The Sikander stand off... By Hassam
19 August, 2013
Just after celebrating Independence Day on the eve of August 15, 2013, Islamabad, the capital city, faced a horrifying example of security lapse and administrative failure. A man named Sikandar entered the Blue Area of the capital and started firing with machine guns. The capital police reached the spot and cordoned off the whole area; meanwhile the electronic media reached and started to cover the incident. At that particular point in time, it seemed as if we only have one issue left in Pakistan: Mr Sikander and his rampage in Islamabad. This show lasted for almost five hours, until the foolish act of 'bravery' by PPP leader Zamurad Khan where he tackled the gunman and ended the spectacle. Some serious questions have arisen after this incident.
First of all, the security condition of the capital has been questioned again: why have so many check posts when an incident like this can occur with such ease? Another important point is the working capacity of the security forces, especially the police. What will happen if 50 plus Taliban militants enter the territory of the capital in the middle of the night? The role of the media is also questionable; around the world, the media follows breaking news but, after telecasting it once, they do not telecast it again and again. In just a couple of hours it seemed as if the only news left in Pakistan was that of Sikander. Last, but not least, the role of the 'hero', Mr Zamurad Khan, is appreciable but also questionable: why did he not follow the instructions of the police officers who stopped him from talking to Sikander?
This incident is a pure example of administrative and security failure. A man entered the capital firing heavy weapons, the police negotiated with him and they came out looking bad because they do not have the training required to deal with such a situation — all this when Pakistan is a front line state in the war on terror. The Islamabad police should act as an exemplary security force for the whole country. We should remember that, if the Islamabad police cannot handle one man, then we should not expect the Dera Ismail Khan police to fight against the Taliban either. As a nation, it is time to decide what we want: a Pakistan where every institution is working within its own limits or a country where a politician is needed to rescue the police from a mad psycho who captures a main road in Islamabad for more than five hours?