The Safoora Goth bus attack was a terrible national tragedy – the Sindh government equated it the APS Peshawar attack, and vowed to treat it as such. Yet recent events show that those solemn claims may have been little more than empty words. The two lawyers appointed by the state to be the government’s persecutors in the case have stepped down, saying that they have not been provided adequate security despite repeated requests, and that they have not been remunerated properly.

There seems to be no plausible reason why the government would refuse to provide security to its prosecutor in a case of such significance – the only one that comes to mind is disinterest. Threats to the judiciary and prosecution are the tricks of the trade in Pakistan, and this specific case has already seen its fair share of bloodshed and evidence tampering. A police officer who identified the prime suspect in the attack was gunned down on 22 September – the threat is real. The government’s inability to provide protection to the prosecutors or to the witnesses speaks volumes about the commitment, capacity ad motivation of the government and its law enforcement agencies.

The same Sindh provincial government has raised a deafening clamour over the Rangers presence in Lahore; they disrupt police work, create administrative confusions, and follow their own agenda. The same individuals, at least initially and still principally, opposed the formation of the military courts, saying that it usurped the role of the real courts and make them seem obsolete. With the military establishment contending that all this was necessary due to ineptitude of the law enforcement agencies and the justice system, any reasonable government would have had a point to prove. A reasonable government would have raised the standard of its justice system; it would have tried to wash the blame that sticks so easily to it today – ineptitude. Yet the Sindh government has failed yet another test, let another opportunity go by. As is stands, the Safoora Goth trial is in limbo.