Govt’s inability to curb attacks despite ‘prior notice’ irks HRCP

Lahore, July 2, 2010: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm over the carnage at the shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bukhsh in Lahore late on Thursday night, believed to have been caused by suicide bombers.

A statement issued by HRCP on Friday said: “It is a matter of grave concern that despite repeated official claims of breaking the back of terrorists, they retain the ability to launch vicious terrorist attacks across the country almost at will. The assault demonstrates the potency of militant groups that the government incessantly repeats operate from sanctuaries in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Reports that intelligence agencies had alerted the police about terror threats against shrines in Lahore offer little consolation to the bereaved families though they certainly raise disturbing questions about the authorities’ complacency and flabbiness. Belated statements of prior knowledge of threats only add to the frustration the public feels over security agencies’ helplessness to stop the killings. Nor does bureaucrats’ rush to name external agents reflect on their efficiency or sense of responsibility.

Equally frustrating have been clerics’ stock statement that no Muslim can commit such atrocities. Instead of living in denial, the clerics need to reflect on the reasons for religious extremism in Pakistan and the possible consequences and their own contribution to the promotion of intolerance and the cult of violence.

Thursday night’s bombings strike at the heart of moderate Islam that most Pakistanis practise. Those still pretending that intolerance and extremism are not tearing at the heart of Pakistan are complicit in acts of terrorism and the loss of lives they cause.”

by: Dr Mehdi Hasan Chairperson

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