The June 8 incident whereby insurgents infiltrated Karachiís Jinnah International Airport killing over 26 persons illustrates how the country has hit rock bottom. Among those unfortunate to be present at the time of the attacks were also children witnessing this barbarism. Imagine a childís impression of this country in the wake of such happenings? Where is the internal accountability?
To stress the importance of this, view the following hypothetical example: if a private bank has its internal security systems infiltrated resulting in a mass theft, all employees, including the CEO, would be questioned. Whatever happens to the bankís infiltrators is irrelevant to the internal accountability, which would be carried out regardless. Likewise, the airport incident is a matter of our national security and internal responsibility/involvement cannot be left unaccounted.
The aftermath of the incident resulted in the usual bureaucratic blame game, along with the governmentís usual retort involving many big words, small actions and no results.
Four fundamental questions remain unanswered: 1) How exactly was the airport infiltrated vis-a-vis security? 2) Which officer(s) in particular are responsible? 3) How can it be ensured measures have been taken to avoid another attack and 4) What should be the outcome/accountability for the lives and the massive financial losses?
The above questions are all connected and although civilians are in no position to answer, I humbly put forward my proposals: Firstly, the various bigwigs from the government service and the Ministry of Defence (responsible for Airport Security) should be summoned before an appropriate court of law or an investigation committee and be made to answer the above questions. A speedy hearing should follow resulting in a clear report stating reasons and responsibility of the incident. In developed countries this exercise would probably have been towards its conclusion by now. Finally, an appropriate outcome/punishment must be swiftly implemented and future safety measures be given in writing to the Supreme Court against which they can hold the government accountable.
It is essential this proceeding remains transparent and swift and treated in as public a manner as permissible in order to restore some confidence to our citizens as well as the international community, and most importantly, to safeguard against future attacks. This matter should not be delayed or put behind red tape resulting in no real consequence for those enjoying the seats of power. What must be avoided is the usual modus operandi of the government in the aftermath of such incidents, which involves exposing general passengers to exhaustive checks while letting those with power walk through unchecked, as nothing irks the travelling public more. Without any accountability, those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty for others, would have died in vain. How can we as a nation ever move forward without basic accountability for our security? In progressing countries, the powers that be would have already resigned in the wake of such a terrible tragedy, but unfortunately, not in Pakistan. Forced action must be taken against persons who have not fulfilled their duties, but continually rake in all the benefits of their office. This tragedy should be overturned into something great for Pakistan so that it is referred to in our history as a turning point for proper accountability and not simply left behind as another unresolved mishap.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2014.