Saving the saviours
WHILE the security situation has been derailed across the country over the past decade or so, it is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that has borne the brunt of increasing incidents of bombing. Lives are not only lost when terrorists hit security or civilian targets; even the bomb disposal squad is at risk when it attempts to defuse an unexploded device. The latter point was underscored by the death of explosives expert Inspector Hukam Khan who was killed while defusing an IED device in September. The incident highlighted the fact that bomb disposal is a potentially lethal line of work and each attempt at defusing explosives is haunted by potential tragedy. It is fitting, then, that yesterday’s newspapers carried photographs of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police dep-artment initiating the use of robotic systems operated remotely through a computer interface and capable of defusing explosive devices. Purchased from the British government, the robotic systems can scan a suspicious object or vehicle and defuse explosives if present. Equipped with camera sensors and with the capability to dig up explosives, they can be used for dealing with IEDs, bombs, parcel bombs and vehicles rigged with explosives. Indeed, on Monday such a robot was used to defuse a device in Peshawar’s Nasirpur area.
Police departments all across the country, particularly in metropolises where bomb attacks are common, need to be equipped with such technology. The hard fact is that militants and terrorists are conversant with technology of various kinds for their grim purposes — from cellular communication tools to the Internet to ever-mutating methods of blowing things up. Worryingly, however, the country’s law-enforcement agencies, particularly on the civilian side, continue to operate with archaic methodologies and insufficient technology. Investing in machines and systems that can help save lives and avert tragedy is expensive, but the country’s hostile — and worsening — climate demands just this.