We must not be oblivious to the fact that beside this and the Army Public School (APS) incident last year, there have been over 900 school attacks since 2009, depicting a dangerous situation for our children to face. The security of schools, to date, remains a huge concern for the authorities despite steps to improve it. Condemnations, as expected, have followed this attack. The fallen students, a teacher, security guards and security personnel have been deemed martyrs, maybe rightly so, as our educational institutions have indeed become battlegrounds for our scholars. But does it really do any justice to those who had no intention to be martyred? They were there to study and become future professionals, on whom many a hope was pinned. Have their lives been taken in vain?
With a harrowing incident like this, the interior minister has become almost invisible as he remains incapacitated in issuing statements on his own. He even feels powerless to take action against Lal Masjid’s Maulana Aziz who has been involved in propagating jihadist mentality, justifying militancy and even in having links with terrorist groups, including Islamic State (IS). So far, banned militant groups are working with other names, and hence are not easily detected. Moreover, organisations like the Quetta Shura, Haqanni network and Jamatud Dawa are considered strategic assets that are hardly touched. The problem lies in their uncontrolled networking with other proscribed organisations, resulting in militancy that cannot be resisted by our security agencies.
The real weapon is not the superficial policies of enhancing school security; in fact, it is better coordination and liaison between different security agencies to prevent an attack from taking place. There are various security agencies working on the ground who have links with militant organisations and know well in advance their intention or next moves through tips they receive from their paid informants. But it appears that every such agency is working on its own agenda, hence lacking cohesion and a central command.
The writer tweets at @zeebahashmi and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org