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Data Darbar carnage

IN a dastardly act of terrorism, five officials of the Punjab Elite Force and five civilians were martyred besides injuries to 30 others when a suicide bomber targeted police van posted at gate two of the famous Data Darbar in Lahore on Wednesday. According to Inspector-General Police Punjab, authorities had maintained a general security alert, but there had been no specific warning about a threat to the shrine.
The attack outside Data Darbar has sent a shock-wave among people and the incident is being condemned widely as it is one of the largest Sufi shrines in South Asia and is visited by thousands of people daily to pay tribute to Abul Hassan Ali Hajveri, popularly called Data Ganj Bakhsh. Though police van and not the shrine was targeted but the attack at the site of the shrine of a Sufi saint who preached love, affection, peace and tolerance is abhorring. There is regular security and check points at the shrine complex after dozens of people were killed and injured in twin blasts in 2010. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has given instructions for an inquiry into the attack and things would become clear as to the motives and who was involved but the incident highlights two things – some forces are active to destabilize Pakistan and militants retain the capability to hit different targets. Pakistan has, no doubt, achieved remarkable success in the war against terror due to an all-encompassing crackdown by Pakistan Army and civilian law enforcing agencies and normal life is going on in parts of the country. The incidents of terrorism have sharply declined but it is quite obvious that they are still able to plan and execute their plans even against highly fortified targets. Instructions were already issued to police and district administrations across Pakistan to exercise maximum vigil especially during Ramadan but fruitful results would only accrue if there is proper coordination among federal and provincial authorities and institutions concerned. The possibility of involvement of foreign hand cannot be ruled out and it is responsibility of the security agencies to expose such conspiracies and foil them.