For twelve years after London’s Underground attacks, the British government succeeded in warding off major terrorist onslaught which was no ordinary achievement. The success seems to have led to a lowering of guards by the intelligence agencies. This is shown by three terrorist attacks in so many months, the latest on Saturday leading to the killings of seven innocent persons plus 48 injured. The attack was reminiscent of the one in March where a single terrorist had driven a car into pedestrians and later stabbed an unarmed police officer. This time the venue was the London Bridge and Borough Market. Instead of a car, the terrorists had a van. Instead of one knife-wielding killer, there were three attacking people in nearby pubs and restaurants.
The two incidents indicate the limitations under which the terrorists have to operate in Britain. With successful gun control, the terrorists had to rely on vehicles and knives. Unlike Europe where terrorists succeeded in using large trucks, the British terrorists had to rely on smaller vehicles. What should worry the British agencies, however, is the Manchester Arena attack in May which was more sophisticated and led to 22 mortalities. The Manchester terrorist had visited the IS-infested Libya where presumably he learnt bomb-making. What is more, he succeeded in collecting the required components and putting together an IED which he used in the suicide bombing.
Despite the peculiar situation on the home ground, Pakistan has a lot to learn from Britain. Efficient Intelligence gathering and making use of it in real time is the key to deal with the threat of terrorism. NACTA established in 2013 through an act of Parliament has had a slow start for lack of government commitment and jurisdictional battles within the bureaucracy. It is time it is made to pull itself up by its bootstraps. Efficiency in dealing with terrorists is another important thing. The rampage in London lasted no more than eight minutes, beginning at 10.08pm on Saturday before the three men suspected of staging the attack were shot dead by police at around 10.16pm.