A spectre from the past has risen to haunt the living, and some of the living actually want him to stay. The Abbottabad raid, Memogate, and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are words that may exist in the back of the government’s head, but have disappeared from the daily vernacular and debate. On Wednesday however, in response to a column by former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani – in which he claimed then President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were aware of the visas issued to CIA operatives on the ground before the raid – the government has called for a commission to investigate these “serious claims” and one government minister has even petitioned the Supreme Court to charge the trio for treason. It seems like we are back in 2011.

True concern and outrage at the revelations is only a small part of these actions – after all they are not revelations at all. Husain Haqqani testified the same to Abottabad Commison investigating the fiasco, and the fact that the government helped the US nab Osama Bin Laden is common knowledge – Asif Ali Zardari claimed as much in an article published in The Guardian a day after the raid. Why the entire ruckus then?

The answer lies closer at home. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is far from the steadfast government ally of the Dharna days and is fast positioning itself as an opposition to contend with. The pot shots its leaders have taken against the government have not gone unnoticed, nor have its diametrically opposed positions on issues such as Panama and the military courts. With the Supreme Court verdict on Panama expected any day, anyone and everyone is fair game, and the government has come out swinging.

It is unfortunate that it has resorted to exhuming long buried skeletons to do this job. The issue of Pakistani assistance to US during the Abbottabad raid is a dead issue, if it even was a legitimate issue at all. One has to question why the Parliament has forgotten the exigent issues of the present – such as an ongoing military operation in the face of a renewed terrorist threat – to fetishise over an issue from 6 years ago that has no bearing whatsoever on present day Pakistan?

Fighting mud-slinging with mud-slinging seems to be the only reason. In the end, the government can form any manner of commissions it wants but the result would be the same as in 2011 as far as top PPP leadership is concerned, and it would be a monumental waste of everyone’s time. It’s better to focus on current problems – we have enough of those as it is.