Posts Tagged ‘Terrorism’

Security situation in Islamabad

So how are things in Islamabad nowadays? Well, apart from the excruciating heat, the sweaty underarms and the dehydration, there are the really annoying security measures which have been taken up by the authorities in Islamabad, which require every walking/driving/flying citizen to prove his identity anywhere and everywhere. They are annoying, but they are probably the only way the police, and other forces can take control of the situation in the capital. Oftentimes, I am reminded of the enormity of the situation by the policemen themselves, telling me that if I don’t cooperate and go through the hassle of proving my identify and getting my backpack checked every morning three times by three different security officials, I might get blown up like an overstuffed chicken in a microwave by some happy-go-lucky virgin loving bearded buffoon, ready to get his one way ticket to paradise.

The high security areas are particularly the most problematic for the daily commuter. There are places like the Marriott hotel area where you can’t walk down the footpath without a dozen eyes watching you. There are those 360 degree Marriott security cameras, the guards spread out in front of the hotel, illegally occupying the road, there are the Frontier Constabulary guys mounted on their machine guns and blowing whistles every time someone gets too close to their enclosure, and there are the measly police men with their taped AK47’s, their dangling bullet proof vests and their sweat ridden brows. No matter how bothersome they can get at times, I do feel sorry for these people whenever I watch them guarding at their positions. What do they tell their families when they go out every morning to work? How do their children feel about their father who is out there on the road, risking his life to protect others? How do these security people perform their duties knowing very well that there is no guarantee that they might live to see another day? So, I don’t like to argue with them like other people usually do to get past a seemingly annoying security check. I let them do what they want to do.

In a situation like this, how should an ordinary citizen react? Here are a few important points that one should consider while outside:

  • Always carry your ID with you, be it your workplace ID or your Government ID. Keep photocopies of your ID in your purse/wallet for submission where ever required by security officials.
  • Keep your driving license and vehicle documents with you while driving. Always keep an attested photocopy of your vehicles documents to show to security officials on demand. Give the photocopied document first, only show them the real thing if they insist or the situation permits.
  • Do not carry large bags around which might make you look suspicious.
  • Try not to walk around high security areas for too long. Remember that there are quite a number of places in the capital where 360 degree cameras have been installed, and your image repeatedly sent on the security screens doesn’t sound like a very good thing.
  • Do not argue with security officials. Try not to waste time arguing with them particularly at dangerous places like security check posts and road blocks. It is always safe to show them your ID before they even ask for it. Oftentimes they would even let you pass without asking too much details if you show your ID earlier.
  • Stay away from crowds. Even walking in large groups with friends can prompt the security officials to stop you all and question you about your purpose on coming to the area.
  • Although it’s a noble thing to report any suspicious behavior to the authorities whenever you see one, it is wise not to get involved with the authorities at all! However, you should not hesitate to report a suspicious inanimate object to the authorities so that quick investigation can take place.
  • Try not to carry metallic objects or other items that would slow your progress down a security check. Keep minimal items and a handy bag which can be quickly opened and closed when a security official needs to check.
  • Always make sure that your cellphone has credit and that it is fully charged whenever you go out.

These few points and others can increase your safety index, decrease your chances of getting stuck in a security problem, and even more important, protect you from potential dangers like explosions and other acts of terrorism.

Snipers

Here’s a recent image of the Marriott hotel secondary entrance. Notice the security guy under the multi-colored umbrella on the gate:

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If he’s a pro sniper and has a proper sniper gun instead of a lousy M1, the terrorist boys are in for some real trouble. Snipers are one of the most effective ways to eliminate targets precisely without hurting others around (except that those around the target are splattered with brain masala and other body fluids). I would suggest that Islamabad installs CCTV cameras all around the city like London and mount remote controlled precision rifles on those cameras instead of real men.That way we could monitor everyone’s activities and shoot the miscreants on the spot. Yes, it would give a little shock to the ladies passing by and would ruin their lovely dresses, but at least things would be under control.

Attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team: Murder of International Cricket

Bullet on Sri Lankan Team's Bus

Bullet on Sri Lankan Team's Bus

Shocking news surrounded us yesterday. Despite the on-going turbulence in country, I don’t think this cricket-loving nation could have imagined a well-planned, highly-armed attack on a guest team. Sri Lankan team decided to come and play in Pakistan, as a friendly gesture, when all other teams refused.

Luckily, the sri lankans escaped life loss apart from few injuries. But five policemen and a bus driver could not succumb to the injuries and died. Reserve Umpire, Ahsan Raza, is still in critical condition.

As usual, government is avoiding to take responsibility of this huge security lapse, at all costs. Rehman Malik’s press conference last night was an evidence.

What I, and almost every concerned Pakistani, refuses to see is how come 12 attackers, armed with Kalashnikov, Grenades and Rocket Launchers, attack a bus for 15-20 minutes and no one comes to cover the scene? If media can reach the scene within minutes; why can’t rangers, commandos or even PAF’s fighter jets could have reached? In broad day-light attackers even achieved the cumbersome task to escape the scene unscathed; still no signs of security forces. Considering the liberty chowk’s plan, it was not a difficult task at all to encircle the attackers in that sphere. If for president or prime minister’s visit, the whole route can be pre-monitored for any unusual activity, wasn’t it the responsibility of the govt. to take such initiatives in this case too? Undoubtedly, the policemen did their job well. But at the cost of 6 precious lives. The ratio of 6:0 tell scores about security forces abilities and that of attackers.

International cricket’s been murdered in Pakistan now, officially. Who’d like to come to this land of pure irresponsibility now? As Teeth Maestro wrote yesterday that I see stadiums turning into plots now …!

May the nation stand united, Amen! The string’s getting tighter day-by-day. Blame game with more hopelessness continues. This is plainly frustrating.

Image Courtesy: Time

A Gaping Wound in Islamabad

The panic one feels when something like this happens is unbridled. Our first thoughts are for the safety of those we love most. Cellphones are whipped out, locations are verified. They’re safe. The panic subsides somewhat.

But for many, many of us, the panic never did subside last night. For many, life changed forever the moment that truck exploded. And although this is a waking nightmare for us all, we can’t even begin to imagine the horrific magnitude of this nightmare for those who lost their loved ones last night. They are from among us, people just like you and me, and could easily have been you or me. In grieving for them, we grieve for ourselves, because it is the same.

That all this death and destruction happened in one of the liveliest and most radiant locations in the city, a place we associated with special family dinners and weddings and exhibitions and festivity and warmth, makes it even more unpalatable in our minds. The sheer scale of this tragedy is still sinking in. And so is the extent of our vulnerability.

Image from www.nytimes.com

Image from www.nytimes.com

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