16 April 2016
The devastating terrorist attack in Lahore last month has exposed the limits of Pakistan’s militarised counter-terrorism approach and signifies a revival of the Pakistani Taliban groups in Afghanistan. A comprehensive counter-terrorism policy and counter-terrorism cooperation with its neighbours are required if Pakistan is not to suffer from intermittent terrorist attacks.
The Easter suicide attack in Lahore on 27 March that left 72 people dead and almost 300 wounded was one of the most devastating atrocities of 2016. Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility. The attack exposed the limits of Pakistan’s militarised approach to counter-terrorism. It also pointed to a revival of the different Pakistani Taliban groups in Afghanistan which splintered in 2014 as a result of on-going military operation Zarb-e-Azb (Sword of the Prophet) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
By carrying out such a large-scale attack in Lahore—Pakistan’s heartland and political bastion of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)—the militants demonstrated that their operational capabilities remained intact despite suffering initial setbacks in the face of the nation-wide military operations. The attack also raised serious concerns about the capabilities of Pakistani civilian law enforcement agencies in countering such atrocities in the country’s major cities.
… Abdul Basit is an Associate Research Fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 18/04/2016