TLP should demand elections for party and then for National Assembly mainly on issues of laws for right-to-protest and blasphemy. By Hem Raj Jain

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To what extent the democracy in Pakistan has become a farce is evident from the agreement reached between ‘Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’ (TLP) and Government of Pakistan on Sunday which is not revealed to public as reported https://www.dawn.com/news/1655124/govt-says-agreement-reached-with-tlp-details-to-be-unveiled-at-appropriate-time . Such secret agreement is unheard-of in any democracy which makes the democracy in Pakistan a farce. This farce is all the more objectionable because it does not address the main issue of right to protest and blasphemy which have already claimed the lives of more than 40 TLP workers and about a dozen of security forces and caused injuries to many more to both. Therefore the TLP should immediately go for organizational election and then demand fresh elections for National Assembly mainly on issues of comprehensive laws for right-to-protest and blasphemy as explained below:-

 

(1)- Expulsion of the French Ambassador is a highly sensitive issue for the grass-root members of the TLP for the simple reason that in the November 2020 agreement it is not said that the government will merely ensure a bill in the Parliament. On the contrary as per the first point of this agreement – “The government within 2 or 3 months will expel the French Ambassador through Parliamentary resolution (‘Faisala-sazi’)” as reported at https://voicepk.net/2020/11/tlp-calls-off-protest-after-another-pact-with-govt/ – [This agreement is between government (including Home Minister of Pakistan) and the leaders of TLP led by its founder-chief Late Khadim Hussain Rizvi (who ‘died’ on November 19, 2020 within 3 days of this agreement which raised suspicion as reported at https://thepakistandaily.com/ex-dg-isis-son-raises-suspicions-about-khadim-hussain-rizvis-death/ ) hence makes this agreement a sacred and highly emotive issue for TLP].

 

(2)- The TLP should understand that the present leadership of the TLP (Saad Hussain Rizvi the son of TLP founder) is an incompetent leader because he takes TLP workers (after November 16, 2020 agreement) after every 5-6 months on roads where tens of TLP workers give their lives and suffer injuries without achieving anything as far as the main demand of November 2020 agreement (the expulsion of French diplomat) is concerned. Saad Hussain Rizvi has only one ‘qualification’ which is that he is the son of the departed TLP founder . Therefore the TLP will achieve nothing (about November 2020 agreement and about other political objectives of the TLP) unless inner party democracy is brought in the TLP by electing its office bearers by party members from bottom to top. 

 

(3)- After electing a new leader the TLP should demand (by coming on street if necessary) immediate fresh elections for the National Assembly which will legislate comprehensive laws for protecting the democratic right-to-protest of the citizens. The TLP should know that Governments in Pakistan (Central as well as State’s) are under obligation to provide administrative arrangement and police protection to any demonstration, march, dharna by TLP but the government didn’t do it. On the contrary the government (illegally denied such permission & facilities ) instead resorted to oppression on TLP which resulted in loss of lives and blood of the TLP members. Moreover instead of providing safe passage for TLP marchers to and Dharna site at Pak’s capital Islamabad under police protection & administrative arrangement  (which is the democratic right of TLP) the Pak Govt (its para-military forces, the rangers), as widely shown in media (https://tribune.com.pk/story/2326890/govt-establishes-red-line-on-chenab-jhelum-bridges-to-stop-tlp ) put-up a board on the way at river bridge that any one from TLP march (‘miscreant’) who crosses it will be fired at. This is evident that government was trying to constrain the  TLP marchers first to become  ‘miscreants’ (by denying their said democratic rights) and then taking this excuse to shoot them with bullets (as it has repeated done with TLP protesters in April 2021 and also in Lahore in October 2021) 

 

(4)- The TLP must be knowing that managing a march of protesters to Islamabad by police is not a problem at all. As is done in India too, when during monsoon season millions of pedestrians (‘Kanwadias’) from their villages go to river Ganga for hundreds of kilometers to bring Ganga's water (considered sacred by them) and police allows them on one side of the road to walk, without causing obstruction to other traffic. As far as place for dharnas, Indian capital has seen dharna many times by hundreds of thousands and about which police had successfully provided facilities, police protection etc] 

 

