Karachi blast: What’s security got to do with it?

Published: November 11, 2010

A Pakistani volunteer helps an injured woman at a bomb blast site PHOTO: AFP

The blast that has rocked Karachi’s grand Club Road and claimed (so far) 15 lives has sparked a familiar line of questions on news channels. The question the anchors ask is “Was there a security lapse” but the question they are really asking is “Who should we blame?” and thus who can we crucify on live TV.

After every blast the question emerges – was enough done? Where were the police? The rangers? Where was everyone when this bomb was mysteriously planted in random building X?

Somehow we expect that a platoon of police officers can prevent a bomb blast. But the fact, as we have so painfully seen, is that they can’t.

Even if we had 30 rangers patrolling each street round the clock attacks would happen. The police do not have x-ray vision and real life bad guys don’t wear red spandex jumpsuits and spout catchy “I’ll get you next time” type lines – so how are they supposed to spot them in a crowd?

What exactly is it that we expect security forces to do? There is no way that they can bullet proof the city. They cannot possibly, isolate and interview every suspicious looking character in Karachi. So, when we eagerly ask officials “Was there a security lapse?” what do we really think the answer will be?

When targets like the CID building and a police training school in Lahore are attacked there is often a greater need to ask how this was allowed to happen. After all if security forces cannot protect themselves how can we expect them to protect us?

The real question to ask here should perhaps be why was this building attacked in the first place. According to officials the CID received a threat yesterday, following a raid on in Pirabad which resulted in the arrest of six suspected members of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Tehreek-i-Taliban. Assertions have been made that this attack is a sign that militants are gaining strength in Karachi.

If militants do indeed have the ability to lash back at our security forces in righteous fits of violence shouldn’t our goal be to stop them in their tracks? Far before the metal detectors or security checkpoints. These militants are not going to stop by  our paltry efforts to “beef up security.”

Faria Syed

Faria Syed

A Karachi based multi-media journalist working on the web desk of The Express Tribune. Faria blogs about life in the news business and human rights.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.