It seems the state of Pakistan is always ready to offer an NRO for a select few under various pretexts. The agreement signed by the Imran Khan government (it is not a PTI government) with rioters that were protesting against a Supreme Court (SC) decision is a capitulation yet again of the state and an NRO that is always available to deal with threats from an extremist mindset.
It matches Imran Khan earlier desire to have an agreement with TTP as well. The agreement nullifies the speech made by the Prime Minister in which he declared that challenging the writ of the state will not be tolerated. It was this fear of capitulation that made me less hopeful that he will stand his ground. He is a weak leader and he never stood his ground when the going got tough. The persistence he showed in dharna was because he had the assurance of support and guarantee of no retaliation. Cricket field does not develop bravery either.
So now let’s look at the agreement signed by the state with the rioters. The option of the review of the verdict was always available to anyone that wanted to challenge the decision of the SC. So then why did TLP and its leaders decided to pursue the route of violence? Because they wanted to see how much support they will get across the country and to demonstrate that rioters under their umbrella will be protected for all their atrocities.
This will help them recruit more people that are angry with the state and want to take a revenge from it. Ironically the agreement is brokered by the state institution against whose chief derogatory language was used and hate speech was made.
I am not suggesting that state should have used excessive force to deal with them neither am I suggesting that dialogue should not have been held. But the ultimate agreement should have been more balanced rather than complete capitulation which is what it is. What has the state got in return for agreeing to the demands of the rioters? Nothing but a slap on their faces.
I request established religious political parties like Jamat e Islami Pakistan (JIP), JUI F, and JUP (Noorani) to get together and discuss how to deal with the religious extreme right. All of these parties play a significant role in the democratic development and accept the constitution of the country as well as the authority of institutions of the state. The government should have engaged these parties in dealing with the situation and form an understanding to help normalize the situation. Ignoring the role of these parties is pushing them to the extreme right which is unfortunate.
The temporary respite that the government has got should not be mistaken as a permanent solution. Concrete steps need to be taken to contain the growing threat of civil war posed by these organizations. I have no confidence in the government of Imran Khan to have sufficient wisdom, capability, and foresight to develop a roadmap for it. But I will be there if they need help and reach out to me.