While the capture of Uzair Baloch will garner the lion’s share of the media attention, other – arguably more important issues – must be kept in mind and regularly highlighted. The pending cases against Lal Masjid cleric, Maulana Abdul Aziz, and Jamia Hafsa students punch a gaping hole into the government’s narrative that there has been satisfactory implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP). Despite increasing pressure by the civil society, the government seems unwilling to tackle the problem.

On Saturday, police and paramilitary troops were deployed outside the mosque and the adjacent seminary, but after a token protest by the students most of them was withdrawn. At present two vehicles apiece of the Rangers and the police remain outside complex. The purpose, scope and longevity of this move remain unknown to the public and considering the erratic and flexible deployment of the troops, perhaps it remains unknown to the troops themselves. The contradictory statements given by government officials regarding the nature of the deployment indicate no actual mandate behind the move, only a justification based on the nebulous needs of “security”. Does the move signify that the government is finally acting on the numerous complaints against the cleric or is it another half measure, designed to placate the rising number of complainants while the case is kept in legal limbo? Without any supporting statements from the government, and considering the Interior Minister’s aversion the questions addressing the case, it seems definitive action against the mosque and their denizen is still far away.

In the aftermath of sectarian and terror attacks, such indecision is tantamount to criminal negligence. While Khursheed Shah and Chaudhry Nisar were busy trading barbs, Maulana Abdul Aziz released another statement openly blaming the Shia sect for his persecution and tried to sow discord between state institutions. He and his students continue to be openly defiant – as their armed protest against the deployments of troops testify – and show no signs of tempering their extremist views. The call for action are getting louder; his statements have led to fresh complaints being registered against the cleric under ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act), including sections 6 and 8 and PPA (Protection of Pakistan Act) (Scheduled Offence II) on 30th January.

The government is under justified pressure after the recent terror attacks and it must respond, not by lashing out at critics- as the Interior Minister has done – but by taking policy measures that follow the letter and spirit if the NAP. And there can be no more suitable candidate that the outstanding case on Maulana Abdul Aziz.