Bad terrorists vs good sectarianists, Yes Minister!  

Bad terrorists vs good sectarianists, Yes Minister!   

Oops, he’s done it again. Just as things appeared to be gradually settling down after the Dawn Leaks ruckus — our Minister of the Interior has potentially manoeuvred to re-ignite tensions between the civilian and military leaderships. This time over the presence of ISIS in the restive province of Balochistan.

It is not that he hasn’t congratulated the Army on its recent operation in Mastung district that, according to the ISPR spokesperson, had robbed ISIS of any foothold in the province. It’s more a question of his reaction to the news that the terror network claimed responsibility for beheading two Chinese nationals, also in Balochistan. For Chaudhry Nisar has failed, in his comments on the matter, to either mention ISIS or, indeed, the Army operation. Bearing in mind that this intelligence-based operation left up to 15 militants dead from the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Almi group, which is said to be an unofficial fusion grouping between LeJ and ISIS.

Instead the Interior Minister saw fit to respond, during a high-level meeting yesterday, by calling for the streamlining and additional procedural regulation of the visa process for foreign nationals. And just to be extra sure that he wouldn’t have to mention the terrorist elephant in the room — he went the extra mile and suggested responsibility for the gruesome murders lay with the victims themselves. His contention being that the couple had somehow misused the terms of their business visa.

Such conduct by a sitting federal minister is simply not acceptable. It might have been better had he touched upon the point that the terror threat cannot be completely eliminated by killing ISIS-inspired terrorists alone. It might have been better had he named and shamed such groups as the TTP splinter group Jamaat al-Ahrar that operate within Pakistan’s borders. Or, perhaps he could have spoken up against the anti-Shia militia LeJ itself. But that would mean explaining his penchant for holding meetings with the latter, all the while distinguishing between bad terrorists and good sectarianists.

We recommend that Nisar spend a little less time having the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) trolling the social media accounts of the citizenry and a little more time taking action against those who not only extend support but also invitations to ISIS. Such as the notorious Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz and his burqa-clad female seminary students. That the FIA does not suggests the state takes very seriously his threat to unleash suicide bombers on the country if anything were to happen to him. No one needs to point out the disconnect of a state institution busying itself with witch-hunting against citizens exercising their democratic right to dissent instead of those who publicly invite to Pakistan one of the most brutal terrorist groups reincarnated. Thus the new battle lines have been drawn. It is no longer a battle not between good and bad Taliban, as such. It is, rather, one between bad terrorists and good sectarianists. And it is one supported by the civilian leadership.*