The secret is out and the world is watching. Whispers and reserved gestures have now given way to direct allegations. On Monday, the three-member bench of the Supreme Court while hearing the missing persons case, made it explicitly clear that it could not turn a blind eye towards the unhelpful role of the intelligence agencies. The court was unequivocal about the involvement of agencies in the disappearances of hundreds of citizens, and insisted on bringing the rampant extra-judicial activities to immediate halt. However, this is not the first instance of tongue-lashing by the court. Regretfully, the drill has become all too familiar now. Courts, human rights organisations and even parliamentarians have time and again raised serious concerns over enforced disappearances but, to no avail.  

What’s worse is that the ongoing proceedings give the impression that people are living in the Wild West, and there is no elected government in the country. And if there is one, which is becoming increasingly hard to believe, it is hopelessly silent on the unlawful murder and abduction of its citizens. Will the “heavily mandated” third-term Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, tell the nation what exactly his government is doing to curb this menace? The facts present a clear answer: absolutely nothing. It is about time that the perpetrators face the music. The country can no more afford to be made the laughing stock of the whole world. The problem is simple, and the solution is available.

Lack of accountability of any institution will naturally lead to undesirable, and in this case in particular, horrific results. The intelligence agencies are no exception. No one even knows who they answer to, assuming that they do so in the first place. Some speculate it’s the interior ministry, others claim that the defense ministry is in charge, but either way, the ultimate responsibility lies with the PM. Clinging to the defense portfolio alone is not enough, sir. A lot more will have to give.  The truth is that the agencies are out of line. Their ‘work’ has made it abundantly clear that they have no regard for the law as well as its officers. With irrefutable evidence implicating them in the disappearance of several civilians, they have maintained a poker face throughout, and refused to acknowledge the rule of law. The PM should reel them in, make them answerable for their actions as everyone must be and devise an effective mechanism which shuts the doors for such ‘adventurism’ and dispensation of arbitrary justice in the future. Traitor, murderer or a pickpocket, everyone deserves to have their day in court.