Home News Analysis Government signs an agreement with TLP: State surrender or political necessity?

Government signs an agreement with TLP: State surrender or political necessity?

State surrender
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News Analysis |

In an interesting and major breakthrough, the government and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) reached to an agreement on the eve of Friday to end three-day long protest across the country. The government has given some concessions to the protesters and urged them to call off the protest which had paralyzed urban centers for last three days. According to the details, the government has agreed to initiate legal process to place the name of Asia Bibi on the exit control list (ECL).

The government has also agreed not to oppose a review petition to be filed by the TLP against the verdict. It is further agreed that the government will release all the persons arrested in connection with the ongoing protests. Interestingly, the TLP has, in turn, apologized if it “hurt the sentiments or inconvenienced anyone without reason”.

The government is being criticized on social media for not being able to maintain its earlier stance against the religious fanatics.

The agreement was signed by Dr. Noorul Haq Qadri (religious affairs minister) and Raja Basharat (law minister Punjab) on behalf of the government, and by Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri (senior leader of the TLP) and Muhammad Waheed Noor (central chief Nazim of the TLP).

It is important to mention here that after the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Ms. Asia Bibi on 31st November, supporters of the TLP took to the street and main roads in Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi and sealed off the cities. The leaders of the TLP and other religious parties reportedly demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister, the Judges who were part of a three-member bench, and suspension of the verdict of the top court.

Read more: Will government use force against the TLP protesters?

The government is being criticized on social media for not being able to maintain its earlier stance against the religious fanatics. As a matter of fact, the government categorically rejected the claims that it was going to place Ms. Asia’s name on the ECL just a day ago. Dr. Shireen Mazari, Minister for Human Rights, stated in a tweet that “some correction to clear media confusion: A protester has filed a Review Petition in SC & in that demanded Asiya BB’s name be put on ECL – Govt has nothing to do with both these moves. Review Petition and i’s prayers are between SC and petitioner. PM’s position has been clear.”

A clarification was also presented on PTI official account “Minister for Information and Broadcasting @fawadchaudhry has denied reports of placement of Aasia Bibi’s name on the Exit Control List. The Government of Pakistan has nothing to do with any review petition or ECL.”

Now the government has agreed to put Ms. Asia’s name on the ECL which is a glaring negation of what it had stated just a day ago. This is tantamount to the state surrender for many analysts and opinion makers in Pakistan. It is also worth mentioning here that on the eve of Wednesday Prime Minister spoke to the nation and urged people not to become a part of those threatening the writ of the state.

The government has given some concessions to the protesters and urged them to call off the protest which had paralyzed urban centers for last three days.

PM Khan also made it clear that it was the responsibility of the state to protect the life, property and liberty of people and if anyone tried to disrupt the order, the state would be in action. Social media strongly reacted to the agreement between the TLP and the government. Analysts pointed out the difference in what the PTI-led government had said and what it had done.

Read more: TLP protest: Did government place Asia Bibi’s name on ECL?

PM Khan had made it clear that the state would not surrender this time but despite the use of abusive language and incitement of violence, the government has signed an agreement which is a win for the TLP, according to journalist Salman Masood. “The terms of the agreement with TLP leadership is capitulation. Hardly a victory for progressive forces. TLP continues to gain more ground.”

Prominent journalist Muhammad Ziauddin pointed out if the Fatwa against the judges had also been dropped? “The agreement between government and the mob leaders. But they have not withdrawn the Fatwa calling for killing the three Supreme Court Judges and the call for revolt within the Army against the Army Chief. Not even regrets about these calls.”

A social media user made it clear that this is the win for the TLP and it is going to be very dangerous for the state. “Total capitulation by the government. This is a win for TLP and it will only embolden them to repeat this tactic of debilitating Pakistani cities over and over again. Truly tragic.”

It is important to be noted that the previous government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was also forced to sign an agreement with the same religious party. This party has apparently made mob violence its tool to seek political support across the country. For many analysts, PM Khan had done a great job when he issued a strong message to these elements and denied them of any deal.

But after two days, the government had to come on negotiation table with those who not only used abusive language but also verbally attacked the army chief, prime minister and Chief justice of Pakistan. It is now feared that the country will continue to face such a mob mentality in the future which is a question mark on the face of Pakistani democracy.


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