A deadly suicide attack on the Rangers headquarters in Karachi killed three paramilitary soldiers and a civilian on Wednesday. The attack happened just when the prime minister was extending another olive branch to the terrorists in his long awaited speech in the National Assembly. The suicide bomber, just like in previous such attacks, had a relatively easy time exploding himself. The bomber walked in through the check post and refused to stop. The soldiers on duty intercepted him but by then it was too late. The man blew himself up instantly on resistance. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Suicide terrorism has been the most successful tactic to inflict terror-related crimes. A man with a bomb attached to his vest is difficult to detect until he detonates the explosives. This theory, though, has been proved wrong by countries that had successfully fought against the scourge of terrorism. The 2007 bomb blasts in the UK prompted the International Association of Chiefs of Police to come up with techniques to prevent the suicide bomber from reaching his target. The solution recommended was shooting the suspected bomber in the head. The technique holds out hope for countries like Pakistan where absolutely no mechanism is in place to stop the living bomb from creating mayhem. Our standing operating procedures to combat suicide bombers are archaic and based on a response strategy. Although emergency response agencies must be prepared to respond effectively to suicide bombing, the greatest payoffs lie in preventing such attacks. And it goes without saying that for a smart mechanism a mentoring and threat assessment programme should precede the proactive preventive measures to detect and prevent suicide bombing attempts. Israel has been able to foil 80 percent of suicide operations through counter-intelligence. The government has to enhance the capacity of its intelligence agencies in order to disrupt the network that organizes and supports such actions. For preventing suicide bombing, the first layer of security should be fortifying the infrastructure potentially vulnerable to attacks and protecting both soft and hard targets. In our case the law enforcement personnel, both from the civilian and army cadres, and their offices are in the line of fire. The second layer of security is about stopping the suicide bomber from exploding the bomb. Snipers could be handy for that. Any person, as happened in the Rangers headquarters bombing, who refuses to stop when challenged and is suspected to be a terrorist should be shot in the head then and there.
These and many such mechanisms have to be adopted immediately to counter the threat posed by suicide terrorism. *
At the Jamil Omar Memorial Lecture in Lahore on Wednesday, March 25th, Akbar Zaidi delivered a ...