Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a stern warning to certain far right groups that have been agitating against the Supreme Court Verdict to acquit Asia Bibi, Christian women sentenced to death on charges of committing blasphemy. He said in categorical tone that state will come into actions against the elements that create law and order situation.
The Prime Minister addressed the matter in a short video message that solely focused on the Apex court verdict and its after math. He said he has been compelled to communicate with the nation due to the reaction given and language used by a “small segment”, in response to the Supreme Court verdict. Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and the verdict given by the highest court of the country is in accordance with the constitution, which is in line with the teachings of Holy Quran and Sunnah, he said. He sharply criticised the protest that broke, and is still underway across the country in response to the judgment, saying people livelihood was being harmed through road blocks and demonstrations.
It is a moment of deep meditation as to why Pakistani society came to the present state of intolerance which was fairly tolerant till mid 70s. Its seeds were sown when the ruling civilian leadership launched a forward policy viz-a-viz Afghanistan after the fall of King Zahir Shah. Far right groups were patronized inside the country without visualizing its disastrous long term impact on the country and its people. The same leadership paid a very high price after 1977 general elections and afterwards. The succeeding dictator patronized and strengthened these extremist elements because of his legitimacy syndrome. The successive elected and non-elected governments continued the policy of appeasement either for promoting political interest or lack of spine. The sentiment of hate and intolerance which got well entrenched in the social fabric of the country did not remain confined to minorities, which are on the receiving end. It also created and flourished an environment of sectarian strife which has devoured lives of hundreds of innocent people in the attacks on Mosques and Imambargahs over the past 30 years. The print media, particularly the Urdu newspapers of certain media groups, have always been on the look out to inflame religious sentiments by their misleading reports and biased comments. A senior journalist associated with a big media house, which is fond of highlighting Indian narrative against Pakistan, writes columns containing biased comments.
It is worth appreciation that the incumbent government will not show leniency to the groups that openly challenge the writ of the sate. It will help promote soft image of Pakistan in the comity of nations. It is worth appreciation that PPP leadership has taken a clear stance on this matter. The young and talented chairman of the party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the country will be run according to constitution and law and the political leadership will not succumb to street pressures. However, senior PPP leader Khursid Shah in his speech in the National Assembly lashed out at prime Minister’s address to the nation in the wake of Supreme Court judgment and subsequent reaction by some religio-political parties. “I strongly condemn Prime Minister’s address to the nation. The Chief Executive of the state should not have said what he said,” Shah remarked, adding that he could not even repeat parts of Prime Minister’s. Which speech part of his speech people party stalwart was referring to? The address of the chief executive of the country was telecast by electronic media and published in the print media. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Interior Sheriyar Afridi told the house that government is in talks with the religio-political parties and nation would soon hear good news. However, he categorically declared that there would be no compromise on the rule of law and no one would be allowed to misuse the present situation for political gains. People expect such a stand from the main opposition PML-N and left of the center parties.