TLP’s Protests Across Pakistan After Arrest of Chief Saad Rizvi:
Pakistan has a long history of protests and sit-ins in the name of religion. Now and then, a new religious matter arrives on which state and citizen stand eyeball to eyeball. The arrest of Allama Saad Rizvi, Tehreek-e Labbaik (TLP) Pakistan, caused country-wide TLP’s protests.
Followers of TLP blocked highways and motorways across Pakistan. Netizens responded by making #TLPNationWideProtest and #WeStandWithSaadRizvi top trends on Twitter that showcase that TLP enjoys huge favour in public.
How it Started:
On Sunday, Saad Rizvi called on his followers to ‘be ready ‘ to face the government. He said that the deadline for the government to expel the French ambassador out of the country was nearing. The government remained failed to comply with the agreement, so TLP’s protests are justified, he added.
In retaliation, the government arrested the TLP chief from Lahore to avoid unwanted circumstances. Hours later, country-wide protests started, and both parties blamed each other for injuring and killing.
On Tuesday, Police registered FIR against Saad Rizvi and other TLP’s leaders on terrorism charges that ignited protestors’ anger. Furthermore, on Wednesday, protestors blocked activities in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and other cities. In comparison, the government decides to deploy Rangers in significant cities.
The arrest and subsequent FIR of Saad Rizvi curb freedom of speech to express religious sentiments. Pakistan is already a poor performer on the freedom of speech index. On the other hand, in international affairs, it becomes difficult for the government to follow the religiously inspired demands of the populace.
The question then arises why the state comes in agreement with religious parties when it cannot follow it. Signing and afterwards violating the deal is like befooling the religious parties. And when parties show their resentment by protests, they are arrested for maintaining law and order.
The Outcome of TLP’s Protests:
Presently, at least three people are killed, including one cop, according to DIG operations Lahore. Thousands of protestors are arrested, and hundreds are injured. No one knows what would be the end outcome of this friction between TLP and the government. However, one thing is clear that many innocent people would lose their lives and property. Moreover, COVID-19 would find new homes as SOPs are rarely followed in protests.
The Way Out:
In this gloom and doom, the way out is that both parties should show maturity at the critical juncture when COVID-19 is spiking. TLP’s protest can cause an upsurge in the infection rate and place an extra burden on the already slipping health system. A workable solution between the Government and TLP’s protestors is needed at this time.
The government cannot expel the French ambassador as it dents the relations between Pakistan and the western world. However, it can work internationally to place a full stop on the publishing of blasphemous caricatures in the future. Likewise, religious parties should also give space to negotiation. They should leave hurrying towards protesting, destroying property, and tarnishing the image of the country worldwide.
John F Kennedy once said that when written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ comprises two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity. In this moment of crisis, both parties should examine the threat. The government and TLP’s protesters should work together to carve out a feasible solution to end this long, prevalent rivalry. Religious parties and government should also grab the opportunity to bring harmony between them for national prosperity.