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Islamabad protest: Religious fervor and writ of the state

Yet again we have religious fanatics charged with faith centric fervor, challenging the writ of the government with a 4 day sit in.  The situation is quite similar to how things were back in the days when the famous Ghazi brothers of the Lal Masjid fame took to the streets, carried out vigilante actions, challenged the writ of the state and behind the garb of religious self righteousness, tried to enforce their brand of Islamic shariah. The Lal Masjid episode was further elevated by the electronic and print media to the point of pushing the government into taking some measures in order to neutralize the situation. It therefore had an ugly outcome and the same media that was earlier rallying for an action against the heavily armed students of Lal Masjid, was seen shedding tears on the loss of lives as a consequence.


Come 2016 we have a similar situation where a group of religiously charged men, after causing a ruckus in the federal capital, have initiated a sit-in at the red zone of Islamabad and presented their list of demands. Once again these young men are being pitted against the state machinery without any concern for their lives and the message that is being sent to the international community is not a good one. Once again, Pakistan is being tagged as a country where anyone can bring the government to its knees within a matter of few days.

The government will have to put a lid on such religious zealotry and fanaticism. Strict and ruthless action needs to be taken to set an example for future. Negotiations, back channel talks, provision of safe passage etc show the impotency of our government which has failed to enforce her writ at a time when it’s required most. The more they delay the action, the stronger these protesters will get. There is a clear division in the way our general public thinks. Such glaring division in public opinion paints a gloomy picture ahead. Junaid Jamshed has already faced the wrath of such self righteous men at an airport and more such situations will occur in future if the government doesn’t take concrete steps to curb this growing menace. The need for enforcement of writ of the state is more than ever before.

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