Uzair Baloch’s long and complicated saga seems to be finally coming to a close. The Pakistan Army early Wednesday morning said it had taken the notorious leader of the Lyari gang war, into custody in accordance with the Pakistan Army Act. Having been arrested last year in Karachi by the Rangers, he was under trial for over 35 separate cases including charges of murder and violence against police – the latest of which, for an attack on the police in 2012, he was acquitted last week for lack of evidence. However, the nature of the charges against him is different now, his crime is espionage for a foreign government, and he will be tried by the military courts themselves.

If the past conviction rate of these courts is anything to go by, it can be expected that Uzair Baloch will end up behind bars. This is not solely because he is being tried by the military. The 13 page confessional statement written by Baloch a year ago admits to passing information about Pakistani military installations to Iranian spies in Chabahar, and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) concluded the same last year. The case against Uzair Baloch had been made a year ago; it is the timing of his espionage trial that is more surprising.

With the Indian spy Khulbushan Jadhav having been arrested near the Iranian border, and admitting to interference in Karachi, the Uzair Baloch case has implications for the Jahdav verdict and vice versa. Both incidents shore up the government’s narrative – that India, with assistance from Iran, was interfering in Balochistan and instigating unrest in Karachi. As Indian pressure on Jahdav ratchets up, Uzair Baloch will be an important aspect of the government’s reply.

This development does mean that the past crimes of the Lyari gangster – for which he was associated with Sindh political parties – will be overlooked for a moment. National security takes precedence, and the Lyari gang violence will be set aside to focus on spy games.