Malik Ishaq’s release in Rawalpindi –the seat of deep events- is a deep event and an event predictably suppressed in the media. However, that Malik Ishaq has been freed does not come as a surprise. The soft corner that some of the stalwarts of the PMLN government have for the terrorists and sectarian killers is well known to all. The fusion of the PMLN with Saudi governing interests is as much political as economic. When the interior minister of the country and the law minister of the largest province openly sympathise with the terrorists then let’s not harbour any hopes for firm prosecution, let alone justice. Unfortunately, this only encourages further violence and is reminiscent of so many past trials where justice was never served to the perpetrators responsible for sectarian violence. So, we are describing a phenomenon that occurred not just once, but consistently, almost predictably. There is a long list of SSP/AWSJ/LeJ killers who were apprehended by the police but set free by the state and then continued their activities, including spewing hatred against the minorities and killing Shias, Barelvis, and Ahmedis.
The Pakistani government’s negligence has created a climate of impunity that encourages further assaults. The government knows well that accountability could serve as a deterrent, and would demonstrate that the government is interested in addressing the issue through application of the rule of law and not just reconciliation sessions with the perpetrators of violence. But this whole episode illustrates what has become all too common in recent Pakistani history, the way in which secret Jihadist policies can take priority over the public interest, even to the point of leading to indiscriminate mass murders or targeted killing of minorities.
Past three decades of our history have witnessed an on-going cover-up of a jihadist and terrorist infrastructure.
These decades of protection for terrorists and jihadists demonstrate the power and importance of this extra dimension to the Pakistan deep state: the dark forces in our country responsible for breeding jihadists and protecting terrorists, with the collusion of the successive democratic governments institutionalized since 1988 and then –after a hiatus- after 2008. This deeper dimension of the deep state, behind its institutional manifestation in our elected governments is a far greater threat than the terrorism that pours forth from Waziristan. Although it is unsafe to define these dark forces, every Pakistani knows that they are related to the black hole at the heart of the complex Military-Jihadist connection, a complex that involves the likes of Taliban, SSP, and JuD and Pakistan’s constant sponsoring of militants in Afghanistan. It is time to consider the extent to which Pakistan’s state has developed a symbiotic relationship with the forces it is supposed to be fighting.
Whether or not that happens, for now Malik Ishaq is free to kill more Shias. If the State of Pakistan had known to detain this man hundreds of lives might have been saved.