Not quite knowing how to deal with internationally declared terrorist Hafiz Saeed and the organisations that he leads - Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and charity wing Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), the Government of Pakistan appears to be making an effort of mainstreaming these institutions politically in the hope of reining in their militant activities, claims an editorial.
The editorial, which has been published by the Dawn, says, "Faced with the conundrum of how to accommodate this large body of militants, especially given the official policy of cracking down against extremism in all its manifestations, the state - or certain elements of it - has adopted the path of mainstreaming them."
"The government's inability to build a prosecutable case against JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, and its unsuccessful attempts to have his detention extended, has made the task more difficult," the editorial adds.
Under global pressure to act firmly against extremists and their outfits if it does not want aid to be stopped, the Pakistan government has initiated action through the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), wherein, the corporate sector regulator has prohibited registered companies from donating cash to entities and individuals included in the consolidated list issued by the UN Security Council's sanctions committee.
The government has already prescribed a penalty of up to Rs.10 million for those violating the sanctions regime. The SECP's latest measure is reportedly specific to the FIF, which like the JuD, is listed as an affiliate of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba.
According to the editorial in the Dawn, there are examples globally of former militant outfits laying down arms and even evolving into political entities. The decommissioning of the Irish Republican Army is an example.
For the sake of credibility, it is essential that such groups must expressly abjure violence, as did the IRA. The international community has to be convinced that the FIF's charitable activities do not mask a more sinister agenda. So far, Pakistan has not been able to ensure that this criterion has been met, claims the editorial.
The JuD predictably has accused the government of kowtowing to Western powers.
The editorial concludes by saying that the "government should not allow JuD to obfuscate the matter; instead, it must clearly explain why it has taken this step and what has necessitated this action now. Measures against militancy may coincide with Western expectations, but they are ultimately in Pakistan's own interest.