Pakistan needs to forcefully confront extremists: US daily

Washington: In the wake of the deadly suicide bombing in Lahore that claimed 72 lives, Pakistan needs to “forcefully confront” extremists without any exception, including those working towards the “liberation” of Kashmir, The Washington Post today said.

“The best approach, as Pakistan should have learned by now, is not to tolerate or negotiate with such extremists, but to forcefully confront them,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

The editorial comes three days after the blast in Lahore, which targeted Christians celebrating Easter on Sunday. The blast, which killed 72 people including 29 children, was condemned by top leaders including Prime Minister Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan.

“Exceptions cannot be made for jihadists who fight for causes favoured by the Pakistani elite, such as the “liberation” of Kashmir from Indian rule, or Taliban battling the Afghan government,” the daily said.

“While Mr Sharif and the military leadership have come a long way toward accepting those tenets, they have not yet fully embraced them.

“That means terrorism will remain a threat to Pakistan for the foreseeable future,” it said.

Pakistan has made progress in fighting terrorism in the past two years. But, the horrific suicide bombing in one of its heartland cities on Sunday showed how serious the threat remains, the editorial said.

The brutal attack by a suicide bomber — believed to be in his 20s — was claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The group later said that Christian families strolling in the park on Easter were on its target.