Terrorism: Starting a Search for Solutions

Posted on February 9, 2010
Filed Under >Deeda-e-Beena, Disasters, Law & Justice, Society
23 Comments
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Deeda-e-Beena

The menace is growing to awesome proportions while efforts for finding solutions are miniscule. How could we ever win this fight? The Nation is at war and needs to act at war footing as a whole. Post-factum izhar-e-muzzamat is all one hears from those who are responsible to deal with it! You and I can do it too!

The Government, the Media and the People themselves – its singular victims, are woefully remiss 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 by all the pundits, the political leadership, the so called thinkers, columnists and even the self-proclaimed “Think Tanks”. All of them are defaulting.

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

If the government really desires that the people participate and help in curbing this menace, it has to go all out and actively seek partners among people. It must do a massive job of informing, educating, and training firstly themselves, thereafter facilitating the public and the media about what to look for and what to do if they encounter potential miscreants. Sadly, even those responsible for our safety are not capable of protecting even themselves. They are dying as the first targets of these attackers, taking us the citizens along, as their collateral.

The police and others in public safety business must also radically change their professional approach and working methods. They should themselves learn to understand their methods and thereafter to effectively deal with them.

The Police must also adopt community approaches and radically improve their own image, so that the people are not afraid of approaching them. Growing apathy is killing – presently the person reporting the crime himself becomes victim of the investigation. This must stop.

It is not enough asking the people to report suspicious activity and persons. Which Organization is to be approached, its Location in each local area and Phone numbers must be advertised and painted all over the neighbourhoods. The Police must also promptly respond when approached. The mushrooming Private Security Guards who are seen everywhere, must be fully incorporated in a network to be organised for communal security.

At least Three specific steps must be immediately taken uniformly throughout Pakistan. It will then reduce the problem to a level where the existing law-enforcement agencies would be in a position to deal with it.

(1) Uniforms similar to those issued by Government are increasingly used by attackers. Even the Private Security Guards look like Soldiers and the Police. All the Private Security Guards throughout Pakistan should wear a single, distinguishable colour uniforms which are visible from a distance. Bright yellow is being suggested here. They should not display any Badges or Ribbons. Their Companies and employees should all be Registered with the Ministry of Interior. Their name and NIC number prominently engraved on their uniforms. They should all be incorporated in each community security plan to be organised by the local administration with the participation and knowledge of all the citizens in the community.

(2) Stolen and unknown ownership Vehicles and Motorbikes are increasingly being utilised in bombings and attacks, carrying fake, tempered and illegally produced registration plates. It is not just the terrorists and other criminals who follow this. Many in the civil society are unwittingly contributing to this crime by displaying Registration Plates of their own creation, without authorisation. It is a crime to use non-prescribed plates and temper or reproduce officially issued plates. This practice aids the criminals and must STOP. Violators should be heavily penalised including impounding of such vehicles. No Exceptions Whatsoever.

(3) Mobile phones have been increasingly used as detonators by terrorists and instruments of speedy, real time communications in committing crimes. NICs of individuals are illegally used without their knowledge to obtain SIMs connections. The PTA has a verification system that tells an individual which company has issued how many SIMs in one’s name. Firstly, the mobile phone service providers must have their records perfected. It is also the duty of every individual to ensure that illegal SIMs are not being issued in their names. Otherwise, both are partners in terrorism. People can verify their SIMs by either going to: http://www.pta.gov.pk/668/index.html or contact the phone company, seeking directions for further action.

(B) The entire media, in particular TV,Radio and Urdu press, have the major responsibility to raise awareness by analysing the incidents and not merely reporting upon them. They should investigate and report on common strands between different acts of terrorism. They must analyse in depth by looking beyond the news story and then disseminate the experiences, knowledge and suggested courses of action – regularly. These broadcasts, articles and news items must be repeated frequently to reach those who missed them earlier.

Theirs’ is a very powerful and expensive tool. Even if the Government does what it should as has been suggested above, the role and responsibility to propagate it further would remain with the media. The TV/Radio channels and newspapers must do that as a public service. They themselves become easy targets of these very attackers. Doing this civic service can also be a service to them.

(C) Finally, the people themselves. Self protection and preservation is everybody’s desire. Don’t we do it every day and all the time? Even before crossing the road, we look to the Right and the Left. Communities themselves organize their own “Crime Watch” systems both in the western and developing countries.
All Governments are notoriously incapable, in-efficient, slow and mostly re-active. No government in the world can fully contain terrorism and suicide-bombings. 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 six things as a minimum, we should and must do:

1) Know our neighbours, cooperate and communicate with each other to secure your surroundings.
2) Familiarise with the geography of our 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 us. Take charge and act.
4) Get organized in our neighbourhoods. Know whom to contact, where to report, and reach for help in case of trouble or emergency.
5) Secure our work place. These bombings are largely an urban phenomena, where people unknown to each other come together to shop, work and visit. It therefore also becomes the responsibility of the shop-keepers, the office managers and others who are present there all the time to be vigilant of strangers and be active to secure their own work places, businesses and surroundings. Act fast, safely and expeditiously and also involve law-enforcement officials.
6) In the event of an attack or bombing don’t crowd the place, stay away and let the professionals function. The gathering public not only hinders the work of medics, relief workers and police but can also facilitate escape by the criminals. Moreover, in the event of a repeat attack OR gas and electrical explosions, those in the crowd would become ready victims.

Let us all make a beginning here. Other readers are invited to contribute additional and better approaches to improve upon the initial suggestions made here. Amen.

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23 responses to “Terrorism: Starting a Search for Solutions”

  1. Aman says:

    Jab tawako he uthh gayee Ghalib, Kyun kisi say gilla kare koi.

  2. Ammar says:

    In these disheartening times the nation strives to find comfort in music, arts and literature. Such activities should be revived it will break the shackles of fear and portray the true colors of Pakistan in the international arena. The choice is ours we can either shut our self’s behind close door or come what may face the evils of extremism by raising the voice of peace, modernity and love

  3. Watan Aziz says:

    True.

    This post was a ‘fasana’. Devoid of reality.

    On the list of top 100 items, these were 89, 90 and 91.

    Disappointed; for a student of Iqbal and Faiz, should have done better.

    Perhaps next time.

    Hint: Any list that does not start with justice and equity is not worth the paper it is written on.

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