As Qari Ahsanullah of the Madaressah Haqqania launched a familiar, and clumsy, tirade against the government law enforcement agencies, calling them ‘American agents’ and feigning oppression, one is forced to wonder what counts as a legitimate police action in the opinion of the learned seminary administrator.

The police raid arrested four men for their alleged involvement in the Attock attack, based on intelligence that pinpointed their presence at the Madaressah Haqqania in Islamabad. In and of itself, this is enough to justify any police raid, but the culpability of the Qari doesn’t end there. On Monday, the seminary provided false information to the capital police, hiding the presence of the same ‘outsider’ that was arrested during the raid. Furthermore, Qari Ahasanullah himself features on the Islamabad police’s watch list under the Fourth Schedule of the Anti Terrorism Act since 2009, for spreading sectarian hatred and hate speech. He is lucky he wasn’t arrested too. The police too acted within bounds; no one was harmed, no property was damaged, and the door was only broken down because the meek and innocent seminary inhabitants had, quite guiltily, barred it from the inside. Despite the fact that the raid was lawful, and was carried out to capture the alleged perpetrators of a horrific bomb attack that killed the Punjab Home Minister and 18 others, Qari Ahsanullah found it objectionable – ‘oppressive’, in his own words.

The learned Qari –who is also a prominent leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) – is not alone in his misdiagnosis of police investigations as foreign conspiracies. He is joined by the usual suspects, who may not be openly supporting the “just cause” of the Taliban anymore, but are still acting as impediments in bringing them to justice. On Saturday, Senate Deputy Chairman and JUI-F Secretary General Maulana Abdul Ghaafoor Haidari called on Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Secretary General Liaqat Baloch to discuss a formation of a pan-Pakistan Islamic alliance in the mould of the MMA. Their objective: to stop the secularisation of Pakistan and protect seminaries against action carried out under the NAP. One may have sympathised with their sense of victimisation if criminals were not being arrested day and night from the same seminaries they seek to protect. If the seminaries are truly innocent, then the seminaries should have no problem with increased inspections, in fact they should be clamouring to be inspected, to free themselves from the taint of terrorism. Yet they resist, violently, and the JUI and the JI would have us believe they have nothing to hide.

The obfuscation by the religious parties is unprincipled, damaging, self-serving, and frankly, old. Their feverish slogans still call the law enforcement “American agents”, even when the US has long abandoned the region. What more proof do we need of their self-created victimisation?