The reaction from the local media gives the confounding impression that the passages from Carlotta Gall’s upcoming book published in the New York Times Magazine reveal some groundbreaking facts previously unknown to all things living. Apart from correspondence attributed to unnamed sources, and certain specific references with regards to former ISI Chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the excerpts only say loudly what is routinely whispered in Pakistan’s power and journalism circles. That there exists an ISI-Afghan Taliban nexus, a chain of state-backed religious seminaries indoctrinating thousands of impressionable youths for the purpose of ‘jihad’ and safe havens for terrorists. Sometimes, undeniable realities are left at the mercy of the words of a single journalist to be recognised as such. That, however, is certainly not the case here.

The truth is that the local media is afraid, and definitely not without reason. A local publication will surely find itself in deep water if it was to audaciously initiate a journalistic probe into the Osama Bin Laden-Abbottabad episode. Anchors will be labeled lying traitors if they it took upon themselves to choose such a controversial topic for discussion during prime-time. But with the NYT Magazine printing what they wish they could, it provides them (read: us) an opportunity to play with fire absent the certainty of fatal burns. Still, of course, the possibility of a deadly outcome can never be completely ruled out while operating in a country where secret agencies do not shy away from ‘fixing’ those who they consider ‘out of line’. Therefore, the little debate that does manage to take place is carefully navigated and controlled to ensure that no unforgivable offence is caused. One can tune into any talk show to witness the phenomenon on full display.

The presence of OBL’s easily noticeable compound in a heavily militarized zone, subsequent statements from higher ups which varied from challenging his presence altogether to conceding but never without claiming complete unawareness and Dr Shakil Afridi’s arrest – are some of the many factors which justifiably raise questions. The rampant violence we’re witnessing in the streets of Pakistan is direct fallout of the state’s misguided policy of using proxies to secure interests. If the country’s current condition fails to deter the state from recklessly treading the dangerous path it chose decades ago, then one wonders what will. It is in the interest of Pakistan’s security establishment to focus more on shutting down controversial programs as opposed to forcibly shutting mouths. The world is abuzz with popular ‘rumours’, and the voices are only growing more confident and louder. Perhaps it’s time for some serious introspection and reform.