Violence revisited

As Karachi buried its dead, it was a grim reminder of the recent sectarian terror wave that has enveloped the largest city of Pakistan. The blast on the day of Ashura, in which at least 43 people were killed and dozens more wounded in Karachi, was still fresh in memory when another blast rocked a bus going to the Chehlum procession, killing more than a dozen people and injuring scores of others on Friday. Women and children were also among the dead and injured. The procession marks the end of the 40-day mourning period commemorating the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain in Karbala. The injured were taken to the Jinnah Hospital where less than two hours later there was another blast in its parking lot near the emergency ward, killing 13 more and injuring dozens others. The death toll has risen to 31 overnight. These ruthless terrorist acts cannot be condemned enough. It is with heavy heart that we heave a sigh of relief at another bomb being discovered in the hospital premises before it could be detonated, as it would definitely have caused even more casualties and destruction.

What is of great concern is that the terrorists successfully managed to set off two bombs within a span of two hours while a third bomb plot was foiled, no thanks to the security agencies. Jinnah Hospital was the nearest hospital and inevitably the victims of the first bomb blast were taken there, but not enough security measures were taken to protect their relatives and the medical staff. Granted that it was a chaotic time and the law enforcement agencies were busy at the blast’s site, but ignoring a soft target such as the hospital was a major lapse. The failure of the bomb disposal squad and the Rangers to detect the third bomb highlights the inadequacies prevalent in the whole security planning and bomb detection regime. While it was a very sad day for the relatives of those who died or got injured in the two blasts, this was no reason for the people to manhandle the police personnel and the media. In such circumstances, tempers are surely high, but we must all show restraint. Security personnel and the media have also been victims of countless terror attacks. We have to stand together in fighting this menace and not turn on each other, as that is exactly what the terrorists want.

The hydra of sectarianism has spread its venomous tentacles all over Pakistan for the past many years since the Ziaul Haq era. But never had the country witnessed this kind of virulent anti-Shia violence. The government must take note of this rising sectarianism and come down hard on the sectarian militant outfits. If we extrapolate a little further, we can see a developing nexus between these outfits and al Qaeda. Iraq saw the same type of sectarianism on Friday when a bomb attack killed at least 23 Shia pilgrims and wounded more than 140 during the chehlum ceremony in Karbala. A series of suicide attacks have seen dozens of Shia pilgrims killed in recent days in Iraq. Authorities suspect al Qaeda and other Sunni insurgent groups are responsible for the attacks in Iraq. The diabolical nexus between al Qaeda and our sectarian outfits cannot be ruled out under these circumstances. The world has to wake up to this universal threat and make concerted efforts to root out these ruthless terror networks. Terrorism transcends all borders and is not limited to any one country now. Both Iraq and Pakistan need the help of the international community in fighting this rising militancy. If this nexus is not nipped in the bud, chaos will follow the world over.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


John Byrnes said…
Last Tuesday, Directors of the CIA, FBI and National Intelligence declared that an attack by Al Qaeda in the next 3 to 6 months “is certain!” Leon Panetta, CIA Director announced, “The biggest threat is not so much that we face an attack like 9/11. It is that Al Qaeda is adapting its methods in ways that oftentimes make it difficult to detect.”

Panetta’s statement does not take into account the ability to identify any terrorist whose goal it is to give up their life for a cause. Only when you are observing measurable emerging aggression can you identify a terrorist before they effect their violence.

The Center for Aggression Management discovered 15 years ago that there were two kinds of aggression: adrenaline-driven Primal Aggression and intent-driven Cognitive Aggression. The Primal Aggressor, in the extreme, is “red-faced and ready to explode,” the Cognitive Aggressor (the terrorist) is not. When a person, regardless of the culture, gender, education or position, rises to the level where their goal is to give up their life for a cause, their body looses animation and we see the “thousand-yard stare.” But it is more than this, the whole body and behavior looses animation and this is how we can identify them. The problem is that security and law enforcement are still looking for the Primal Aggressor (red-faced and ready to explode). Of course they are finding it difficult to detect these terrorist; a terrorist is a Cognitive Aggression; they are looking for the wrong person!

As our Government analyzes what went wrong regarding Abdulmatallab’s entrance into the United States, you can be assured that Al Qaeda is also analyzing how their plans went wrong. Who do you think will figure it out first . . . ?

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