Pre-empting hardliners

In a bid to pre-empt chaos in the country, the Punjab government has formed a two member committee to negotiate with the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) leaders and workers. Besides a crackdown is in progress against TLP activists. As TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi has been put behind bars, more than 20 workers have also been arrested to avoid anarchy in the country. The police came into action ahead a plan by the TLP to indulge in agitation this week. The timely action by the police is laudable given the fact that these miscreants had caused great damage to the public property and a lot of inconvenience to the general public in the name of religion.

The police action against the protesters is justifiable but it is a temporary solution to the inherent flaw in society.

The evil of extremism has permeated almost levels of society and needs a thorough surgery. Religious groups like TLP have been operating in Pakistan for a long time under the nose of the law enforcement agencies. Why have their activities not checked before? Why have they been allowed to operate and run their seminaries without any proper monitoring and surveillance? In the past, the characters like Khadim Hussain Rizvi have been given a free hand and now they are challenging the writ of the state. It is a known fact that the government and security institutions hesitate to take action against these religious extremists. They only come into action when they face severe pressure at the national and international levels. Unfortunately, as a result of the susceptibility of people and the nature of religion, certain religious groups feel entitled to ignore the condition believing that their belief system supersedes any earthly convention. Through misconstruing Islamic principles and justifying their heinous crimes against humanity, they never hesitate to usurp rights of other citizens. They want to take the nation to the Stone Age where there is no rationality or reasoning, while the law of jungle prevails. Having taken upon themselves to declare anyone who deviates from orthodoxy as infidel, these groups need to be eliminated and their space wrested from them. Timidity and capitulation towards them is not just shirking from responsibility but downright criminal.