The attack on a Karachi naval base, by heavily armed Taliban insurgents, suggests that the Pakistani security forces have their work cut out.

The past fortnight has seen the extremists up the ante and a spate of violent attacks has left scores dead and wounded. It is an indicator that the security has to be ready to spring into action against any sort of reprisal by the Al Qaida and Taliban, who have vowed revenge and are exacting a huge toll on human life following the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

Questions on how the militants penetrated the heavily-guarded naval base are bound to arise. This will throw the spotlight on the efficacy of the level of security, especially when one considers that the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi is six miles away and the Masroor Air Base, near which a nuclear arsenal is stockpiled, is 15 miles away.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and interior minister Rehman Malik are both under pressure to deliver and this latest incident will once again put the focus on them. Rhetoric against the extremists and their beliefs will not solve the problem.

The authorities will have to weigh their priorities. Civilians have become soft targets and human life cannot be sacrificed so cheaply.