Imran Khan's government agreed to release hundreds of TLP workers as a part of the deal to end the violent protests in the country.
New Delhi: The military-civil divide in Pakistan is a too well-known phenomenon. This has always kept India's western neighbour at the receiving end of criticism vis-à-vis upholding democracy. Therefore, each time Islamabad leaks the wounds, not many are surprised any longer.
"The group Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) that does not have any representation in the national parliament and has been proscribed as a terrorist outfit seeks to determine the country's political and ideological course," laments a powerful and candid write up in ''Dawn''.
The writer Zahid Hussain says – "The little-known Barelvi militant outfit saw its rise after its first siege of the capital in 2017. It was the civil-military divide, and not its popular mass support, that turned it into a force to be reckoned with."
The article also says: "After two weeks of blowing hot and cold, the PTI government (under Imran Khan) has apparently signed on the dotted line. It is the seventh time in the past five years that the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has brought the state to its knees. Each time it has returned more empowered."
On Oct 27, much to the embarrassment of authorities in Pakistan, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan supporters celebrated ''capturing a police vehicle'' during their protest march towards Islamabad. At least four policemen were martyred and over 250 injured as ''thousands of workers' of TLP clashed with law-enforcement personnel near Sadhoke in Punjab's Gujranwala district.
In the entire process, the "writ of the state," as underlined by several of Imran Khan's ministers, has now vanished.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan would mean – "I am present Pakistan-movement". It is a ''far-right'' Islamic extremist political party in Pakistan founded by Khadim Hussain Rizvi in August 2015. The Tehreek-e-Labbaik is known for its protests in opposition to any change to Pakistan's blasphemy law and has been demanding that Sharia be established as the fundamental Islamic law.
Though it emerged as the fifth largest party in the 2018 Pakistani general election, it won no seat in the National Assembly and Punjab Assembly. However, it has been successful in winning three seats in the Sindh Assembly.
Things are certainly more serious than a mere protest from a radical group, as reports are suggesting that the ''intelligence agencies'' have backed the group.
Hussain also writes: "A few thousand zealots led by a foul-mouthed cleric virtually paralysed Islamabad for more than three weeks. A troubled civilian administration was rendered helpless because of the alleged support of the intelligence agencies for the mob."
Of course, the trouble has come at the very doorsteps for Pakistan when it is not in the best of financial health.
Moreover, its questionable role in Afghanistan has only made it more vulnerable to falling ''isolated'' in the comity of nations.
Imran Khan, much popular cricket star of his time and captained the World Cup-winning team of 1992, is still awaiting a tele call from Joe Biden. The US Prez seems to have forgotten to make the customary tele call to Pak PM after he took overcharge.
The TLP had launched the latest round of protests in Lahore to pressure the Punjab government (in Pak) to release its chief, Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, the son of its founder, Khadim Rizvi.
India raises the issue of overflight clearance
India on Nov 4 raised the issue of overflight clearance for the Srinagar-Sharjah flight with Pakistan and has asked them to grant them "in the larger interest of the common people", sources said.
The Pakistani authorities had granted overflight clearance to Go First flights to operate the Srinagar-Sharjah sector on October 23rd, 24th, 26th and 28th.
Subsequently, sources said Pakistan put the clearance for the same flight "on hold for the period Oct 31 to Nov 30 2021".
"This matter was promptly taken up with Pakistan through diplomatic channels and we have requested Pakistan to grant overflight clearance for this flight in the larger interest of the common people who have booked tickets on this route," the source said.