The last week saw complete mayhem and chaos as TLP activists ran amok across the country damaging public property and attacking policemen. This was followed by the government’s mismanagement of the entire issue which left them stage where it is struggling to brush aside the misdeeds.
It must be mentioned that the protests have made global headlines, all for the worst reasons as the TLP want to expel the French ambassador. They government is now seen pandering to the extremists which will could have grave implications. The government first hastily banned the religious party, declared it a terrorist outfit and arrested the top leadership. But days later, the government caved in and was seen negotiating with the same party which it banned while pretending to be playing smart tactics. The move set a dangerous precedent as now religious or other extremist parties can resort to violence to fulfil their demands.
The government eventually decided to throw the gauntlet towards the parliament by hastily tabling a resolution. The opposition soon distanced itself saying it was never consulted during the negotiations but the sensitivity of the issue called for not comprising on blasphemy matters. The government thinks it has fulfilled its responsibility by bringing the matter in parliament, although there were no demands to expel the French envoy due to the adverse diplomatic costs.
The prime minister also addressed the nation, saying the objective of the government and TLP were the same but the methods were different. He pointed out how there were no protests in other Muslims countries but the situation was different here. He then highlighted his own efforts to address rising incidents of blasphemy and how he has written to heads of all Muslim countries for a joint efforts against Islamophobia.
The nation understand the prime minister’s efforts as the matter of protecting the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is dear to all Muslims. But the government has to control the mobs which can turn violent at the slightest provocation. The government could have handled the matter more maturely rather than taking hasty decisions. It could set up a precedent of negotiating with banned outfits which would create anarchy or else it will give these fringe outfits more attention and embolden them.