The Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi trial saga has come full circle, as it was inevitable supposed to. Four months after the Islamabad High Court granted bail to Lakhvi in the Mumbai terror attack case – which caused massive uproar all over the country, forcing the government t hastily detain him under the Protection of Public Ordinance – Lakhvi’s detention has been declared illegal, and he is free to leave the Adiala jail on bail if he deposits 20 lakh rupees as surety bonds; a mere formality. The government has once more miserably failed at prosecuting Lakhvi’s case, not only has it failed, it seems like it didn’t even try hard this time around. Lakhvi’s conviction could have been the watershed moment this country needed in the struggle against extremism, yet the government’s failure undercuts the progress made since the commencement of the military operation. It makes those stirring parliamentary speeches seem hollow, the symbolic monuments towards the APS victims, duplicitous, and makes the state’s stance on terrorism, hypocritical.

The hypocrisy is so blatant that it insults the public’s intelligence. The original trial was stalled for years, with either the accused, or the judge, or the witness not present at the court premises due to ‘security concerns’. It is an astonishing fact that the state can manage a traditional military parade in the middle of a full-blown war against militants without a hitch, but cannot provide enough security for the proper functioning of a court trial. One only has to compare Lakhvi with the other high-profile resident of Adiala jail to see the government’s intentions –the resident being Ayyan, the supermodel. She is detained in B-class cells and her case is being investigated with an unmatched zeal; the investigators are pulling evidence from all sorts of places, such as CCTV footage and phone records. On the other hand the state does not have enough evidence to convict Lakhvi, who was arrested at a militant training facility, is being detained based on ‘sensitive information’ provided by intelligence agencies and is the self-declared commander of a banned group. One only has to look at his lodgings – a collection of rooms with open visiting hours and access to television and internet – to determine where the government’s loyalties lie.

If the death of 132 children cannot force the government to mend its way; it hard to see what will.