While the madness in Islamabad and the blast in Lahore are two seemingly unconnected issues, the fact that both incidents happened at the same time should shock us all into seeing the tenuous balance between extremist ideology and a more moderate one that Pakistani society currently rests between. One false move could send us over the edge on the wrong side. The bombing raises the old questions of the efficacy of the operation and the government’s attempts to de-radicalise the state. And one only has to look at the rhetoric being used at D-chowk to understand the severity of the other problem. Leaders of Tehreek-I-Labaik-Ya-Rasool Allah are openly advocating murder for anyone that supports changes in blasphemy law and yet the government prepares a team to negotiate. Leaders such as Sarwat Ijaz Qadri and Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi cannot be negotiated with, because they openly support sectarianism and spew hate speech on a daily basis. Is there a contingency plan in place?

The one thing that both the public and the government are complicit in is establishing this ideological battle as a religious war. This is not a religious war, but a political one. It is not a war between two opposing religious ideologies. After each attack like that one in Lahore, the first thing the public and the government collectively do, is denounce the terrorists as non-Muslims. Meanwhile, the terrorists are doing the exact same thing, calling all of us infidels, and hence making all civilians targets in this war.

The Sunni Tehreek is no different; their threats are leveled at those they see as adherents of a different Muslim school of thought. While its protesters wreak havoc in the capital, other supporters also led out a rally against the Gulshan-e-Iqbal blast on Monday. The inconsistency in their stance and the constant display of force tells us that their politics is not democratic, but pinned on unrest and increasing fractures to exploit within society. This war is strictly political, and when the government makes it religious, it automatically concedes ground to both the terrorists and the coalition of Barelvi groups sitting on the streets in front of Parliament. The government needs to admit that mistakes have been made by both the regime and the establishment, and that the terrorists and the extremists that are making a heedless stand in Islamabad to make Mumtaz Qadri a Martyr and obtain the release of known propagators of hate speech are a creation of the state. Looking to solve this problem can only come after.