad fiscal management, we are still a middle income country. So our foreign policy should be more aggressive. We should take the Indians to the International Criminal Court for genocide in an area which has special status given by the UN. India will refuse to submit to the jurisdiction of that body; so what!! We will have made our point and produced evidence.

The Financial Action Task Force, which started off as a reasonable institution, has morphed into a political tool in the hands of the G20 countries. Should we not send information to the FATF about India’s involvement in the recent terrorism in Karachi? India, with their membership status in the G20, will probably have it brushed aside which would further prove that the FATF is no longer a trustworthy forum.

The Baluch Liberation Army and other such shadowy organizations which are the last vestiges of the Azad Baluchistan Movement of the 1960s and 1970s are on a slippery downward slope. Financial oxygen from India is keeping them alive. Over the decades, Baluchistan has transited into a politically strong and economically prosperous province of the country. Since the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the per capita share of the province is more than the other units of the federation. If the political leadership of the province spends these resources wisely, Baluchistan is capable of great developmental strides. India’s utopian dream of creating another Mukti Bahini is a pipedream on which they are wasting money. Fine with us; it is their money.

To defeat urban terrorism, good policing is of the essence. To begin with, all cities with a population of more than a million must have Commissioners of Police heading the service. London and many cities in South Asia are run by police commanded by a Commissioner of Police. The CP has judicial powers in minor offences,a  dedicated budget, and full powers in the recruitment, training and discipline over his staff. The officer is still responsible to the provincial government and is supervised by the Inspector-General. The signal advantage of this arrangement is that it creates a homogeneous police which can do what is called ‘community policing’ in a more effective manner. In such a scenario, intelligence gathering which is like lifeblood to counter-terrorism becomes a routine. A community which trusts the police will lay much useful information with their police station.

When he was the Vice President of the USA, Joe Biden, presently the Democratic nominee for President, spoke at one of the General Assemblies of the Association of Chiefs of Police. Here’s what he said:

“ Today, it is the local cop who is going to discover the local terrorist working out of a vacant house, who is going to find a bomb in a backpack abandoned at a train station…’s going to be the local cop doing his rounds”

The Karachi attack is not the last such incident. More may follow. The hope is that they will be met with the same resolve, yield the same results but without any casualty on our side.