Whatever the case, the need to improve security and intelligence systems cannot be overstated. Unlike the bomb blast in Peshawar on Friday, the GHQ attack bears all the hallmarks of the Taliban, who have traditionally targeted symbols of the state, westerners, NGOs and members of the Shia community.
In Rawalpindi, civilians at large do not appear to have been the intended targets, although there are reports of some being taken hostage. The gunmen took on security personnel, just as their kind did in attacks on police training centres in Lahore and Mingora. According to the ISPR, the information wing of the armed forces, the TTP orchestrated the GHQ attack. More attacks may be forthcoming in the weeks to come, and the state must be in a position to nip such assaults in the bud.
It is clear that the Taliban and their affiliates are feeling the pressure of the military offensive and a national consensus in favour of the ongoing operation in the northwest. They are getting desperate, which is all the more reason why they should be hit hard as soon as possible with all the force the state can muster. The Taliban’s supporters in the political arena are few and far between, and they stand discredited. Pakistan’s citizenry, though anti-American in large part, appears to be overwhelmingly anti-Taliban as well. The time is right for an all-out assault on militancy.