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Army to follow government’s directives on the sit-in but what will happen next?

directives

News Analysis |

The Pakistan Army has said it will adhere to whatever the government will decide to do regarding solving the stand-off with religious protestors in Islamabad. This was enunciated by DG ISPR, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday night.

While talking to eminent anchor, Waseem Badami, Maj Gen Ghafoor said that the army will follow whatever it is ordained to do by the government while expressing his desire to see an amicable end to the issue.

While others are calling it as yet another efforts on part of subversive forces to weaken the government.

The Tehreek-e-Laibaik led by the fiery Khadim Hussain Rizvi, along with his charged up supporters have firmly been perched in Faizabad, demanding the resignation of the Law Minister, Zahid Hamid for his earlier mistake of changing the Khatam-e-Nabuwat clause from lawmakers’ oath under the Elections Bill 2017.

Read more:Will the Islamabad sit-in end peacefully?

The deadlock between the government and Rizvi has virtually paralyzed the twin cities and there is exceeding pressure on the government to solve the issue. Some regard it as a manifestation of state’s weak writ. While others are calling it as yet another efforts on part of subversive forces to weaken the government.

Maj Gen Asif categorically lent the military’s support behind the government days after the leader of the opposition demanded the government to elicit Army’s help to end the protest so that the people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi can be relieved of troubles due to roadblocks.

Despite realizing the gravity of the situation, analysts have pointed how the government allowed the situation to get out of hand.

PPP’s Khursheed Shah had said:“As many as two million people have been held hostage by these protesters. The government should use its constitutional powers to seek assistance from the armed forces of Pakistan [to end the sit-in].”

Read more:Faizabad still in lockdown despite IHC’s order

However, watchers are warning against sucking in the military over the issue. Despite realizing the gravity of the situation, analysts have pointed how the government allowed the situation to get out of hand.

Today, the Supreme Court chided the government for its inept handling of the issue.As the two-member bench — headed by Justice Musheer Alam commenced hearing the case on Thursday, Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that the authorities need to tell the court who is funding and sustaining the sit-in and if there is any indication of foreign involvement in the matter.

Despite orders of the apex court, the gridlock still persists. Many are fearing that the precedence set by the ruling family in defying courts’ orders has rubbed off.

The court expressed dissatisfaction over the reports submitted by the Intelligence Bureau and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).Replying to attorney general’s remarks that the government is treading cautiously to avoid confrontation, Justice Alam said:”Tomorrow, if an enemy of the state chooses to occupy the streets of the capital, will the government try to negotiate with them?”

Read more:Faizabad Dharna: A view of both sides

Despite orders of the apex court, the gridlock still persists. Many are fearing that the precedence set by the ruling family in defying courts’ orders has rubbed off. However, there is consensus on the need to dislodge these radical protestors.

“What do you mean, will the protesters now decide if the sit-in will end or not?No one is paying attention to the main point: all the reports reflect that the Punjab government had prior information regarding a possible sit-in and no measures were taken to stop it,” Justice Alam said.

There is a perception in a cross-section of the media that few members of the ruling party have deliberately allowed Rizvi to reach the position that he is in, ostensibly to divert attention from the ongoing legal battles faced by the Sharif family.

“Why is the media giving the sit-in so much coverage; where is the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra)?” asked Justice Qazi while questioning the elements supporting the elongated protest.

Where is the situation heading? Will it turn bloody or will the protestors continue to hold the city administration hostage?One interesting question that must be asked is who is gaining from this row? The government or the “hidden forces”?

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