In situations like the one we have in Pakistan right now, people in power are forced to answer questions that a) they don't have answers to, and b) don't have simple answers to begin with. So the general vagueness surrounding Rehman Malik, and the plain inanity surrounding Rana Sanaullah are just functions of the environment they've been thrust into. They simply do not know how to deal with the public relations aspect or, for that matter, the strategic security aspect of it. So, with each passing day, our leadership is pushed further into various corners with plenty of in-their-face sort of questions.
Take the entire South Punjab aspect, which has been 'trending' quite heavily in the national press over the last few weeks. There has been talk to suggest that a military operation might be considered to weed out terrorism from within Punjab, which naturally initiated prompt negative responses from the bastion of negativity, Rana Sanaullah, and the less inane (and very old) Zulfiqar Khosa. In fact, , in an interview with Samaa TV after the Jinnah hospital incident, Rana Sanaullah, was quick to point out that the arrested terrorist 'comrade' had recieved training, brainwashing and everything short of breast feeding in Miranshah and 'other such Northern places'. Basically, in so many words, Rana sahab made it clear that South Punjab has nothing to do with terrorism.
The PML leadership in Punjab is uncomfortable at the thought of confronting the existence of terror factories in its own backyard. The reasons for the awkwardness, however, are clearly not straightforward.
First of all, any elected government would be loathe to take the blame for the fact that a seemingly international terrorist network was being cultivated and groomed right under their noses. This would either push them in the uncomfortable position of admitting to a clear case of negligence, or the even more uncomfortable position that the government was somehow passively (or dare i say actively) complicit in the cultivation of said networks. Its that second, more dangerous, aspect that brings me to the next reason of complexity. Sectarian organizations have received support from mainstream parties (and the army) in the Punjab for nearly 2 decades. The simple reason behind this is that political expediency has been preferred over principled politicking. The SSP was a valuable ally when it used to be an electoral force - as a good counterweight in assembly politics and swinging elections in several cities. They still command a significant following in districts that have sectarian faultlines, (such as Jhang and Lodhran), hence their position as solid electoral assets is crystallized. When you start considering openly militant groups as requisite 'assets, you're simply granting them space for operating AND in one sense, giving them legitimacy of action.
This near-hypocricy of sorts in determining which places can breed terrorists and which can't have as much to do with regional affiliations as they do with how people imagine certain spaces as opposed to others. The example of FATA is a classic case of rhetoric-determined imagination. All this talk about Tribal areas as the hotbed of terrorism has simply reified the image of fiery clan-based warriors being rooted to the cause of militancy to the point of being inhumane. These angst-filled Pakhtuns, who live in the far far away land of FATA, are prone to all sorts of indoctrination (since they're so simple-minded), after which they proceed to climb out of their caves to cause mayhem in the lives of the peaceful inhabitants of the Indus plains.
This orientalist gaze upon the tribal regions was not only cast in the coverage by the western press, it was equally present in the domestic English press as well. So when captured terrorists turn out to be darker-skinned peasant types from Rahim Yar Khan, the clear inaccuracy of the terrorist stereotype is exposed, and the Punjab government is put into aforementioned difficult corners. Complacency in issues regarding good governance is still digestible because it remains the norm in the country. But complacency in the security sphere is just a way of letting reactionary militancy assert itself - with the cost being borne by the general public.
Right-wing discourse thrives with state patronage and the decline of competing paradigms, both of which have been prevalent across Pakistan. Theoretically speaking, Madrassas can be built in all those parts where the public does not ascribe to competing narratives. Slowly and surely, state and society have arrived at the confluence of a particular brand of exclusivist religiosity, which has ultimately crowded out the space for all those who disagree with whatever this larger vision proposes. I think the first sensible step would be to admit that the problem is real, internal and of immediate concern. We would then be in a position to proceed with the other 4-5 stages of grief.