The Punjab government and the Rangers officials had been forewarned about the suicide attack that killed over 60 people at Wagah. The bomber succeeded because of a highly deplorable security lapse on the part of the civilian and military authorities. They simply failed to conduct the required recce and did not put plain-clothes men in an around the high security zone. This is borne out by the discovery next day of a suicide jacket and an IED in the parking area. The bomber was supposedly wearing a suicide jacket weighing 10-15 kilos. Had intelligence sleuths been around the eateries and shops where he blew himself up, they could have recognised and overpowered him before the crowds left the parade venue.
It is difficult in view of contradictory statements by the relevant authorities to determine whether the bomber acted outside the security barriers or well inside them. A thorough inquiry is therefore needed to determine the facts. The incident however is too serious to be treated like a dispute between two police stations over jurisdiction. All the more so when both the civil and military authorities knew about the date and the precise target of the bomber. Unless those responsible for the negligence at the highest level are taken to task and heads roll, negligence of the sort will continue to characterise the working of the law enforcement agencies.
This is precisely what Pakistan cannot afford. The TTP has been defeated and several groups of terrorists killed or made to leave North Waziristan. The terrorist network has been demoralised and has broken up into groups which level accusations on one another. The incident shows that while the snake is scorched it is still alive and impatient to strike back. The government cannot afford to have chinks in its armour. There are disturbing reports about the ISIS trying to create a foothold. Extraordinary vigilance is therefore required on the part of all stakeholders, civilian as well as military. The suicide attack at Wagah shows it is lacking.