Mr Rex Tillerson was in town around this time last week. The US Secretary of State’s touchdown lasted long enough for him exchange pleasantries with those seated in front of him, perhaps memorise some of the names, enjoy a cuppa or two, and underline the US strategy to end a 16-year-old war either side of a 1,500 km osmotic border that one side doesn’t practically recognise.

Perhaps the limited time duration of the meetup, around the same as a T20 match, was designed because no one on either side of the table was going to say anything new. The ‘list of demands’ that Mr Tillerson touted both before and after that brief matchup with the Pakistani civil and military leadership, amounted to precisely two words that have travelled the proverbial distance from Washington to Islamabad a sufficient number of times to redeem the Haibtullah Akhunzada faction of the Afghan Taliban in air miles.

The Pakistani reps wouldn’t mind the ‘do more’ much, not only because they’ve been desensitised to ubermensch degrees, but also because ‘more’ – a comparative degree – inherently implies that something actually is being done. Beyond clearing the 94.20% of the same areas over and over again there is not much that this ‘more’ could be relative to.

Unless, of course, we do some soul searching.

Two days after Mr Tillerson’s stopover, Mumtaz Qadri won 17,603 votes in the NA-4 by-election in Peshawar. This tally does not include the PTI, whose ticketholders have used Qadri’s images for self-promotion in local bodies elections when the Supreme Court convicted terrorist was alive.

17,603 is the combined count of Tehrik-e-Labaikk Pakistan (TLP) – which not only has Qadri’s images on its posters, the very reason why the group evolving into a party was created was to ‘honour’ him – and Jamaat-e-Islami, whose chief Siraj-ul-Haq thought a week before the by-poll was a good time to remind everyone how he was the ‘only brave politician’ who attended his hero Mumtaz Qadri’s funeral.

So what we cannot really do more is further prevent terrorist-allied parties from contesting elections.

This is also depicted by the Hafiz Saeed linked Milli Muslim League’s (MML) candidate Sheikh Yaqoob winning 5,822 votes in the NA-120 by-election even before the party could be registered.

But truth be told, the government’s admirable resilience, via exchanges of letter between the Interior Ministry and the Election Commission of Pakistan, has ensured that the MML still hasn’t been given an election symbol. Too many parties vying for Hafiz Saeed’s face, perhaps?

The same resilience, however, hasn’t quite been shown vis-à-vis TLP which is neither a direct electoral threat for the ruling party, nor an ego-laden power struggle with the khakis. And of course if the ECP auctions Mumtaz Qadri’s face as an election symbol, Pakistan mightn’t have to go to IMF this year after all.

In between these two by-elections that saw detained Hafiz Saeed and dead Mumtaz Qadri come up on top, in contests prematurely billed as PML-N vs PTI, the most simmering political question in the country was – as eloquently put forward by PML-N’s son-in-law – what Pakistan as a nation should do with Ahmadis.

Ahmadis, a collective group whose biggest imaginable ‘crime’ is following an interpretation of Islam that the majority of Muslims disagree with, were declared everything between traitors of Pakistan to downright wajib-ul-qatl, while those terrorists that the state has proscribed and actually sent to the gallows, hogged election posters without anyone being palpably offended.

Oh but not quite as many Muslims disagree with the Islamic interpretations of these terrorists. Fewer still would disagree with their interpretation of patriotism enough to dub them traitors.

It is for this reason, that we as citizens of Pakistan, especially those of us who are members of Muslim community, should be absolutely outraged by the US and Mr Rex Tillerson’s demands for Pakistan to do more.

Considering what we’ve seen in two by-elections, imagine what might happen in the general elections in a few months’ time if the Pakistani state actually did more than it already is.

The only unquestionable positive of the meeting with Mr Tillerson was that it showed that the civil-military leaders are on the same poster – or is it page? – smiling right next to Mumtaz Qadri and Hafiz Saeed.