Let’s stop all roads to violence | By Prof Dr Muhammad Khan


Let’s stop all roads to violence

THE violent protests by the followers of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have created a stand-still situation throughout the country.

Apart from killing a few people including a police man and injuring dozens, the violence has widely disturbed the routine life of every Pakistani.

In all cities and towns, the protestors of TLP blocked the major roads, traffic junctions, railways lines, routes to hospitals and other activity centres.

The main protests started after Government arrested their leader, Allama Saad Hussain Rizvi. Mr Saad Rizvi, son of Khadim Rizvi, was in fact taken on protective custody after the TLP announced countrywide agitation from April 20.

TLP demand fulfilment of its agreement with Government regarding the expulsion of French Ambassador from Pakistan and imposition of a ban on imports from France.

This is very unfortunate that in Pakistan the mobs and religious groups considered themselves above the law and can undertake any activity at will, may be its results are against the state and the people of Pakistan.

This group had an agreement with the Government in February 2020 about the demands, mentioned above.

In February 2020, TLP had gathered a huge mob at Faizabad (junction between Rawalpindi and Islamabad).

As per the agreement on 11 February 2020, Government promised that, the demands of TLP will be discussed in Parliament of Pakistan before April 2020 for a consensus decision.

The violent mobs and their ferocious activities in the last two days seem to be pressure tactics by TLP leadership.

In the garb of its violent movement for expulsion of French Ambassador and ban on French imports the TLP is indeed fulfilling its political agenda. Recognizing itself as a political party; a religio-political force like JUI and JI appears to be the primary agenda.

The religious sentiments and love with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is indeed being used as a tool.

The State of Pakistan must not allow such acts of violence and terrorism against the State, its infrastructure, people and the property of the people of Pakistan at the hands of non-state actor.

These acts are aimed at further destabilization of the State and its apparatus. The state of Pakistan has suffered unprecedented human losses in the last two decades. TLP is a new religio-political group came into being in 2017.

Under the leadership of its founding father Mr Khadim Hussain Rizvi, during the Faizabad sit-in in November 2017, TLP challenged the sitting Government of PML (N) for its spontaneous demands.

The TLP Dharna, in November 2017 witnessed a worst jam for over 20-days between Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

It caused major inconvenience to the people of Pakistan, the educational institutions, hospitals, offices and, above all, the business community of the two cities. “PTI chief Imran Khan, in the opposition at the time, took an equivocal stance instead of condemning the TLP.”

Indeed, at that time TLP was used for the political gains and now they had taste of it and the return TA/DA. TLP took part in the 2018 elections and gained huge number of votes and seats too.

It is unfortunate that religio-political groups are challenging the state and its institutions. They should not have been supported in 2017 and thereafter.

The violence witnessed during the gathering of TLP is not less than terrorism which Pakistani State and society fought for over two decades.

It was after a prolonged struggle, the defence forces of Pakistan have won a dreadful war against a clandestine and unstipulated enemy in the last two decades.

Internationally, this war was named as global war on (against) terror, named by United States after the unfortunate incident of 9/11.

The incident took place in the United States, conducted by clandestine Arab nationals with cryptic planners and Afghan soil was selected for the retribution while threatening Pakistan of dire consequences, in the event of its non-cooperation.

The planners of this war had foresightedly and discreetly chosen the target, since Afghanistan was already ruined, sequel to Soviet invasion and non-stop civil war among various Afghan factions.

It was the national strength, the element of being resilient and, above all, the will to survive with dignity which enables the Pakistani nation to stand behind its valiant armed forces during the entire period of combating the terrorists of all kind.

These terrorists were very well trained with sophisticated war munition and, above all, having an unremitting and solid logistic tail, cannot be managed by non-state actors. The planners of this evil game are now trying the alternative strategy.

The dynamics of this strategy include harnessing the religio-political forces for; creating chaos, political instability, ceasing economic activities, creating unemployment for mobilizing the masses and ultimately paving theway for a civil war like situation in the country. This all is being planned to create instability in the country.

Earlier the so-called Azadi March was organized by Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his religio-political party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in November 2019.

It was unfortunate that some main stream political parties also joined the Moulana in this unjustified road to chaos in Pakistan.

That march did not achieve anything except disrupting the masses and state’s routine functioning. The repeated protests of TLP are also causing a great discomfort to the people of Pakistan.

These violent protests neither serve State of Pakistan nor provide any service to the Great Religion; Islam.

Islam is a religion of peace and love; it does not allow violence and lawlessness in any form. Therefore, let’s stop all roads to violence, intolerance and militancy in Pakistan.

Peace, tolerance national harmony and unity among the masses is the only way forward for a stable and prosperous Pakistani society in the comity of nations.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.