News Analysis |
The Pakistan Army on Sunday sought clarifications on a few aspects, should it be asked to lend support to the operation in Islamabad. The Army has said it is fully prepared to assist in the operation, that has thus far not been able to dislodge the protestors.
After a prolonged deadlock between the government and the Tehreek-e-Libaik protestors, security forces launched an operation to end the sit-in at the Faizabad interchange on Saturday. Police in tandem with the Frontier Constabulary (FC) is taking part in the operation, aimed at ridding the twin cities from the troubles caused by indomitable protestors led by the fiery Khadim Hussain Rizvi since 8th November.
The letter reads that the Army applies force that is normally not used to disperse crowds, thus clarification is merited in line with the orders of the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court earlier this week.
The Ministry of Interior formally requested the Army to deploy troops in Rawalpindi and Islamabad under Article 245 of the Constitution. The Army, while showing its readiness to help said that some things need to be cleared.
In a letter to the Interior Ministry, there are a “few aspects meriting deliberation”, such as how the “police has not been utilized to its full capacity” in dealing with the religious protesters.
Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, under section 5 of PEMRA Order has ordered PEMRA to shut down all news channels. While some are terming it as an anathema to democracy, many including those from the media fraternity are questioning how channels are covering a potentially inflammatory situation.
The letter is being circulated through the only open social media site: Whatsapp. The letter reads that the Army applies force that is normally not used to disperse crowds, thus clarification is merited in line with the orders of the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court earlier this week.
Earlier the Army Chief made a telephone call to premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, suggesting him to make efforts to bring about an amicable end to the issue. Though the application of force may further deteriorate the stand-off, mobs who is embroiled in arson cannot be allowed to go on a brazen run.
Protestors have resorted to violence across the country, burning petrol pumps, attacking police and blocking roads. PML-N lawmaker, Javed Latif was attacked by the protestors and was inflicted with injuries. The indomitable protestors are now demanding the resignation of the entire cabinet. Ejaz Ashrafi, a spokesman of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, the main agitating party, told Reuters that: “We are in the thousands. We will not leave. We will fight until the end.”
Many are of the opinion that Army’s involvement in the issue is likely to pit it against the people
Regardless of the politics behind the issue, the glaring incompetence of the government, and according to some, the nefarious designs of the PML-N, watchers are mindful of the need to stop the protestors in their tracks.
Observers are also concerned about the optics are that beaming all over the world. How could a cohort of a few people hold the country hostage?
There are concerns about the likely escalation of the situation and its impact on an even otherwise fluid domestic political scaffold. Many are of the opinion that Army’s involvement in the issue is likely to pit it against the people. However, with the police being unable to evict protestors, how long can the conflagration be allowed to continue? The pressure may mount on the Army as it finds itself in a catch 22 situation.