Awami National Party candidate for PK 78, Haroon Bilour and 19 other people were martyred in a suicide bomb blast and 63 injured when the party rally was targeted in congested area of Peshawar city on Tuesday night. The attacker detonated his explosive built near the vehicle of ANP leader as he approached the rally organized to promote his election campaign in Yakatoot area of the provincial capital.
The violence in the electioneering for the upcoming polls was not unexpected keeping in view the regional situation and polarized political atmosphere. National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had already warned terrorist attacks on some politicians during election campaign and had informed the provincial governments to provide foolproof security to them. Senior ANP leader Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour was also coming to address the corner meeting and family had lost a leading political figure Bashir Bilour in suicide bomb attack a few years ago. Proper security arrangements should have made by the local administration and law enforcing agencies for this unfortunate political event.
Caretaker Interior Minister Azam Khan had chaired a meeting at NACTA Head Quarters to discuss and streamline terrorism prevention measures. While briefing the minister, Director General NACTA Dr. Suleman said the main objective of the meeting was to review and coordinate the security efforts keeping in view elections and its arrangements. He revealed that the organisation had received some very serious reports on the basis of 12 threat alerts were issued to all provincial governments.
Despite the alerts of NACTA and the bare fact that ANP leadership had been targeted by terrorists in the past no appropriate security arrangements were made for Yaktoot corner meeting of the party. Ironically, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in his reaction to this tragedy said that left of the centre political parties are being kept out of the election campaign. Likewise the PML-N Quid Nawaz Sharif has made a political scoring and said that it is the result of withdrawing security from leading politicians.
The Pehawar terrorist attack has once again confirmed this bitter fact that the terrorist outfits still have the capability to carry out carnage of innocent people and the use of force alone can not pull the country out of the quagmire of extremism and terrorism which has been created by the political culture created and nourished by both the elected and non-elected governments over the past four and decades. Again it was the political class which failed to play its role in the implementation of most important points of National Action Plan. The weeping and crying of a senior PPP leader Raza Rabbani during voting on 21st Amendment for the formation Military Courts for the trial of terrorists was a clear manifestation of lack of seriousness about tackling the menace of terrorism.
NACTA has not been strengthened and meager allocation in the current year budget reflects the lack of ruling political elite towards rooting out the scourge of terrorism. Justice system has not been reformed and made compatible with contemporary needs. Inland security laws have not been formulated and enacted. Seminaries reforms have been put on the back burner. National narrative Paigham-e-Pakistan is on paper, ignoring serious efforts to change the mind set that breeds extremism. The ruling feudal and mercantile classes have accentuated social injustice which compels the youth towards negative tendencies. It is high time that political leadership realizes the gravity of situation and removes the factors that lures the youth to extremism.