On Monday, in a meeting in the capital, chaired by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the decision was taken that the government would tighten the noose around banned organisations. Great news - but one that has been heard time and time again. If Chaudhry Nisar expects applause every time he chairs a meeting and says the right thing then he is mistaken. The time for words has passed, only concrete action counts now.

An argument can be made for cutting the Interior Minister some slack; coming a day after the Qadri execution, the meeting does build on the resolve to tackle the extremist threat. On that, and only in that regard, these statements are commendable. But apart from narrative-building the Interior Ministry has done very little against banned organisations so far, despite making similar statements before. Banned outfits such as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) amongst others took out protest march after protest march in support of Mumtaz Qadri, and did so again on the day of the execution. Others function in the open with slightly changed names and relocated offices. The Interior Ministry’s policy of banning proscribed outfit members from traveling or obtaining bank accounts and SIM cards is a viable one, but on its own it will do nothing; illegal and alternative ways of obtaining all these services are available, and even if they were not it does not put a significant dent on the organisations activities.

The government has taken perhaps the toughest decision; going ahead with Qadri’s execution and it is great to see that their anti-extremist outlook extends to other spheres too. Now it is time to take other hard decisions – shut down the offices of banned outfits, arrest those not complying with the ban, and keep a track of their benign sounding spin-offs.