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World Data Darbar Attack


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Lahore came under attack yet again on Thursday. This time the militants targeted devotees at the shrine of Hazrat Ali Hajveri, popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh, one of the earliest saints to introduce this land to Sufism and its spirit of brotherhood. It is tragic that the safety of devotees at the shrine of one revered as Lahore’s protector should be dependent today on the little security the administration can provide in these dangerous times. No less disappointing has been the response that some can still come up with, even in the wake of continuous terrorist strikes. The most common reaction on the streets in Lahore a day after the Data Darbar tragedy was that this could not have been the work of ‘one of our own.’

People, in a desperate attempt to disown the terrorists and their acts, were again eager to point fingers at anti-Pakistan, anti-Islam elements outside the country. A similar pattern of thought was reflected in the statements of some officials. Their attitude does not stem from apathy, criminal negligence or incompetence. It is part of a deliberate policy. Perhaps there is a fear of the consequences involved in the identification of the terrorists. Surely it is part of a strategy which says that the only way we can survive is by pretending that we have no enemies at home.

Just how much data do we need to unearth the truth? Mounting evidence points to the monumental flaws in our theories of self-preservation. The clues to local involvement provided by terror incidents of the past aside, the attack on Data Darbar should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind just how expansive the designs of the terrorists are and how easy it is for them to find recruits in the vicinity of a planned strike anywhere in Pakistan. While details are coming in and ‘investigation is under way’, initial reports say one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up at Data Darbar belonged not to Waziristan nor to southern Punjab but to a suburb of Lahore. He apparently belonged to the Barki Hadiara area which makes him as much a Lahori as the large number of people killed in the blast. His involvement is indicative of the expanse governments in the country themselves need to cover once they have decided to fight terrorism in earnest. The government action — call it operation or whatever — will have to go much beyond Waziristan or southern Punjab or any particular region. It will have to be a campaign that covers the entire country.

DAWN.COM | Editorial | Data Darbar attack


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