Accept US help to probe Marriott blast: Pakistani editorialsSeptember 23rd, 2008 - 1:49 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Sep 23 (IANS) Pakistan should not shy away from accepting US help to probe the devastating suicide bombing at the Marriott Hotel here last Saturday that killed 53 people and injured hundreds more, editorials in two leading English dailies said Tuesday.”We need help and we need it now. Misplaced nationalism argues that foreign help - especially from the Americans - is unwelcome and an intrusion in our ‘domestic’ affairs. Yet anything that helps saves Pakistani lives must be welcomed,” Dawn said in an editorial headlined “Securing Pakistan”.
“Perhaps Pakistan should take up the offer made of FBI assistance. After all, after a crime of this scale, we need to swallow pride and acquire all the help we can,” The News said in an editorial titled “After the tragedy”.
“From our emergency services to our intelligence apparatus, the international community can do much to raise our level of preparedness in the face of an unprecedented terrorist threat,” Dawn said.
Holding that the US “must lead the way” in providing such support, the editorial added: “It has spent an extraordinary amount - several hundred billion dollars - in Iraq; investing a mere fraction of that sum in Pakistan’s anti-terrorism infrastructure would go a long way to defeating a common enemy.”
In this context, Dawn pointed to the lamentable performance of Pakistan’s security apparatus.
“Failures are apparent at every stage leading up to Saturday’s attack. How did such large quantities of lethal explosives make it into the hands of terrorists? How were the terrorists able to commandeer the truck and drive it into Islamabad? And what was that truck doing unchecked in the heart of Islamabad on an evening that every major leader of Pakistan - civilian and uniformed - had gathered there?” the editorial wondered.
Noting that it took more than 10 hours for Islamabad’s fire department to extinguish the blaze at the Marriott, Dawn said that 30 high-level posts in the department were vacant.
“Given the threats that Islamabad faces, negligence of this kind rises to a criminal level,” it maintained.
According to The News, there was “as yet no way of saying” how the investigation into the blast will proceed, but there was “plenty of room for doubt”.
Thus, there was ample scope for accepting foreign assistance in the probe given that even with a Pakistan Peoples Party government in power since March, “little headway” had been made in the enquiry into the Dec 27, 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
“Beyond the detention of a few low-level operatives, we do not seem to have succeeded in making much headway in exposing the masterminds who planned other bombings, in Lahore, in Islamabad, and elsewhere,” the newspaper said.
Noting that the country faced an “unprecedented” threat, The News said: “The foremost priority must be to prevent other such outrageous acts of violence in the future.
“The sense of almost universal shock caused by the blast at the Marriott must be used as a means to launch an all-out offensive against the forces behind it,” the newspaper added.