(5)-  Immediate fresh elections for the National Assembly to be demanded by the TLP which will also legislate comprehensive laws for blasphemy. By this time the TLP workers might have realized that the religious leaders of Pakistan (which were party to this Sunday farcical agreement), the functionaries of government of Pakistan and even the leaders of the TLP (so-called Shura of TLP) give only lip service to ‘namoose-Risalat’ (honor of Prophet Mohammad) whereas lives and blood are given merely by the TLP workers and some by the security forces. Moreover, given the present leadership of the TLP, the private member bill in the National Assembly for expelling French diplomats etc will also not get any result. Therefore the TLP after organizational elections should demand immediate fresh elections for the National Assembly so that comprehensive laws may be made about blasphemy and related punishments commensurate with the norms of the modern world.  Namely how the blasphemy shall be handled by law (A)- Against a person ( a Pakistani citizen) who commits it with in the territory of Pakistan (B)- Against a person (a Pakistani citizen) who commits it outside the territory of Pakistan ( C)- Against a person ( not a Pakistani citizen) who commits it with in the territory of Pakistan  (D)- Against a person ( not a Pakistani citizen) who commits it outside the territory of Pakistan (E)- Against the State of a foreign country which commits it by its act of commission (F)- Against the State of a foreign country which commits it by its act of omission.  

 

(6)- The government and other in Pakistan don’t understand that the TLP has every right to mobilize the people of Pakistan for influencing State policies of Pakistan in the interest of promoting / protecting the religion (which its members and supporters follow), of-course without resorting to terrorism, violence and excesses and without harming the similar interests of other religions commensurate with the principle of  “Sarv Dharm Sam-bhaav” (equal respect to all religions) which is being professed (though not practiced satisfactorily) even in constitutionally secular India. Certainly there are some sensitive religious issues even in constitutionally secular countries (in Asia), as is the case in India where cow (considered sacred by the majority community, the Hindus) slaughter is not allowed and the people (mainly the Muslims and ‘Dalits’ the so-called oppressed castes of Hindu order) are illegally lynched if suspected of cow-slaughter or of eating beef (though India, unlike Pakistan, doesn’t expect people in other countries to honor it. Hence the TLP is perfectly legitimate in demanding comprehensive laws by the National Assembly of Pakistan in relation to blasphemy concerning namoose-Risalat.

 

(7)- The TLP will be able to achieve the above mentioned only when its grass-root members realize their unique strength about one fact of political life in the contemporary democratic world. The TLP should know that they are the only political party (not merely in Pakistan) which came on streets (and gave their lives and blood for their ideological commitment in the face of extreme persecution by Pakistan & Punjab governments) whereas on the contrary (i)- In Pakistan the JUI-F went back from Dharna in Islamabad in 2019 without achieving  anything about their demand of fresh elections. Similarly PDM (including PML-N & PPP) also carried out many Jalsa (public meetings) starting from mid- 2020 for fresh & fair elections but (like JUI-F) never mustered courage to face the security forces on streets for achieving their demands. (ii)- In the USA the former Prez Trump and his party the Republicans (GOP) complained that 2020 elections were fraudulent but the GOP never came on streets to rectify this alleged electoral fraud and for achieving fresh & fair elections (iii)- In India there are many political parties (AIMIM etc) championing the cause of Muslims but so far none has mustered the courage to even file a petition in Supreme Court of India (SCI) for the legally expected restoration of status-quo-ante of Babri Masjid though this dereliction by Muslim leaders has caused loss of lives, blood, properties and honor of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims (iv)- In J&K (especially in Kashmir) no leader has dared to file petition in J&K High Court / SCI for plebiscite in united J&K though it is mandated by IoA of J&K to India and though it has caused immense loss of lives, blood, properties and honor of mainly Kashmiris (including forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Kashmir Pundits). 

 

Therefore the gullible grass-root workers of the TLP should immediately stop giving lives & blood for the selfish & irresponsible religious leaders of Pakistan and even for the ideologically-uncommitted present leadership of the TLP (so-called Shura of the TLP) and instead should go for organizational election (for electing new leadership of the TLP at every level from bottom to top) and after these organizational elections the TLP should demand fresh elections for National Assembly in the interest of legislating comprehensive laws for democratic-right-to-protest and blasphemy (namoose-Risalat).

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