Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pakistan Happenings....March 2010.


As a powerful and deadly bombing occured in a densely populated residential area of Lahore, in Pakistani Punjab, many questions are comng to the fore. As is evident from the video CCTV footage cleverly put together in a documentary film form by a Pakistani, the attackers are well  trained, focussed suicide bombers , who use all the attack and assault tactics such as using automatic weapons, camouflaged vehicles, scaring away the guards and then attacking with ramming the vehicle on target, which in this case is the intellegence office of a Pakistani security agency. As I was researching for an article on terrorism, including bomb blasts in Lahore, strangely on the same day, a powerful bomb attack occured in Lahore at a safe house of a security agency. According to Dawn newspaper which contains many reports and an editorial on this tragic and harrowing incident,  the residents and neighbors had objected many times since the last bomb attacks to the presence of such an organization in a residential and densely populated area. As I went through the news items and videos of previous Lahore bombing attacks I was shocked and angry to see the apathy, cheekiness, negligence and sheer non-chalance of the present Punjab government and especially the interior ministry to keep quiet on these deadly issues and take business as usual. Last year , in May , a similar attack was targetting an intellegence agency premesis. After about a few weeks the government stopped giving any news of the culprits and what it was doing to actually to remove such organizations from densely populated areas. Some may say that this is the work of Federal government. My argument is that because of the elected governments bieng in place, their attitude should have been more people friendly. As reported, so many people including women and children who were far away have been injured and even died. The houses that were located in vicinity are completely destroyed and the residents either dead or critically injured. It seems that the Punjab government does not realize the seriousness of the situation. It is so far apparently, unprepared, ill informed and untrained to handle and administer a special situation that the populous cities in Pakistan are facing. The legislators do not realize or are not smart enough to understand the demands of modern , terrorist infilterated urban areas administration and security. They are more relaxed discussing useless issues such as allowing polygamy to fat , sexually adventurous men especially in Punjab. So far it appears that inspite of massive , popular support PML-N is behaving in the same way, that the government will provide plots, permits, factory deals to its supporters and everyone of them will live happily ever after.
Their abolition with insistence of the local governments shows this mindset of punishing all the others who are not in the party. How are they prepared to handle this situation. The business of "Business as usual " will define the "bright " and safe future of the people of Punjab! The  PPP government is bieng criticised for non-governance . Is this the kind of "intellegent" governance the Punjab government is offering as an alternative.
Safety and security is a foremost concern now for the people of Lahore. This should be proactively handled. I do hope that the ever agile, and nightly touring "Khadim e Ala" aka Shahbaz Sharif sahib, spends his energy and precious time in taking some reorientation and training in how to fight terror and plan and deliver safety to his "poor Riyaya " too ! His plate will be overfull as he will have to become an expert and deliver too!
Meanwhile the sasta atta scheme and the anecdotal bandaging the wounds of raped, molested, beaten and thrown out poor women and children will remain an activity to be reported in daily facebook and twitter updates ala Salman Taseer, the most modern governor of Punjab. Punjab leaders rise as stars in four man shows, and others. bright shining , secure future.Sorry I am sounding so bitter, but can you stand the pictures of women wailing on dead all around in a beautiful city that boasts of monumental buildings, beautiful gardens and most beautiful culture.

The other sad and shocking story is the girl students bieng burnt and suffocated in their hostel premesis in Rawalpindi. The sad part is that the CDA should have inspected and enforced their rules regarding fire, emergeny evacuation and safety , which are there in all bye-laws both for buildings and residential public buildings. CDA should have also updated its manuals, emergency procedures, evacuation excercises as we all face terrorism in Pakistan today. Their attitude is also the same, giving sanctions to buildings, plots and construction. safety and disaster does not seem to be on their schedule. The loss to the parents , families is immense but the loss to Pakistan is also great as so many bright young girls lost their lives. After the moon market incidence in Lahore and the Marriot Hotel fire in Islamabad, where many including a distinguished Romanian diplomat was burnt alive, the authorities in Rawalpindi and Islamabad should have checked all public buildings like hostels, hotels, hospitals and also large residential apartment complexes. I am sure even now the attitude will remain business as usual and we will need some foreignor to wake us up to taking simple measures and checks to ensure public safety.

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