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Newspost

December 8, 2017

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The siege

The siege

For over 21 days, the capital was besieged by about 2,000 activists led by a relatively unknown Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi. These protesters were armed with batons, axes, firearms, teargas equipment and gas masks and were housed in tents with generators. Who supplied and funded them with food remains a mystery? That they challenged the writ of state and got away with it is a sad and bitter reality. It is ironic that these self-proclaimed guardians of religion indulged in obscenities, arson, violence – all of which are viewed unfavourably in Islam. What triggered this protest was an error in the election oath. Even after the issue was settled by correcting the error, this group called TLYRP shot up to overnight prominence, owing to an obliging electronic media, an incompetent government and unknown aiders and abettors.
Pakistan’s survival as a sovereign nation state lies solely in adopting the Quaid’s vision of modern democratic welfare state. We must never forget 1977’s Tehreek Nizam-e-Mustafa led by Mufti Mahmood who had a political constituency and was elected as MNA in 1962. This was followed by his victory from D I Khan in the 1970 elections. Mufti Mahmood also led a coalition with secular NAP as CM in 1972. Whatever the professed objectives of the Nizam-e-Mustafa movement were, the fact is that it facilitated Ziaul Haq to impose martial law in this country from 1978 till his death in 1988. Zia, who was notorious for his ruthless crackdown in the 1970 Black September insurgency in Jordan – in violation of his assignment as part of Pakistan’s military training mission – plunged Pakistan into an endless war to fight Soviet Union aided by the US. This sowed seeds for religious intolerance, terrorism and extremism that continue to haunt Pakistan.
Malik Tariq Ali
Lahore

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