The controversy surrounding the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) is finally coming to an end after the reports of TLP leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi being booked for charges of treason and terrorism. The group managed to bring the country to a halt when they decided to dismiss the decision of the highest court in the country, i.e. the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP). The group pulled a similar maneuver a few months ago in Faizabad and instead of going to court with their concerns, they vandalised public property and also threatened the lives of the common man. The recent protests ended up taking the lives of two innocent Pakistanis who were going about their daily business. The right decision after such incidents was to arrest the leader and to prosecute him under the law.
Pakistan is already under a lot of pressure for not being able to effectively curb terrorism and hence remains in the FATF grey list. In order to get rid of that status, there is a need for strict implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and the arrest of any individual or group who promotes violence and indulges in hate speech. The public is tired of these groups acting with impunity, when the rest are judged with the full force of the law.
Many were disappointed when the government promised arrests earlier and could not follow through but this time around, they should be commended for following the legal course of action. The charges right now are for risking the lives of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Bajwa, and the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar. The protests brought the cities to a halt and affected the already ailing economy. These are serious offences for which someone needs to be held accountable.
What the people are expecting now is for the government to follow through with this arrest and make sure that the prosecution process does not stall, as it has many times before when prosecuting populist religious figures. A precedent needs to be set, so that no group can manipulate the government into doing what only they, a small minority of individuals, want. Decisions of the SC are made according to the Constitution and that does not violate any injections of the faith or the state; as such they should be respected.