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Islamists Hold Pakistan Hostage as Imran Khan Lacking Popular Support Fails to Douze the Flames

MG is a keen political observer and commentator who has a ringside seat to the turbulent years of the present political scenario

The current leader Saad Rizvi

The current leader Saad Rizvi

Introduction

Events in Pakistan are unfolding like a Shakespearean tragedy. There are three main actors in the entire scenario. They are

---- the Prime Minister Imran Khan who has been put in the chair by the Pakistan army and as such is beholden to it. On his own, he could have not won the election but the army facilitated his victory by sending the popular Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to jail and exile.

---- the Pakistan army, now headed by General Bajwa. The army has been ruling Pakistan since 1958 and anybody who has ruffled the feathers of the army has either been hanged to death like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or sent into exile like Nawaz Sharif.

----The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)The group draws its ideology from the Barelvi sect of Sunni Islam, a far-right Islamist group in Pakistan, founded by Khadim Hussain Rizvi on August 1, 2015. After his death his son has taken over but presently is under arrest.

islamists-hold-pakistan-hostage-as-imran-khan-lacking-popular-support-fails-to-douze-the-flames

Advantage Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)

Pakistan army is trying to play safe and is looking neutral. It just wants to feather its nest and its record in the country after 1958 is very poor. As on date Pakistan is in the grey list for terror financing by FATA and worse the per capita income of Pakistan at $1100 is Half of India and Bangladesh in addition it has the distinction of having lost more than half the country through a war of liberation and the creation of Bangladesh. It is interesting to know that the uncle of the present Prime Minister Imran Khan, the infamous general AK Niazi signed the surrender to the Indian army in the DACCA stadium.

The TLP has now started an agitation against the Pakistan government to force it to take action against France. The reason is the so-called blasphemous cartoons published in France. The TLP wants all diplomatic relations with France broken the Ambassador expelled and all French goods are stopped. Such an act would be a grave provocation for France and the EU and the Prime Minister is well aware of it. The TLP has not been able to explain why only Pakistan out of the 55 Muslim nations in the world is getting agitated against France when nobody else is bothered.

Imran Khan lacking popular support is on the horns of a dilemma. He has started negotiating with the TLP which incidentally was banned as a terrorist organization just a few weeks back.

The present agitation is triggered by what the TLP sees as a lack of action against France. Eight policemen have been killed and 4 protestors as well. Security officials have been surprised that the TLP is using LMG's and these have been used to kill the policeman.

The TLP is now along with its supporters marching to the capital Islamabad. A panic-stricken Imran has now blocked all the roads leading to the capital. The important point is that the Pakistan army is just sitting on the sidelines, having left the matter in the hands of the Prime Minister. Imran has formed a 12 member committee and has agreed to many demands like the release of all the arrested terrorists as well as Saad Rizvi. It is a sign of his weakness that he is negotiating with a terrorist organization.

He himself has to blame for all that is happening when he made statements like the 'shackles have been broken' after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. He has not explained what he meant by that and what shackles he was talking off because the Taliban after coming into power in Afghanistan has already executed one woman football player. Such actions like singing songs 'salam Taliban' have emboldened the extremists in Pakistan and men like Rizvi are now able to mobilize thousands under the pretext of Islam in danger.


Imran Khan lacking a popular base is handicapped

Imran Khan lacking a popular base is handicapped

Future

One hopes that a solution to the impasse will be found but nothing is easy because general Bajwa is on the sidelines and if he wishes he can finish the movement within 24 hours. The very fact he's silent just shows that he is not happy with Imran Khan and there is a good chance that in case general Bajwa decides there will be no choice for Imran either to go home or be put in jail This has happened to many leaders in Pakistan. During the last 74 years of Pakistan, I am not aware of a Pakistan Prime Minister has completed his full term.

In this connection commentaries of Najam Sethi, a respected leader and commentator are worth listening to.

References

Pakistan government dsurrenders to Islamists. https://daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=886595

"Explained:who are the tehreek-e- Labbaik, the extremist group behind the ongoing crisis in Pak?" 27 April 2021

https://kashmirobserver.net/2021/10/29/pak-rangers-draw-red-line-as-banned-tlp-begins-march/

" Islamist party Tehreek-e- Labbaik Fuels anti France Violence in Pakiatans". France 24. 17 April 2021. Retrieved 18 April2021.

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