While chairing a meeting with senior law enforcement officials the Minister of Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, questioned them about their progress on the investigation into the Asghar Khan case, and upon hearing their tepid response, directed them to “focus their efforts” on the report. While one hopes that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) heeds the words of the Interior Minister, past precedent suggests that that would be an improbable task.

The investigation stems from the allegations against former Chief of Army Staff Gen (retd) Aslam Beg and then DG ISI Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, for conspiring to prevent the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) from taking power in the 1990s. As time bears witness; the government has always had a difficult time when it comes to trying military matters in the civilian courts.

The inability doesn’t seem to come from the lack of evidence or a fundamentally unsound case - but rather from the government’s inexplicable and sudden loss of interest in the proceedings midway through. One would expect the main petitioner to be the party that drives a case forward through its actions, sadly when it comes it military cases, it goes the other way round.

To perfectly illustrate the point, the day after our Interior Minister directed the FIA to focus on the Asghar Khan case, the special court seized with the high treason case against retired General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday ran out of patience for the government’s glacial pace; and issued a show cause notice to joint secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dilshad Ahmed Babar for dereliction of duty.

Apparently the ministry was asked to provide a simple list of properties owned by the Pervez Musharraf, on May 5, but two months later Mr Ahmed Babar claims he still needs more time. In a strong worded - almost paternal - statement, the court chided the Interior Ministry for being “irresponsible” and “wasting the precious time of the court.

Similarly, 26 years have since the infamous “Mehrangate”, and three since the Supreme Court ordered the FIA to investigate criminal activities, yet keeping with the tradition of a midway loss of heart, the investigation still languishes in limbo.

What is the cause of this malady is unknown to us, but the effects are glaring; the prosecution gets busy in other matters, the evidence is fortuitously lost, and on-trial offenders - like Pervez Musharraf - miraculously mange to leave the country before the trials begin.