Shahryar Afridi defending the indefensible | Pakistan Today

Shahryar Afridi defending the indefensible

  • Appeasing  non-state actors

The PTI has long practiced the politics of accusations without proof for short-term political gains.  Their policy is to dodge the court hearings whenever summoned to present the evidence.  The practice continues even after the party has gained power. This was visible from  Shahryar Afridi ’s speech in Senate on Thursday.

Afridi has given a clean chit to the TLP leadership and its lawless followers. The PTI minister conveniently forgets that the TLP  had given the call for protests against the Supreme Court’s verdict in Aasia Bibi case after sit-ins spread over several days where followers were charged up through provocative speeches.  It is funny that Afridi should instead put the blame for damaging the public and private property on the workers of the opposition parties which had condemned the acts and assured the government of full support. This was acknowledged even by  PTI’s information minister who had thanked the PML-N, PPP and other opposition parties for their maturity and cooperation with the government on the issue of TLP’s violence.

 Interestingly Afridi has accepted the TLP’s claim on its face value that those shown in pictures dragging people out of vehicles and putting buses, cars, and motorbikes on fire were not their sympathisers. He went  a step ahead by  exonerating their treasonous pronouncements and promising not to use stick against them but embrace and engage them in dialogue. This amounts to placating the extremists.

In his October 31 speech Imran Khan had strongly condemned the language used by the TLP  leadership in reaction to  the verdict against Aasia Bibi. “Which government can function when people say kill the judges, do away with the army?” he had thundered. Afridi is now seeking the friendship of these very elements. Is this yet another about-turn by the party, without any qualm of conscience?

 It is a highly shortsighted policy to support those who challenge the writ of the state. A week-kneed government  failed to fulfill its  duty to  stop the mayhem. Then it volunteered to pay billions from the state exchequer to undo  the damage done by the TLP’s  extremists and  is now defending the elements  who abused the courts and tried to spread disaffection  in the army.

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