9 June 2014, close to midnight, a group of heavily armed Uzbek(TTP/IMU) terrorists attacked the old Karachi Airport at Terminal 1.For those who are not aware of the dynamics of Karachi, terminal 1 is used as a cargo and VVIP terminal, it is at some distance from the operational Jinnah terminal which is also called Karachi International Airport.
Operation Pakistan salutes the Army, Rangers, Police, ASF and Civilians who attained the lofty rank of martyrdom during the operation that followed the attack. The Armed forces responded swiftly to a situation and neutralised the threat before day break. The more we praise their efforts, the lesser it seems as our Armed Forces are sacrificing their lives every single day.
The responsibility of the attack was accepted by Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan. There are reports that intel agencies had notified the concerned authorities about an impending attack. But the local authorities,the federal and provincial governments did not take any precautionary measure to prevent the attack. There was no extra security, no additional checks and no red alert.
We salute the martyrs of ASF, but it is common knowledge that ASF is heavily politicised and their training and weapons are outdated. Furthermore they haven`t been given proper counter terrorism equipment. Why? Because all the budget allocated for ASF is leaked each year in corruption. The amount equivalent to peanuts is used to buy low level equipment for the security of the most busy airport of the country.
The terrorists were able to damage some aircraft’s and they were able to set the cargo area alight. But what could have been their target. Initially it seems as if their target was the Jinnah Terminal, but why? Dr Shahid Masood, a senior analyst mentioned this in his analysis that the target of the attackers could have been the control tower in Jinnah Terminal. Access to the control tower would have given complete control over the air traffic over Pakistan`s air space. This could then have been used to cause mayhem, which our forces were able to prevent. Even though the terrorists were unable to accomplish their goal, they managed to inflict yet another dent in the international image of Pakistan. Last nights attack on Karachi Airport was a loud and clear message to the world that Pakistan is not safe, Pakistan is a war zone and terrorists are free to roam the streets.
So what? Many countries become war zones , there was a time when Berlin, London and Paris were war zones. But they managed to come out of that phase right?
Unfortunately, if it was only about portraying our image as a war torn country, it would still have been a sigh of relief. But it isn`t! Our Armed Forces acted swiftly and neutralised the threat of terrorists, but the situation that followed raised some serious questions.
The Armed Forces handed over the control of Karachi Airport to CAA at 2 pm. Later in the evening, news started to flood in about trapped survivors inside the Cargo hold building which was still on fire. CAA turned a deaf ear towards all appeals but when media personnel reached the spot and aired live pictures. The reality was revealed. The whole nation saw the utter failure of the civil administration. There was only one building which had been set ablaze and the civil administration was unable to control fire in a single building. There were no fire tenders, no heavy equipment to rescue the survivors.
A lot can be said, a lot can be asked, but the sheer level of mismanagement shown by the Civil administration in dealing with this disaster shows just how well prepared they are to tackle disasters. They weren`t able to rescue just 8 people from a burning building, what will happen if God forbid a greater calamity strikes!
Isn`t it time for us to ponder over this. The Government runs on OUR taxes. Quaid e Azam once said to the civil servants that you are the servants of the nation, do not consider yourself above them. Are we being served by the civil servants? If in a big urban centre like Karachi, 8 people die due to negligence of the civil administration, don`t we have a right to ask them about what is being done with our taxes. I for one believe that it is too late even for this question. It is evident from their incompetence that all of our taxes are used by them for their personal entourages and luxurious lifestyle. We are funding their lifestyle, so that they can kill us with their negligence when are in need of help.
This system and its off springs have failed to deliver again and again. Army Operation can reduce the number of terrorists, but it cannot reduce the level of mismanagement . In any other country, heads would have rolled upon this incident, but in Pakistan, we`ll cry a few days for the fallen and then another incident will be over written on our memory, making us forget all that happened in the past.
by Danial Ahmed
Team Operation Pakistan