Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Editorial

November 4, 2018
Advertisement

Capitulation

Editorial

November 4, 2018

Share

The PTI government has negotiated as complete a surrender as possible. For three days, the TLP’s violent members shut down the nation’s cities, threatened law and order and routinely called for mass assassinations of the country’s leaders. Their reward was an agreement that makes quite a few concessions for them. As per the document signed by the government, there will be no government opposition to any review petition that seeks to overturn Aasia Bibi’s acquittal. The government will also begin the process of putting Aasia Bibi’s name on the Exit Control List. Further, those who were responsible for the deaths of any TLP protesters will face legal action while anyone who was arrested during the protests will be immediately released. The terms of the surrender have a fifth, almost farcical, point tacked on as the TLP, as an afterthought, added an apology for anyone they may have hurt.

The only reaction to this document of surrender should be shame. Everyone who was responsible for this agreement has endangered the lives of Aasia Bibi and everyone who was involved in her case. Her lawyer has already fled the country and others may have to follow as the state has shown that is willing to out the lives of its citizens in danger in order to appease violent extremists. The writ of the state, rule of law – everything seems to have been mocked in this willingness to place on the ECL a woman who has been declared innocent by the highest court in the land. The point is certainly not whether Aasia Bibi will be able to leave the county – which one hopes she will. The point is the dangerous precedent such appeasement sets.

Thanks to the PTI government, the TLP is now stronger than ever. It had already become a force to be reckoned with when the previous PML-N government negotiated a similar surrender after the Faizabad dharna. As this hate group keeps collecting scalps, it will only be emboldened to go farther next time. Particular criticism needs to be reserved for paper tiger Prime Minister Imran Khan. The day of the verdict he appeared on television talking tough. No one could dare challenge the writ of the state, he said – and the people of the country applauded. As the government readied itself to surrender and barter someone’s fate, he was safely in China. One line of argument that is being deployed is that the government had no choice as it wanted to avoid a bloodbath that would create more martyrs for the extremist cause. This is a false binary. The protests around the country were not particularly large. The state has great experience in breaking up such gatherings, having done so many times in the past against human rights activists, lawyers and doctors – without resorting to extreme violence. It seems the state just did not have the appetite to take on the TLP. The fact is that the Government’s decision to agree to the demands of the TLP is to give credibility to their narrative and legitimise their violence and provocations, while delegitimizing the state’s own ability to enact violence. More disturbingly, all signs from history show that this affair is not over yet. The bowing down to the demands of the mob will have consequences.

Advertisement

Comments