Who Will Stop This Mayhem in Pakistan?

Posted on April 1, 2008
Filed Under >Deeda-e-Beena, Law & Justice, Politics, Society
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They are happening everyday but receive attention only as news of the day. Next day there is a new bombing and another report. Here is a sampling of headlines:

“…..(number).. died.” “Head of the suicide Bomber found.” “President – PM (and other “notable Leaders”) condemn the dastardly attack.” “President – PM issue strict orders to catch and punish the culprit/s (he is already dead and they have his head to identity him!) “Government shall pay one Lakh Rupees for each dead and fifty thousand for each injured (thereby admitting liability, its guilt and negligence.Whose money is being used?)” “Law enforcement agencies targeted.” “Bystanders, women and children also killed.” “Agencies report…(number)…… suicide bombers entering / entered …xyz…. city. (They know when, where and how many are coming so why can’t they be caught?) ”

Suicide Blast in Lahore Pakistan

So far, over ninety suicide-bomber’s heads have been collected and the investigators remain clueless about who they are. The bombers do not identify themselves nor do they divulge their cause or demands, so how do you proceed? There are some assumptions as to who they are and where they come from. No one seems to know for sure, because if known, it would have been an easy job to root them out at source. It is a vicious cycle.

The senseless killings go on indiscriminately and each of us is a potential victim. You have to be the wrong person at the wrong place and time.

All that we hear is: “How sad.” “How bad.” “The government is doing nothing.”

It is the ordinary citizens who are being killed but not a word from them about what can they do to protect their own lives.
The government, the media and the people themselves are silent on what each of them can and should be doing to subvert this mayhem. There is no evidence even of any serious and systematic thinking proceeding on these lines. All the three parties are remiss.

The Government is first and foremost responsible for the safety of all its citizens. In this it has miserably failed. Granted, terrorists and suicide bombers act in secrecy. Also granted, that it is extremely difficult to prevent a determined terrorist from acting. But, by now there must have been enough knowledge available about their profiles, backgrounds, origins, modus-operandi, gadgetry, materials and equipment used, to greatly minimise their activities. In reality, both the frequency and intensity of their attacks has increased.

If the government really wants that the people participate and help it in curbing this menace, then it has to go out of its way and actively seek partners. It must do a massive job of informing, educating, and training the public as well as the media about what to look for and what to do if they encounter potential miscreants. Sadly, even those responsible are not capable of protecting themselves. They themselves are dying as the main targets of these attacks, taking with them us the citizens as collateral. To quote Plato: “Who will guard the Guardians?” The police must also radically change its image and working methods so that people are not afraid of approaching them and consequently themselves become victims of the investigation, which they experience everyday.

The entire media, in particular TV and Radio, have the major responsibility to raise awareness by analysing the incidents which currently they are merely reporting on. They can investigate and report on common strands between different occurrences. They have to analyse in depth by looking beyond the news story and then disseminate the experiences, knowledge and suggested courses of action – regularly and repeated frequently. Even if the Government does what it should as has been suggested above, the role and responsibility to propagate it further would uniquely rest with the media. I am not suggesting here the commercial advertisement of the Governmental handouts, but as a public service. They should also remember that they could themselves become a target of these wayward attackers so this will also be a service to themselves.
Finally and last but not the least, self protection and preservation is everybody’s responsibility. Don’t we do it every day and all the time? Even when crossing the road, we look to the Right and the Left. I have seen in both the western and developing countries that communities organize their “Crime Watch” systems.

Bomb Blast in Islamabad at Luna CapreseAll Governments are notoriously incapable, in-efficient, slow and mostly re-active. In this, the globally unfolding twin phenomena of terrorism and suicide-bombings, no government anywhere has been able to tackle them conclusively. So, for our own sake we can not entrust our lives solely in the Government’s hands. In the end it will be us who are the victims. Here are five things as a minimum, we could and must do:

1) Know your neighbours, cooperate and communicate with each other to secure your surroundings.
2) Familiarise with the geography of your surroundings at home and work and watch out for any lurking strangers. Even the neighbourhood dogs bark upon seeing an unknown face. Why can’t we show similar vigilance?
3) Be watchful of any strange and unusual activity taking place around you, take cognizance and act.
4) Get organized in your neighbourhood and know whom and where to report and reach for help in case of trouble or emergency.
5) These bombings are largely urban phenomena, where people unknown to each other come together to shop, work and visit. It therefore becomes the responsibility of the shop-keepers, managers and others who are present there all the time to be vigilant and be active to secure their own work places, businesses and surroundings.

This is something that affects all of us and collectively we have to act to tackle it.

21 responses to “Who Will Stop This Mayhem in Pakistan?”

  1. Deeda-i-Beena says:

    Thank God we have not witnessed a major bombing for some days now and hopefully we will not see the likes of them again.However, it is not over yet as news of sporadic terrorist attacks in the Northern areas has not stopped.

    A main thought behind my contributing this Post is and remains in suggesting some steps The GOVERNMENT, The MEDIA and us The PEOPLE can and must undertake in such situations to counter the Mayhem.

    I invite all the ATP readers to contibute ideas and suggestions about what more could be done.

  2. krash says:

    The mayhem has stopped. Haven’t you noticed?

  3. Wow says:

    “Who will stop it? The answer has to be INSTITUTIONS. When there is a strong, honest, and free judiciary, when the ministers, etc know that they serve at the pleasure of the Pakistani people, and when the common man is not afraid to take on the wealthy and the powerful in his fight for justice, then this stuff will clean itself up.”

    Bravo, well put.

  4. Wow says:

    One of the most amazing things has been the absolute lack of coverage of the new government’s declared changes of foreign policy towards the militant problem.

    All we see instead is the insistence on looking to the pasts of Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari. The Prime Minister, btw, is not either of them. It’s Yusuf Raza Gillani. Just in case you didn’t get the memo.

    Our politicians finally start SOUNDING like they know what’s going on (and not too long ago, we were all desperate for even that…), and people can’t be bothered to care.

    This wary, cynical worldview is very cute coming from coddled internet geeks, but it gets old.

  5. Ali Dada says:

    seal the borders, monitor them.

    Train the police more rigoursly, equip them heavily.
    One thing that strikes me is the lack of professionality and numbers of police officers in Pakistan.

    Where are the survielance cameras? Where are speedy trials?

    Why no major police presence in the affected regions?

    Besides this, factories should be built in affected areas to provide employment.

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