The cowardly attack on 14 years old Malala Yousafzai, is a very violent incident, a blow at our society which has sustained so much violence at the hands of religious extremists. Unfortunately for the State, this change of heart on part of our military and the intelligence setup, only encourages and persuades the militants to indulge in the type of ‘militant vigilantism’ that we have witnessed in the form of attack on Malala Yousafzai. Since the state is the very source that taught these militants the lessons of Jihad, it should shed little or no tears when the religious extremists have turned their guns towards the state or anyone that chooses to disagree with the ‘militants form of government or religion’.For all those who are filled with anger and want the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be brought to justice I would like to ask some questions. Who allowed extremism to creep into our society? How could we expect from the military establishment that relied on militancy in failed Kargil Operation of 1999 to give up their beliefs and methods? It was the same establishment which despite retaining absolute power in one state institution failed to amend the blasphemy law in May 2002 when it knee jerked under pressure from protesting hardliners all over the country. It was the same leadership that polarised this society further by mishandling the issue of Lal Masjid in 2007. The hands that hold the weapons today and shot an innocent girl like Malala Yousafzai, are the same hands that were employed by the State, to fight our covert wars. Little did the generals know that the same guns will one day be used to kill our innocent daughter’s?Military in Pakistan was unfortunately allowed to work outside the fold of any central government for too long and with too much autonomy. This enabled the military to create the new ‘ideological frontier’ of which the death squads of TPP are an essential part. The guardians of our territorial frontiers were once the creators and guardians of this ideological frontier that has recruited, armed and trained the perverted minds that indulge in violent acts like the one that severely injured Malala. Who will hold the state accountable for the state patronage that was given to the militants in the past? Will those who ran the affairs of the state or the autonomous and powerful institutions within the state be ever considered as criminals who conducted state crimes?We know that ISI heads in the past used the agency to support the militants as part of the state policy. These promoters of ‘great pan-Islamism’ used and employed militants not for geo-strategic but for purely political reasons. They promoted ‘Islamic nationalism’ by utilising huge funds at their disposal through the dollars stacked in secret ISI accounts that received money from USA and other countries.Utilising power without responsibility, the military dictators used the intelligence agency to create this ‘strategic depth’ that sponsors the cowards that shot Malala Yousafzai. We will not be able to defeat the mindset that harbors and flourishes in the ‘strategic depth’ by only conducting military operations against its believers but by bringing to justice all those who have in the past played a role in its creation. The leadership that formulated and implemented the policy in the past of supporting, arming and training the Islamic militants to fight proxy wars against India and Afghanistan must be made accountable. If this is not done we will have many more leaders playing with the future of this country leaving Mallala, her generation and the next generation to pay the price of their follies.MUHAMMAD ALI EHSAN, Karachi, October 10.