Back in 2013, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) acquitted Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad in five cases in which he had been charged with conspiracy against the state and attacking government due to a lack of evidence. Seven cases, including Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Badiuzzaman’s murder dating back to the 1990s, were pending against Muhammad and the man is the father in law of terrorist-in-chief Mullah Fazlullah. At the time the ATC also acquitted him in a case in which he had been charged with conspiracy against the state, and attacking government institutions. This time around, he is not so lucky and the ATC seem to be not so useless at its job. The head of the banned outfit is now charged with treason and sedition for declaring the government of Pakistan ‘un-Islamic’ in a speech. As for the son-in-law, Mullah Fazlullah, there is a US$100,000 bounty on his head, placed by the KPK government. It is hoped that someone claims this lump sum very soon.

The notorious ATCs have been extremely lax in their job in the last few years. These men have been in and out of courts for years on numerous charges and there has never been enough evidence to catch them. Either the judges have been pawns in the hands of power interests or the prosecutors have been incompetent or deceitful. What new evidence has surfaced today, that did not exist two years ago with regards to the hateful statements the man has been making for a decade? Sufi Muhammad has been behind all the fighting in Malakand, Swat and Kohistan in the 1990s. His outfit took over Swat airport and remained in control of the airport for a good ten days or more. It has taken twenty years for his acts to be finally considered terrorism? Shame on our governments for taking this long to call a spade a spade.

With an estimated 423 cases, including those involving Mullah Fazlullah and Sufi Muhammad forwarded to military courts for trial, it seems to be a time for a grand reckoning. Maybe Abdul Aziz and Hafiz Saeed will be next.