The revelation that the killers of Sabeen Mehmood, a social activist of Karachi, had active links with the clerics of Lal Masjid , would not be a surprise, if she had not died amidst the furore of the army over the Balochistan talk (banned in Lahore before it took place in Karachi). The timing of her murder will always be a question mark, even with the TTP claiming the attack, and evidence about the Lal Masjid link coming to light. We live in times when the tradition security apparatus is changing and so is the strategy of our military and intelligence forces. It is clear now that they do not stand with the extreme right, not even for purposes of strategic depth. But it is unclear where they stand and what trouble (or damage control) they have done on the issue of Baloshitan’s missing persons. In the larger sense, the point is the ultimate security of the state, but at what cost? It is natural that people will be sceptical of the killing not having the hand of the establishment behind it, and hopefully the army and intelligence agency can realize that a bit of scepticism is natural and will continue until the killings stop. However, this does not mean that the militants at Lal Masjid are exonerated.

The objectives of these clerics, and their like, are to turn the state into an entity, which only follows their own dictates in the name of Islam. Their ruthlessness in this regard became obvious when one of their leaders, Maulana Abdul Aziz shamelessly declined to declare the martyrs of Pakistani Military as ‘Shaheed’ in public. This has not yet been forgotten, we have lost many lives in the fight against extremist violence. It is ironic that the General who had the courage to wage action against these bigots is facing cases of murder in the lower courts but no one has raised his voice against those who killed the officers and jawans during the battle at Lal Masjid . As we criticise the military and the “establishment” for its hand in our crises, we cannot let people like Maulana Aziz escape the blame.

It is quite upsetting that the killers of Sabeen Mahmud are being accused of having relations with a religious political party, which has a history of directly, or indirectly being in league with these hardened terrorists. The silence and inaction of the political government in this regard is quite concerning. It is a fact that the PMLs of all hues have always had a rightist bent but the situation has now gotten to such an extent that those in power will have to significantly transform the narrative regarding the creation and running of the Pakistani state. A lot will now depend on the intellectual capacity of those occupying the corridors of power as well as how the military continues to handle the situation.