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EDITORIAL: All those involved in the Lahore blast have been arrested, thanks to the concerned agencies’ concerted hard work. The question who engineered the FATF refusal to remove Pakistan from the Grey List and simultaneously subjected Pakistan to cyber-attack and hired goons to carry out the blast is no more a secret now has a very clear answer: it was India. A fuller record of the entire saga of deadly blast and involved persons’ credentials were presented at a joint news conference addressed by federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, National Security Council Advisor Dr Moeed Yusuf and Punjab IGP Inam Ghani in Islamabad on Sunday. Dr Yusuf said the forensic analysis of the equipment, including the telephones, used in the blast showed the main mastermind and all handlers had links to India. However, he refused to give more information, saying further details could adversely affect the course of ongoing investigation. He also told reporters that Pakistan had presented to the international community a dossier last November which contained details including information about terror financing, bank accounts, telephone numbers and calls indicating network linkages and terror rackets run by India. Now all of it has played out in actuality on the ground. According to IGP Inam Ghani, Eid Gul, who carried out the blast, is originally from Afghanistan but now fully assimilated to be a Punjabi.

The question whether all this information about Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan will help stop recurrence of such blasts has no easy answer. But quite a few lessons are expected to be learnt by the concerned anti-terror agencies, the authorities tasked to present Pakistan’s point of view to the world at large and to see that the expected inflows of Afghan refugees don’t take the role of hired assassins. One is definitely worried over the failure of relevant quarters who did not present Pakistan as the severe victim of terrorism for none of its faults. It is increasingly clear the world is becoming divided in the wake of the US-led Quad’s determination to counterbalance China’s phenomenal rise as a superpower with Pakistan happens to be latter’s ‘iron friend’. One would be only showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement if he or she believes that what happened at the FATF platform last month will not happen again. But the message sent abroad should be that terrorism is not a political issue; it is a crime against humanity because the essential elements of ‘crimes against humanity’ are that the specified prohibited acts are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack. The government of Pakistan is therefore required to step up efforts to bring the international human rights organisations, world media and opinion-makers into the loop. There is then the work cut out for the Press sections of our missions abroad. More and more persons from these non-government outfits should be invited to see for themselves the harsh realities on the ground in Pakistan.

Last but not least, the emerging uncertainty in Afghanistan unfortunately portends India’s growing hostility towards Pakistan. The Lahore blast that clearly shows India’s involvement in this terrorism act is a case in point. The situation, therefore, requires people and the government of Pakistan to remain vigilant as dealing with incidents of terrorism is likely to be long haul. Hopefully, the recent decision to bring all anti-terrorism departments under a unified command will serve the purpose – as it did in this case.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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