In the wake of the drone strike that killed former Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the FIA has made a series of arrests in connection with the issuance of a fake Pakistani identity card and passport to the deceased chief. A Pakistani CNIC and green passport with the cover name of Wali Muhammad had been found, miraculously unscathed from the drone attack site, and since then a witch hunt has been carried out to find all those who were the aides and abettors of the notorious man who had successfully gained fake citizenship of Pakistan.

Following this trail of investigation, two Nadra officials, one from the Karachi office and one from Quetta, have been arrested for trying to legitimise Mullah Mansour and his family and children’s identity. Prior to this, the FIA had also summoned Pashin Deputy Commissioner Hafiz Muhammad Tahir to get his statement as he had verified the Pakistani nationality of the Taliban chief for the issuance of his passport in 2005 during his posting in Pashin. Are there criminal charges on the cards for those that were involved in this grievous security lapse? It is unfortunate that Afghan Taliban leaders have continued to find refuge in Pakistan since more than a decade and questions the ineffectuality of this government and the previous ones to protect Pakistan from infiltration of cross border terrorism.

As if breaching Pakistan’s sovereignty was not enough, the United States has stepped up its calls on Pakistan to combat terrorists especially the Taliban leadership. The latest call for action came from a US State Department spokesman who said, “I hope that this is the beginning of a message that we will not tolerate any more the strategic challenge that is posed by the leadership of the Taliban being in Pakistan and having a safe haven there.” It is clear from the language of the message that the Americans have lost patience with Pakistan and are intensifying the pressure by taking the fight to Balochistan, which has been out of bounds for the US up till now. It is a clear message that intervention is not likely unless Pakistan shows that it is ‘serious’ about combating terrorism.

In the aftermath of the drone attack, the situation has greatly changed in the region. Mullah Mansour’s replacement might be posturing to improve Afghanistan’s standing, but it is more likely that the Taliban’s victories on the battlefield have given them renewed confidence. Either way, Pakistan has the ability to keep this confidence at bay, by ensuring that Balochistan is no longer a sanctuary for the leaders. Launch the investigations, make sure other leaders that have been given fake identities are found out and those behind this security breakdown are put behind bars.