If ever the government needed any validation on the infinitesimal attention span of the populace, it sits before them in the form of the Model Town incident of June 17th, 2014. It has now been eight months since 14 members of the public were shot to their deaths on the streets of an upscale neighbourhood in the heart of Lahore, and over 100 people injured by bullets and police beatings. The entire episode was being broadcast live on the nation’s televisions, as the Punjab police under the leadership of the provincial and federal PML-N government massacred unarmed activists. In the aftermath of the tragedy, provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah was asked to step down in a terribly concealed facade of accountability, where he was praised publicly for his services to the homeland, most significantly claiming the role of Chief Scapegoat for the entire affair. The PML-N government survived the Model Town massacre, and it survives it every single day since June 17th.

The frequently tragic social and security landscape has done a great service to the grit and resilience of the sitting government. There is a continuous onslaught of distractions demanding and diverting the attention of the populace at all times, and so holding them to task for any single tragedy becomes impossible. Yet, there are few cases of state violence in our recent history as brazen as the Model Town incident. Though the state frequently throws its weight around in the information black hole that is Balochistan, against minorities and the helpless every single day, this was urban Lahore and as close to “home” for the PML-N as it could get. Yet, where is the first slither of accountability? Where is the citizenry, the civil society demanding that justice be delivered? On Wednesday, the Lahore High Court expressed serious concerns that the Punjab government was actively protecting the culprits and sitting on the judicial inquiry report. The report is still not being made public, because the government needs time to prepare a fitting reply.

For eight months, the government has not had the time to draft a reply to the massacre of its citizens by its own police force in the heart of its roost. For eight months the murderers and officials in charge have been living the lives of free men protected by the PML-N. On what basis can the government withhold the findings of an independent judicial commission? Is that not the whole purpose of an independent inquiry into the matter? The Model Town killings could well be the undoing of this government; those seeking justice must realise the gravity of the inquiry’s findings and ensure that it is made public as early as possible.