As I write this, 4 days have passed since the fateful day of Muharram 10, the Ashura, when an allegedly suicidal blast ripped through MA Jinnah Road, Karachi. The blast left around 45 dead and 80 wounded but what happened afterwards, and was initially termed as show of anger by protesters and later as work of arsonists, damaged the business community of Karachi beyond repair. With more than 3,000 shops, godowns and offices burned along with banks and vehicles, accumulated losses may reach to billions of rupees, making thousands unemployed for so many days to come.
The question, for now, is not who did it. And in any case the question is futile to ask, because the government can pick a name from random, from a list of select adversaries, ranging from the Taliban, India, Blackwater, Foreign-hands and Non-state actors. The question that everybody should ask the government and its extensions is how successful they are in preserving the safety and sanctity of the land and its people. While the drones pound the tribal territory, killing more innocent civilians than alleged terrorists in each raid, blasts and terror attacks have created havoc and terror from Khyber to Karachi. The government is yet unable to declare the real culprit and has miserably failed to counter the menace of terrorism.
There were terrorist activities in Karachi on two consecutive days before the Ashura, first a car bomb blast in Paposh and then a gutter bomb blast in Qasba Colony. So, what extra security precautions the LEAs had for the Ashura procession? And, even if they were unable to provide security, where were the police, rangers, the Anti Riot Force and other security personnel when terrorists started to torch buildings and burn vehicles? What happened to the Sniper Squads installed on roof tops of buildings surrounding the procession’s route?
According to initial reports and observations chemicals, probably RDX, were used in the fires. Surely the mourners of Ashura Procession were not carrying that. From the looks of it, the burning and looting activities post Ashura Blast are very much similar to what happened on December 27, 2007, the day Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Or, the attack on Tahir Plaza which left many, including lawyers, burned alive in the building.
Salis bin Perwaiz of the News has raised some very pertinent questions which should be taken seriously and echoed across the country. People of Pakistan need answers. NOW!
However, People of Pakistan should not expect much from their “elected” leaders, government and the Law Enforcement Agencies, because they are even unable to protect themselves. On one hand the high profile Army officials get killed like sitting ducks, police training camps are attacked every now and then, and on the other the ministers and officials travel with dozens of escort vehicles and security on the streets of Pakistan, as if they are passing through enemy territory.
The investigations of Karachi Ashura Blast will go to trash like so many incidents before it. We are not going to learn who really did this and what were the reasons behind that.