Islamabad, Dec 22: Pakistan is bracing for a terror backlash following the executions of terrorists after the Peshawar carnage, a leading daily said Monday.
An editorial in the Dawn said the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty in response to the Peshawar carnage has triggered a serious threat: Terrorist attacks to avenge the executions by the state.
"Already, intelligence agencies are issuing all manner of warnings to possible targets, especially state institutions and security installations across the country, and many educational institutes have closed their campuses indefinitely ahead of the scheduled winter break," it said.
The daily added: "Pakistan is bracing for a backlash."
"This is the moment in which the performance and capabilities of the intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus across the country will be assessed. Failure could have catastrophic consequences, not just in terms of lives lost and individuals injured but also in terms of the state's very ability to fight terrorism and militancy in all its manifestations."
The hangings of terrorists are taking place following the Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that left 132 students dead.
"For, a wave of successful attacks in response to state execution of militants could leave the resolve to fight terrorism in tatters, especially if the forces on the frontline are left exposed and vulnerable," the daily noted.
It went on to say that in this long fight against militancy, "there will be more suffering inflicted on the country. Given the willingness of the militants to attack virtually any target, hard or soft, and the reality that militants are embedded across the country, the possibility of more terrorist attacks is high".
"But there is, or ought to be at least, a difference between the unexpected attack, the one that slipped through the cracks in the system, and attacks in major cities at a time when the country's security apparatus is in a state of high alert and mobilised essentially on a war footing."
The editorial wondered what the government was doing "about the militant supporters and sympathisers within the state machinery?"
"Time and again, the infiltration by militant groups into law-enforcement agencies and even the intelligence apparatus briefly emerges as a topic of debate at the national level before being quietly pushed into the background again."
The daily noted: "...Studying past attacks and disseminating knowledge within the security apparatus about how attacks are carried out help prevent future attacks - but only if the state is willing to adapt and learn itself."