PML-N lawmaker Rana Muhammad Afzal asked a very important question today that warrants an answer, however inadequate. The MP during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs asked, “Which eggs is Hafiz Saeed laying for us that we are nurturing him?" Pakistan has a problem dealing with its non-state actors, and this is largely affecting its ability to level the field on the diplomatic front.

Mr. Afzal was not wrong to point the difficulty and embarrassment Pakistani officials face when they approach the international community to garner support and instead are walled out because of Pakistan’s inability to act against non state actors. India has successfully built such a case against us and our complicated relationship with the JuD chief, that Kashmir cannot be a topic of deliberation without the mention of Mr. Saeed as the bone of contention between Pakistan and India.

PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan addressing a joint session of parliament on Thursday reiterated Pakistan’s international isolation as it is seen to be giving freedom to non-state actors. Mr. Afzal may have begun a chain reaction by coming forward rather bravely and pointing out a problem everyone is afraid to say out loud. PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan addressing a joint session of parliament on Thursday reiterated Pakistan’s international isolation as it is seen to be giving freedom to non-state actors. Mr. Afzal may have begun a chain reaction by coming forward rather bravely and pointing out a problem everyone is afraid to say out loud. Support for his implication is only set to grow. It is no secret that that such actors continue to carry out protests, rallies and speeches in Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi, without any consequences. We need to ask ourselves how and why, they are blamed for international terrorism. Are we waiting for allegations to be proven beyond reasonable doubt? This is about governance, image and security, and not a case in a court. The government does not need proof beyond reasonable doubt to take action at least in legislation and verbal denunciations.

Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa insist that the groups are distinct entities with different operations, and many Pakistani officials honour that distinction. But the United Nations Security Council does not, describing Jamaat-ud-Dawa merely as an alias or front for Lashkar on the international sanctions list. Hafiz Saeed has a bounty of $10 million United States government bounty on him and that’s not because he runs a charity organisation that extends its services to 100 towns and cities across Pakistan. Mr. Saeed insists that “foreign enemies” are plotting against him and accused Western aid agencies of using relief work as a cover for “devious” aims. His answer to address those “allegations” is by operating a network of clinics, seminaries and schools, with his clerics railing against India and the United States at Friday sermons across Sindh and Punjab. But one right cannot correct a wrong.

If the government is willing to send people to jail for seven years for hate speech, then surely it can find an appropriate course of action of an internationally claimed terrorist who has a sizeable bounty on his head.