I don’t want to comment on the investigations being carried out by Pakistani LEAs whether Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is behind the Pathankot airbase attack; truth will surface shortly provided we realize the extent of role being played by non-state actors thanks to our nation-wide ostrich-like approach. My question is —- what is the definition of a banned outfit? Let’s forget interior ministry and NECTA websites will ever help you in this regard; should be grateful if they provide even a list of banned outfits! But it’s a fact that JeM was banned in 2002, but does it mean — it’s permitted to maintain bank accounts, operate religious seminaries and party office, maintain an interactive website, publish hate material and jihadi literature, its supporters are allowed to arrange gatherings addressed by leadership? JeM is such a blue-eyed boy that it didn’t bother to even change its name as its counterparts did after 2002 — LeT became JUD, SSP became ASWJ. Why authorities remained so relaxed towards JeM for that long — because they don’t attack Pakistanis? What an ill-thought Catch-21 scenario; if a banned outfit limit itself to cross-border terrorism, then what about our national mantra — “we will not permit our soil to be used against other countries for terrorism”. Don’t we feel shame repeating this mantra day-in and day-out?


Saudi Arab, January 15.