An senior air warrior and political observer who has the pulse of the region and can sense a change when it comes.
Dominoes are small tiles that are stacked against each other and when one of them falls all the others that are stacked also fall. President Eisenhower used the term when he described the advance of communism in Asia and the need to stop it. This theory can be extrapolated to other scenarios and the defeat of the Americans in Afghanistan leading to the handing over of the country to the Taliban is going to have a domino effect. Perhaps it has already started, as Pakistan which was under siege for a long time and was playing a double game and trying to distinguish between good and bad terrorism has now taken one step back.
What has the Pakistani government under Imran Khan done? It has entered into a secret agreement ( that has yet not been made public) with the TLP, a banned terrorist group to buy time and survive.
Before writing anything further it is important to understand what Tehreek-e-Labbaik(TLP) Pakistan is. It is an extremist Islamist party that demands that Pakistan revert to pristine Islam and enforce sharia all over the country. Sensing a vacuum in the political establishment a man named Kadim Hussein Rizvi formed this party in 2015 and it immediately made an impression. In the last general election, the party won 2.2 million votes as well as three seats in the Sind provincial assembly. Presently it is the fifth largest political party in Pakistan.
The policy of Tehreek-e-Labbaik centers around opposition to any change to the blasphemy law. Another major demand of the party is that sharia be established as a fundamental law of Pakistan and the Pakistan Penal Code be put in cold storage.
The Pakistan government realized the danger and banned the TLP. Its present leader Saad Rizvi, who is the son of the founder of the party was arrested and put in jail. This was after mass protests were organized by the party against France which they held to be a country that must be punished. They demanded that the French ambassador be expelled and all trade with France stopped. An explosive situation was created and hundreds of thousands of TLP followers took to the streets and declared that they would march to Islamabad and lay siege to the parliament.
During this agitation a lot of violence took place and even automatic rifles were used and many policemen were killed. The Pakistan army which is the driving force in the country just sat on the sidelines leaving Imran Khan to control the agitation. The agitation was spiraling out of control and obviously, Imran Khan who has very little popular support had to do something. He has now entered into an agreement with the TLP wherein he has promised that he would remove the terrorist ban and free the leaders and other terrorists.
Agreement: A beleaguered Imran Khan
Imran Khan came to power with the help of the army which orchestrated the removal of the duly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff. From day one, he realized that the real power was with the army. This became apparent when on visits to the United States, the army chief General Bajwa traveled as an equal, something that is not in practice in other countries.
Imran Khan's position was considerably weakened, as his favorite Lt General Faiz Hamid was removed by the Army chief as the head of the ISI and replaced by a person of his choice. In such a situation, Imran Khan was fighting with one arm tied behind his back and he had no choice but to negotiate with the TLP.
It is reported that he has come to a secret agreement with the TLP. it appears that he is likely to accept the demand of the TLP to have sharia imposed in the Pakhtoonwali province of Pakistan as a first step, release the leader of TLP as well as other members who were arrested for terroristic activities.
The agreement is not made public but it shows the weakness of the Pakistan government in the face of determined extremist activity."The TLP will be happy with this agreement as it will give them a stepping stone to the imposition of sharia all over Pakistan.
Just a few weeks back the Pakistan security advisor Moeed Yusaf had talked tough but now the opposite has happened.
Najam Sethi a respected political commentator and leader in his channel has commented that the agreement is not in the interest of Pakistan.
Although the agreement is kept secret, it is learned, the government will unfreeze the accounts and assets of the TLP and also lift the ban on it. Things are not going in favor of Khan as on Tuesday another policeman who was captured by the TLP protesters was tortured and murdered in Wazirababad.
What is happening in Pakistan is very sad and many Pakistani newspapers and leaders have condemned the government for the deal with TLP. Women in Pakistan have cause to worry because the pendulum seems to be swinging in favor of extremist philosophy and singing songs like 'salam Taliban' was probably not the best thing to do. There is always hope because there is a substantial section of Pakistan society that is opposed to the antics of Imran Khan and his agreement with the TLP.