Scared of standing by the Supreme Court

  • PTI now calls upon ulema and civil society to take on TLP

It is difficult to take the statement of any of the PTI’s leaders at its face value. There is a possibility of the person or his party going back on what he says within days leaving everyone in the lurch.

The media was all praise for Imran Khan when referring to the TLP agitators he thundered, ‘Do not clash with the state…The kind of language used today and the narrative that there should be opposition against the judiciary… If you continue doing this… let me make it clear to you… the state will fulfill its duty [and] protect people’s properties and lives.” For three days the PTI resorted to violence, setting fire to state and private property while the government looked at the mayhem impassively, refusing to lift a finger to protect people’s lives and properties.

As if this was not enough Shehryar Afridi defended the TLP leadership while chiding those criticising the TLP for using derogatory language against the judiciary, military and government. He said they had apologised, so the matter ended there. What is more after shown photographs of the rioters, TLP leaders had denied any one of the rioters belonged to their network. The state, Afridi said, would not use the stick against the TLP leadership but embrace and engage them in dialogue!

Three day after what Shehryar Afridi said comes another about turn. This time by the PTI’s information minister. He says recent protests had “nothing to do with religion, but were about politics”. He urged religious leaders and members of society to take ownership of fight against extremist ideology, i.e., that of the TLP. Recognising that the TLP has weapons while their opponents don’t, he still encourages people belonging to religious segments and members of civil society to come forward to counter such groups.

If it is the task of unarmed members of society to protect the lives and property of the people against a highly motivated and well-equipped gang of extremists, what is the government meant for? Can a week-kneed administration reversing it stand every other day run the country for five years?