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August 9, 2016

An intelligence failure by all accounts

Top Story

August 9, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Even if there was a history of similar events in recent past, an ordinary intelligence outfit could have told that terrorists would attack the gathering of lawyers in the hospital or at the time of funeral prayers of Bilal Anwar Kasi, the president of Balochistan Bar Association (BBA), who was assassinated moments before the attack.

Unfortunately, there was noUnfortunately, there was no such information on Monday which added another horrible day in lives of Pakistanis who have now forgotten details of many such black days as the list is unbelievably long.

The incident of assassination of BBA president and subsequent blast in Civil Hospital Quetta resulting in killing of more than 70 citizens, mostly lawyers, was not at all an intelligence failure - this in fact has proved that there is no state writ in Balochistan, a province where recently a corruption scandal against the FC, the most influential force in the federating unit, was reported. Countless examples of incompetency and corruption explain why our security apparatus is failing.

Simply some two and an half years back, terrorists killed a police officer in the same city of Quetta on December 28, 2013 and then attacked his funeral prayers resulting in killing of 30 police officials including a DIG and an SP. There were some other similar incidents in the country during last one and an half decade. These incidents clearly give a hint that terrorists can carry out a small scale terrorist activity or a killing to ensure gathering of people from a specific community and then to make a big attack on such a gathering.

Either these are the attacks on airports, strategically important air force installations in the cities of Karachi and Peshawar or attack on GHQ Rawalpindi or even any public place, the intelligence apparatus in Pakistan has mostly been failed to report in advance about any such threats. However, some writers used to explain that common people only came to know about massive failures of intelligence agencies and they remain unaware of successes achieved by intelligence as these are never reported or shared. After so many horrible terrorism attacks and killing of more than 60,000 innocent Pakistanis at the hands of religious terrorists, one wonders what more could have happened after this bloodshed in almost every big city of the country.

The effective human intelligence gathered by mixing up among people in any society always constitutes the basic part of any actionable intelligence. Complete reliance of technology and latest recording or spying equipment purchased by spending huge amounts of money never yields substantial results. Mere reliance on technology leads to a situation being faced by Pakistanis for last many years. There has always been an excuse in case of Fata that human intelligence can only be gathered by paying money to agents and that because CIA used to pay huge amounts of money and thus it used to receive more accurate and timely information. Those who are aware of facts and spent long time in tribal areas term this a lame excuse. Incompetency and unprofessionalism is the basic reason for failures according to them.

Yet another basic reason of failure is our hesitation to admit our failures and continuing terming ourselves as number one. Even the leading countries in the world take help and assistance from experts in other countries to avert any big crisis and time has come now that Pakistan should move towards seeking international help to devise strategies for elimination of root causes of terrorism and support for terrorism and terrorists in the society. The policy of blaming ‘our enemy’ countries and their intelligence agencies has only resulted in complete collapse of our investigative system and failure of our law enforcement agencies. After blaming RAW and initiating a national level debate that ‘RAW has done all this’, an escape route is provided to real attackers. Pakistani officials feel free and relaxed and don’t even bother to understand that even if RAW is involved in each and everything and carrying out so many attacks continuously so successfully it is a failure of Pakistani institutions and intelligence. This calls for an emergency like situation and undertaking a reforms packages and returning towards professionalism.


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