The terrorists have struck again. And they have struck an institution known for its promotion of values of tolerance and diversity. Jhal Magsi’s Dargah Pir Rakhel Shah is the second shrine to have come under attack of terrorists this year. Notwithstanding the efforts of the security forces in the on-going fight against terrorism, Thursday’s suicide attack raises several important questions. Coincidentally, the DG ISPR addressed the media on the same day and, among other information , he revealed that no terrorist outfit has an organised base in the country anymore. If that is the case, then the suicide bomber is likely to have travelled all the way to Jhal Magsi — centrally located in Balochistan — from across the western border which is at quite some distance from the district. That the attacker managed to do that without being caught in a province that has seen massive deployment of forces over the years needs to be examined and responsibility fixed in the matter. Intuitively, it would seem that an increased presence of the forces should come with an improvement in law and order. But there is little information about the state of affairs in the province that makes its way to the mainstream press, rendering an objective assessment of the ground situation almost impossible. While the authorities investigate the scene of the attack and track down the perpetrators, it is also important that they share information about progress in investigations with the media. In the press conference, Major General Asif Ghafoor also told the media that about 50 percent of the Afghan territory is no longer in Kabul’s control, and this is leaving vast swathes of territory open to non-state actors, one of whom could be responsible for Thursday attack. If the assessment is accurate, it should be pursued rigorously with all states concerned with the Afghan situation. That will be in the best possible interest of Pakistan. We should work with regional and global powers to ensure that the government in Kabul is able to control entire territory of Afghanistan. This will deny any room to non-state actors whose ill-designs have cost us, as well as the region, dearly. * Published in Daily Times, October 6th 2017.