Collective failure
[Dawn] WAKE-UP calls are rare in a country as violent as Pakistain. But as desensitised to bloodshed as we have become, a single day in which well over 100 people die in several incidents of terrorism and assassination across the country is impossible to get through without thinking about where we are headed as a nation. Thursday laid out, in gory detail, the realities that we collectively face today: the range of communities under threat, including Shias, security forces and the police, journalists, religious organizations, Fata's rustics, and those simply caught in the crossfire. How widespread the threat is, from Bloody Karachi
...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous...
to Quetta to Swat
...a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistain, located 99 mi from Islamabad. It is inhabited mostly by Pashto speakers. The place has gone steadily downhill since the days when Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat...
in a single day. How many causes are being fought for with violence, from sectarian hatred and religious differences to separatism and ethnic or tribal feuds. And, most importantly, how underprepared we remain despite many unfortunate incidents to learn from.

Thursday's events pointed both to how much we know and to how much we don't. The motive and actors behind the Swat attack on the Tableeghi Jamaat and the shooting to death in Bloody Karachi of a number of labourers from the tribal areas remain unclear, demonstrating how varied the threats are. But the kabooms against Hazara Shias in Quetta were simply the deadliest of a string of attacks on the community in and around the city over the past year. And consecutive kabooms have taken place before, with those rushing to the scene, including media persons, having been caught in previous incidents of second kabooms closely following a first at the same place. Swat still contains a heavy military and police presence that has been there since the 2009 operation. Baloch grievances have been lingering for years and attacks by Baloch nationalists on the Frontier Corps are old news. So while some threats are new and unexplained, others have by now developed a pattern, stem from a known problem or take place in areas that are heavily guarded.

Thursday's events were enabled, then, by massive failures on the part a range of institutions, from the government and the media to the military, the police and intelligence agencies. No bold political solutions for Balochistan
...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it...
have been worked out. No decisive military action has been launched in North Wazoo. Intelligence gathering is inadequate and poor coordination between intelligence agencies and the police means attacks are rarely prevented. No sustained national consensus has been built against terrorism and violent extremism, for which the media is also to blame. How long can Pakistain survive in the face of such a complete failure to fend off internal threats?
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-12