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 Liberty is Security
 
A report on the Pakistani security collapse
The Post, Pakistan Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Khalil Ahmad
The reports following the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team point in the direction that police’s failure is symptomatic of the system’s failure. These reports further confirm the fact that in the case of Liberty Roundabout attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team, on the part of Pakistani police it was not a security lapse; but a security collapse, writes Khalil Ahmad in The Post.

March 3 was the day when whole of Pakistan refused shelter to the visiting members of the Sri Lankan cricket team. Viewers watched live air-lifting of the guest cricketers by a Pakistan Army helicopter, and news was they would be flown back to their home country without delay. Was that so insecure in whole of Lahore? Or, throughout Pakistan? Why the last line of Pakistani defense had to come into action? Why the cricketers had to be transported to Pakistan Air Force base from the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, already cordoned off by police? The same evening a chartered plane took them to Sri Lanka.

 

The cricket team was in Pakistan since they had been promised Presidential-style security. That quelled ICC’s reservations also. They had already played a number of matches in Karachi, and one in Lahore on January 24. It was this 3rd day of the 2nd test in Lahore, where they might have felt safe, that they were ambushed. It must have come to them as a surprise: suddenly near the Liberty Roundabout they found themselves under siege, and an intense attack was launched with automatic weapons that in minutes killed five to six commandos of Elite Force from the Punjab Police, and injured a number of them including some Sri Lankan players. Two other ordinary citizens died whose death caused no ripples in media also.

 

Let’s try to put it into the context: Pakistan has been transformed into a country which in no sense is meant for us the ordinary people. Here the most an ordinary citizen fears are two things: criminals and government functionaries, and now add the terrorists to this list. This states the helplessness of the hapless citizens: one goes to police to seek protection from the criminals, and what he finds there is the final coercion against which he has no door to knock at for justice. Criminality and government run in unison.

 

Under such circumstances, if one is not connected or does not connect himself to any influential person or group, he already lives a forsaken life. It is just fortune that he lives safe and sound till he dies a natural death. That is why those who are far away from the fringes of the elite classes who enjoy a divine clout in Pakistan, those who belong to the various layers of middle classes, and those who are perfectly the wretched of the earth, always dream/aspire to move up to a higher ladder where they could find a bit of status and protection by virtue of their nearness to the divine elites of Pakistan.

 

For that, one legal way is to join the Civil Services of Pakistan via an annual competitive examination. This helps one get admitted to the bureaucratic rung of the elites’ circle. Even qualified doctors holding M.B.B.S. degree run for that. Every year near about two hundred aspirants are fetched up. In view of about 3 % annual increase in the population, it is just nothing. Almost all of the ordinary citizens are thus left at the mercy of criminals and government functionaries. Some of them try to find that social protection by getting entries into various government services out of which police and its allied departments are prized most.

 

In this context, all the policemen inducted in police, from top to bottom, practically behave as law unto themselves, and not as the agents of law. Whatever be the objectives they are trained for, they never act as the custodians and enforcers of law; rather as the greatest violators of law. More than criminals, they are at the top of those government functionaries who coerce ordinary citizens most. Most of the times, they work hand in glove with the criminals. That is why they are not able to fight the criminals honestly professionally. How tragic and at the same time ridiculous that more than two dozen policemen, and note that they were commandos, could not target any of the attackers. Not a single attacker was killed or injured. Also, no one was arrested from the scene. They did not flee. All of them disappeared showing no signs of haste or worry.

 

Shouldn’t the commandos have p

This article was published in the The Post on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. Please read the original article here.
Author : Dr Ahmad is the director of Alternate Solutions Institute in Lahore, Pakistans first free market think-tank.
Tags- Find more articles on - Islamic fundamentalists | Pakistan | terrorism

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