Maryam Nimaz' arrest

On Wednesday morning, in the heart of Pakistan’s city, Lahore, the people woke up to continue their daily activities. As the second day of the sacred month of Ramzan unfolded in the country, the majority of whom are Muslims, with a bomb explosion in the busiest and arguably the most revered place in Lahore, near Data Darbar. The Sufi shrine whose dedication to spreading Islam is proverbial. But the darkest aspect of terrorism is that it has no religion.

The attack took place in the wee hours of the morning, at least according to the local standards where the majority of the people stay awake during Ramzan until the Sehri times for the day-long fasting. The suicide attack, as it was initially suspected, claimed the lives of 11 people in which five were the security officials. As it was later confirmed by the Inspector General of Punjab Police, Arif Nawaz Khan, that it was a suicide attack carried out by a teenager of between 15 and 16 who did this with an explosive of 7 kilograms inside the jacket he was wearing. The boy appeared from a fruit shop before crossing over to the police van, which he aimed to destroy, and which he succeeded too (Omer, 2019; Shahzad, 2019). As soon as the dust and smoke settled, following the explosion, the people saw the lifeless bodies amid the pool of blood. Soon it was found out that Hizbul Ahrar was behind it, as the group itself claimed responsibility

The heinous attack took place just outside the women’s entrance of Data Darbar, whose shrine dates back to 11th Century. The shrine was also targeted in 2010 which resulted in the massacre of 40 innocent souls (Faraz, 2019). With this attack, terrorism revisits Lahore after over one year. The last time, it was in March 2018 which saw a terrorist attack in which a suicide bomber detonated himself in Raiwind, leaving 10 dead including 5 policemen. The latest attack, according to the IG of Punjab, is a targeted attack aimed at subverting the security officials (Chaudhry, 2019). Hizbul Ahrar too confirmed that this attack was carefully timed in order to avoid civilian casualty.

The window-shattering impact of the blast was loud and the 7 kilograms of explosive which also contained ball-bearings, meant for intensifying the damage, destroyed the police vehicle completely. It is strange that despite a known soft-target, the shrine has been attacked twice in nine years and it is unfortunate that terrorism, which once had gripped Pakistan in the last decade, and which had been largely controlled following the Army Public School carnage in December 2014, prompting a military-led National Action Plan against terrorism, has once again returned. The current security breach suggests that the administration needs to beef up security in order to avoid any such incidences in the future.

It is also noteworthy that the group which has claimed responsibility for the attack is also behind all the previous four attacks in Lahore since 2017. The irony of such incidences is the worthless condemnations of the act by the political leaders of the country (Shahzad, 2019).

It is a pity that to date, the police have been clueless about the majority of the suicide attacks. It not only raises fingers over the security capabilities of the Police and the concerned authorities (Shahzad, 2019), but also raises the questions of competency of the political leadership which has failed to find the amicable solution to the menace of terrorism in Pakistan. Instead of mere condemnations, the political administration should act accordingly and bring the elements responsible for the terrorist attacks to justice.