After prolonged protests by the medical community in Quetta, their colleague, Dr Saeed Khan, managed to secure his release from his captors but only after paying a huge ransom of Rs 15 million. This is a serious reflection on the writ of the state, besides pointing to a complete failure of the security agencies working in Balochistan. On the one hand, his release vindicates the position of intelligence agencies which invariably get the blame for kidnappings; on the other hand, it provides evidence that the provincial government, Frontier Constabulary and the police have no clue to who are actually behind the spate of disappearances and other acts of terrorism. It is understood that the money obtained as ransom is a major source of funds of terrorist and extremist group, operating in the troubled province freely.

Now that Dr Saeed is a free man, it is the duty of provincial authorities and security agencies to pursue those who were behind his kidnapping. After all, the money has been paid to someone somewhere. It may also be noted that before the Supreme Court in its interim judgment asked the intelligence agencies to produce around 100 persons who had disappeared, the general impression was that their number ran into thousands. Doctors in Quetta, who collected money to pay ransom, must call off their strike to attend to the ailing patients to win support of the local population.