The fight between the authorities and Milli Muslim League (MML) continues. Despite the opposition by the Ministry of Interior on the registration of the MML in the upcoming elections due to a report by the intelligence agencies confirming their extremist activities and relations with Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) and Lashkar e Taiba (LeT), JuD amir Hafiz Saeed opened up an MML office in NA-120. He visited the constituency and listened to the civic demands of the people.

This is a gross violation of the institutions of the country and their decisions. MML in the NA-120 by-elections, despite ECP's refusal to register it, arranged a campaign and managed to get double the votes that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) got. For a party to disregard the state and its instructions and resort to hate speech and violence is a direct threat to the writ of the state; and all eyes are currently on Pakistan. Hafiz Saeed and his organisation face international sanctions and censure as was evidenced by the widepread backlash when the court decided to end his house arrest after the government failed to initiate a case against him.

Internationally, this is being portrayed as a result of a weak civilian government; which has no control over policy making. According to prominent international publications the ignominious end of the Faizabad dharna; the mainstreaming of terrorist organisations; the protection provided to the extremists in the country; snubbing all dissenting voices, especially those critical of the army; and the shutting down foreign aid organisations working to improve the social setting of Pakistan – all point towards a dangerous trend of promoting extremist thought. 

The government now needs to re-evaluate its position and gather the machinery to implement its decisions. Precedents need to be set that the writ of the state cannot be challenged, especially in cases of radical organisations. Both the institutions need to find a workable ground and devise policies accordingly. The constant battles to malign each other are not doing any good to Pakistan, which is why neighbouring countries as well as the USA are accusing Pakistan of not doing enough to rid the area of extremism. Hafiz Saeed is a living proof of that.

Action should be taken against Hafiz Saeed and his party and to parties forming alliances with such parties. Pakistan can no longer afford to be painted as the safe haven for terrorists.