Trading accusations while the country bleeds sounds cynically apathetic. Both the federal and provincial governments ought to have been seriously concerned over the terrorist-sectarian bloodbath besmirching the good name of Pakistan and posing it an existentialist threat. The two governments should be putting their heads together to find a way to stop the rot. There is no point in trying to put each other in the dock. Both, the Centre and Punjab, have high stakes in a peaceful Pakistan where people of different faiths mingle together and live harmoniously.

As the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi is responsible for the Quetta carnage of the Hazara (Shia) community, as the outfit has itself owned it, both the governments should come down hard on it. There should be no second thoughts about putting the accused behind bars; and evidence that is tenable in a court of law must be prepared by the investigating agencies for the court to accord them due punishment. However, this can only be done by demonstrating team spirit and not by hurling allegations of either complicity in the crime or inability to check it. The climate of dissension between the federation and one of its units would not but be exploited by these elements, made bold with religious zeal, to their advantage. Whether inspired by a distorted sense of the teachings of the glorious religious of Islam, or motivated by the extraneous sources hostile to Pakistan, their heinous crime has the potential to destabilise the country. And that should be everyone’s worry, of the entire citizenry as well as of the whole governmental paraphernalia in the country.

It is unfortunate that with skeletons in the cupboard – the years-long target killings in Karachi, the separatist and sectarian forces on the rampage in Balochistan and the rank failure in curbing the Taliban or al-Qaeda caused terrorism – Interior Minister Rehman Malik should be zeroing in on Punjab for the blame. Punjab has no choice but to react as both PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif have. No doubt, law and order is the responsibility of provinces. But then, there can be no question about the statement of Mian Shahbaz that the law and order situation as compared with the other provinces is the best in Punjab. The wave of terrorism that had swept across the province has long since ebbed away and that should go to the credit of the government of the day. Karachi, where the three main political stakeholders have ruled for five years is a standing indictment of their helplessness. There are even reports that their own armed bands might be stirring the pot, and in such a messy atmosphere all sorts of criminals find a fertile ground to make hay. There could be foreign elements inciting violence, as Mr Rehman has said umpteen times, leaving the beleaguered citizens wondering what is holding the government back from rooting them out. The comments would apply, mutatis mutandis, to Balochistan. The need of the hour is to shed the blame game and join hands to make the country free from the terrorist-sectarian plague to pave the way for Pakistan to become a progressive and prosperous land of peace.