AS the tension persists due to the TLP issue, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has categorically stated that the Government believes in talks but it cannot be blackmailed.
In a statement on Sunday, he said that an operation was carried out in Lahore after personnel of Police and Rangers were abducted and taken hostage by protestors.
The resolve expressed by the Minister is reflective of the principled approach of the Government in dealing with the ongoing crisis triggered after the arrest of TLP leader and subsequent violent protests as well as decision of the authorities to ban the party.
The law and order situation created by the issue does not bode well for the routine life that is already seriously disturbed due to the fresh wave of Covid-19 with implications for the national economy.
It is in this backdrop that saner elements have been urging both the TLP and the Government to resolve their differences through talks as is done in other democratic societies.
The willingness of the Government to have serious talks with the leadership of the protestors is appreciable and similarly a statement attributed to TLP chief Allama Saad Hussain Rizvi urging his workers to remain calm and call off protest also augurs well.
In fact, after initial talks, 11 policemen who were taken hostage in Lahore have been released and this development might have a salutary effect on the overall environment and success of the dialogue process.
The protestors must realize that it was not justified to take the law into their own hands and damage public and private properties in the name of ‘Namoos-e-Rasalat’.
It is a matter of record that Prime Minister Imran Khan was one of the few leaders of the Muslim world who raised the issues of blasphemy and Islamophobia forcefully at different forums.
However, the tactics being used by protestors have domestic and foreign policy connotations and the Government has to tackle the issue considering all pros and cons.
We hope that the protestors would listen to appeals to remain peaceful and at the same time the Government would resist the temptation of using force against its own people.