Sunday, May 22, 2011

Attack on PNS Mehran – last and final call

The terrorist attack on PNS Mehran last night is sad and tragic. It seems we have not learnt any lesson from the past and our security of strategic installations instead of being made formidable, more resistive and impregnable is turning out to be a mere eye wash. The colossal damage to the naval base, destruction of very expensive Orion-3 LRMP aircraft besides many helicopters and other installations speaks volumes about our preparedness.

I have been writing in my previous posts that we are not confronting mere terrorists or militants, these are in fact highly trained mercenaries, equipped with latest arms and ammunition, laced with complete intelligence and information that can only be provided through satellite imageries available to very “few” countries in the world. The modus operandi of the terrorists is not new and our laxity has once again allowed them to penetrate into our strategic installations after attack on GHQ awhile ago.

The post OBL “death” scenario wanted us to have pulled up our socks, raised protection and security of our installations on war footing to thwart the expected backlash for which we should have been ready. Whether the attackers came from one direction or more, it goes without saying that the security was lax and weak. And this is what is going to happen in days to come.
Such incidents will add to the US theory of Pakistan succumbing to terrorists and its inability in the final round to ensure safety of its nuclear assets. The ease with which the terrorists entered the base and carried out their operation of an otherwise well guarded installation, (or was it ?), would make many ponder of the security of our other high value assets. Making excuses after a successful security breach would not bring back very costly LRMP aircraft and helicopters.

This is the last and final call for us – we must wake up to the ground realities, the actual magnitude of the threat we are faced with and take counter actions. Remember the presence of foreign troops, technical staff and highly trained personnel of companies like Black Water should raise our eye brows. We are not dealing with shalwar kameez clad terrorists of our tribal belt – we in fact are confronted with highly trained mercenaries who cannot be defeated with our routine security counter measures.  Rising the security to high alert after every such incident and then let it lower after a few days is a worn out strategy as the terrorists wait for the guards to be lowered once again to strike back.

Let us wear our gear for a long drawn war of very high intensity, and not lower guard even for a second. Even if the entourage of the highest VVVVIp is to be scanned thoroughly, it should be done so. We should not forget the raid on the Entebbe airport in 1976 wherein the Mercedes Benz of President Amin was used as disguise to beat back Ugandan security. While on the contrary our security elements open gates as soon as they see a flag flying car of a high official without second thought, which now could be part of a similar disguise.

And taking a cue from the Abbottabad incident, use of stealth helicopters and highly trained US Marines and Naval SEAL into our other strategic installations cannot be overruled now as the hype intensifies. In fact instead of the news of terrorists' penetration into the naval base, the news should have been that an attempt was made by the terrorists and the highly alerted security repulsed the attack inflicting heavy losses or killing all or killing some and capturing some. The rhetoric after the successful attack is meaningless and it is sad to read one spokesman saying that the incident was not a security lapse. Unless many heads ROLL for not ensuring a high state of security, such incidents would intensify in future.

Here I must add that merely raising perimeter walls and fencing these is not security. Security should be a well integrated network of fences, high resolution day/night cameras, laser fired fixed weapons, sirens and alarms, backed by highly trained and equipped specially trained personnel, ready to react within minutes to a situation. Any penetration into the high value asset areas be picked up instantly and the asset itself should have its own force to react and take on the threat and be able to curtail the threat long enough for other back up groups to join in. Unless we do this, I am afraid there would be repetitions casuing more damage to our assets and creating chaos and demoralization of the people in general.

For God’s sake raise your guards now for a long drawn war as any lowering of guards will from now would be more catastrophic than the PNS Mehran adventure. Let us not repeat Murphy's Law here that it is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.


Yes we must raise our guard if we are serious enough to meet the grave challenge.Unfortunately the desired level of seriousness is not visible in govt response to the twin mishaps,sadly every body is business as usual.Under the circumstances one can only brace for more of the same in the days and weeks to come.

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