Lahore is burning

[reportedly] 27 dead and dozens injured – no respite for us.

Once again, in less than a month Lahore has been ravaged by terrorists. Who said that Pakistan was a hub of terrorism – we are now the greatest victim of terror and militancy. The residents of Lahore are scared and the vibrant city seems to be enveloped in a mist of uncertainty and fear.

The Mumbai and later Lahore 3/3 model seems to be in vogue now. Extremely well trained commandos, with sophisticated weapons and not afraid of death are let loose on the society. The media is hysterical as well and following the Indian media’s cue[s] is now a participant and embedded in the so-called operation.

A young terrorist, apparently twenty years old and definitely Central Asian looking has been captured while several others have been killed and few have have blown themselves in a typical suicidal fashion. The attack is significant as it happened at a Police training centre. The strategy is clear: to decapacitate the security appratus and to dismantle the civilian security system.

The army has faced similar resistance in the tribal belt and the recent wiping of civilian administration. In Lahore, the army moved and so did the rangers to assist in the finalisation of the operation.

What will happen next? Everyone is apprehensive that this is not the end of the story. There are forces – groups, interests and individuals – who are hellbent on destroying Pakistan.

And we the powerless spectators can only watch the great and not-so-great game playing out in front of us. except that one day we could be victims of this fire as well.

It is time that Pakistani state draws up its resolve to fight terror on our soil and not cave in to barbarians – as has been the case before.

The US and NATO will have to leave us alone. They cannot let Pakistan fritter away – what good is an ally when you crack its foundations.

A news report:

LAHORE: Masked gunmen stormed Manawan police academy Monday, unleashing a fierce firefight that has left at least 27 dead in an echo of the commando-style assault on Sri Lanka’s cricket team.

Armed with grenades and assault rifles, and some of them dressed in police uniform, the attackers shot their way into the camp near Lahore and were continuing to trade fire six hours later with security forces.

Bodies of policemen were lying face down on the parade ground as rescuers carried out casualties on sheets and gunfire rattled round the compound at Manawan.

Paramilitary soldiers, armed and wearing flak jackets and helmets, opened fire and fanned out around the perimeter of the site, which was surrounded by scores of police cars and armoured vehicles, Geo news reported. People gathered outside the centre were boosting the morale of the operation forces engaged in carrying out the operation against terrorists.

“The number of killed is at least 27,” police officials told journalists, adding that around 89 injured were rushed to hospital. The security officials said the number of deaths could rise due to the crossfire. There were also television reports of hostages being taken, but that could not be confirmed.

“There were three or four back-to-back blasts from hand grenades and rocket launchers,” policeman Mohammad Riaz told Geo news from inside a room where he was barricaded with others.

“They directly targeted us. Suddenly there were bodies all around me,” one injured policeman told Geo news from his hospital bed.

Eyewitnesses said that half the assailants were in police uniform and half in civilian clothing. They were armed with hand grenades and rifles, and killed security guards at a rear entrance to get in.

Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik suggested homegrown terror movements were responsible.

“The nation knows these terrorist organisations,” he told Geo news, adding: “The question is — from where they are getting grenades, guns and rocket launchers in such a large number?”

Police and security forces later arrested a suspect allegedly linked to attackers who besieged Manawan police academy where 27 people died during pitched battles.

The bearded suspect wearing traditional ‘shalwar kameez’ dress and carrying two hand grenades was nabbed from a graveyard close to a helipad just outside the academy compound.

The suspect was shoved into a security forces vehicle and driven away.

Indian officials condemned the latest attack, saying it threatened security across the region and that its military was on alert for any “spillover.”

“We are deeply concerned. We condemn these terror attacks, we condemn all terror attacks and we offer our sympathies to the government and the people of Pakistan,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters.

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