Another day goes by, and 24 more lie dead in Quetta in the wake of yet another attack on buses carrying returning Shia pilgrims from Iran. This time, the attack was carried out despite the presence of security personnel from both the Balouchistan Levies and Frontier Corps. The bomb was hidden in an unmarked car, which the FC was about to search when the explosion took place. The Prime Minister and his entourage issued the standard condemnation of the incident, and will undoubtedly feel that they did all they could. The Lashkar-e-Jahngvi claimed responsibility, and stated that this attack, and all the others they had carried out were orchestrated to avenge their Sunni brethren.

Firstly, it is not the majority that bears the brunt of sectarian violence; it is minority groups like the Shia sect that suffer the most. Citing isolated examples of specific incidents where the majority has been attacked serves no purpose considering the damage that LeJ has caused to the delicate balance of Pakistani society, and the fact that they are murdering innocent civilians in their misguided attempt to get one over all the other sects. This is not a game that they are playing, where the number they have killed needs to exceed that of the competition; these are human beings that are being slaughtered for no rhyme or reason. Even so, the thought process of this organization is exemplary, considering that they think that the answer for sectarian violence is more sectarian violence.

These banned outfits have been outlawed for years now, and yet, if anything, their illegality is only helping them. The word ‘banned’ has not disrupted their activities in any way. We all know the who’s, what’s and where’s of these organizations. Whenever there is a need for contact to be established to specific terrorists there seems to be no trouble. The links between our society and extremists are there for all to see. So why is it so hard for our government to tighten its control and stop these attacks before they happen? When Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of the relatively peaceful Punjab announces that ‘miscreants’ are being brought to justice, we all know this is a lie. If that was really happening, these people would not be able to roam the country freely and target civilians at will.  Instead of cracking down on sectarian violence, the government has always given too much room to these banned groups in areas in Punjab, because they lack the will to act. Banning and condemning things is the easy way out. For once, drop the pretence and get cracking.