Dial 5 for Fear: Lahore, Kohat & Peshawar get attacked
Dial Five for Fear: Pakistan has seen a series of attacks today – 3 in Lahore, 1 in Kohat, 1 in Peshawar – all that unfolded within the space of hours on Thursday. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, which has claimed responsibility for the Lahore attacks, targeted three buildings: the Federal Intelligence Agency building, the Manawan Police Training Academy and the Elite Forces Headquarters. The FIA and Manawan buildings have previously been attacked before. In Kohat and Peshawar, two car bombs exploded. The one in Kohat was near the Cantt Police Station and the Peshawar one was in the Officers Colony.
With police and army soldiers responding to the series of attacks – they did manage to have the situation under control within a number of hours (as opposed to the GHQ attack on Saturday which took over 18 hours to resolve) – the buildings were cleared out. 10 of the attackers – who fired gunshots and lobbed hand grenades – were killed in the three buildings. (4 at Manawan, 1 at FIA and 5 at the Elite Forces HQ).
With 18 people dead in the Lahore attacks, 11 in Kohat and 1 in Peshawar, this has been a very bloody day for a country. More importantly, the words ‘SECURITY FAIL’ seem to be flashing over and over again in my head since the facilities were supposed to be heavily guarded and the country’s government officials have been saying repeatedly that they expected more terrorist attacks in the country.
But the security lapses are a question for another day, one that will probably never get answered. After all, the Interior Minister of the country – who received 7.3 million rupees for travel allowances for his visits abroad – doesn’t seem to have anything else to say but “law enforcement agencies are fully alert ” and “terrorists will conduct more strikes”.
Meanwhile, several rumours went around during the Lahore attacks. One of them was that the attackers on the Bedian HQ had three women among them – quite possibly a first for Pakistan (my first thought was of Leila Khaled, for some weird reason). That rumour has beeen denied, but if it is true it may just bode to be yet another tactic in TTP’s bag of tricks, and one that doesn’t bode well. The other was that there was a hostage situation, but that also turned out to be false.
In any case, what’s more ironic is that subscribers of Pakistani newspapers The News, The Nation and Daily Times woke up this morning to see this on the front page (disclaimer: its an advertisement)
As part of the 170 million, I really think my life may have just gone down the drain.