For over two weeks a group of extremists kept a key intersection on Islamabad Highway choked. They used derogatory language, threatened obscenities and defamed Islam with their words and actions that stood contrary to the very teachings of the religion whose honour they claimed to be upholding.
After weeks of procrastination, police action was finally launched on Saturday, 25th November. However, by the end of the day the operation had been suspended following lack of police coordination and the miscreants had regrouped.
On the other hand, the army, when requested to step in refused to take Khadim Rizvi and his people to task because they were civilians. They however, agreed to protect state installations and key buildings. This tweet, perhaps sums up the frustration of the common Pakistanis.
Dear Army Chief, If you didnt want Pak army to take-up arms against the extremists who were damaging public property & defaming Islam, then by that rule, civilian law enforcement agencies should also give every murderer, thief and rapist a hall pass. #FaizabadDharna #StateFailure
— AreebahShahid (@AreebahShahid) November 27, 2017
The final settlement reached between the state and Tehreek-i-Labaik party (given below) is clearly a failure of the state. I can give a hundred reasons to back my argument but perhaps highlighting these three would serve the purpose.
A Very Dangerous Precedent Has Been Set
The resignation of the State Minister for Law, Zahid Hamid to quell the handful of protesters is an alarming indication of state failure. The state has paved way for miscreants to get their unlawful demands met by gathering a few thousand people, hurling obscenities and damaging public property.
اگر اس طرح استعفے لئے جائیں گے تو کوئی حکومت بھی نہیں چل سکے گی اس روایت کو جنم نہ دیا جائے اصولوں پر سمجھوتہ کسی صورت برداشت نہیں کرنا چاہیے
— muhammad rafiq (@muhamma50663318) November 27, 2017
Giving Leverage to Extremism
By giving a clean chit to Khadim Hussain and his band of troublemakers, the state has in fact given leverage to the extremists.
On one hand our politicians and civil-military bureaucracy talks about cleansing Pakistan from the menace of extremism and on the other hand, it acts to empower extremists like Khadim Hussain who defame Muslims and Pakistanis and create a law and order situation.
You see, the problem was never with protesting. Protests are democratic. However, when the protesters refuse to adhere to the writ of the state, when they put the security and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of citizens in jeopardy, when they attack public installations and damage public and private property, then there is a serious problem that can possibly not be overlooked.
— Sami (@sami1195) November 27, 2017
By calling such people, peaceful members of the society, as mentioned in the settlement, we make an extremely distasteful joke out of Pakistan’s on-going fight against violent extremism and terrorism.
How many more civilians, law enforcers and army jawans will have to lay down their lives before state institutions get on the same page to counter the architects of violent extremism in Pakistan?
Giving a Deaf Ear to the Masses
Pakistani citizens, like the masses in most parts of the globe are deeply divided. In the U.S. and some pockets of Europe there’s an on-going ideological battle raging between white supremacists and rights’ defenders. It is the same in India and Myanmar with a significant segment of their societies demanding an end to Hindu and Buddhist extremism respectively.
The case of Pakistan is not very different. The common citizens are tired of being held hostage by an extremist minority that enjoys immense sway in power corridors and mainstream media.
It is then no surprise, that Pakistanis have reacted with dismay following the settlement between the government and Khadim Rizvi. They are disappointed with the government, the judiciary and the military. The common citizens feel cheated at the hands of those whose utmost responsibility it is to protect them.
Also Read: Captain Safdar and Pakistan’s Ahmedi Phobia
When the state gives a deaf ear to the peaceful majority and instead slumps to the demands of the extremist minority, Pakistanis feel left out in the cold with an acute sense of deprivation and betrayal.
As far as the settlement goes, the score card reads:
- Extremism: 1
- Pakistan: 0