It is too close to comfort and it keeps on recurring to a frightening degree. Without doubt the country is unraveling but the process is devoid of a silhouette of what is in store for future. It is a classic case of one step forward and two backwards. The sequential trajectory is quite incomprehensible though the motives governing it become manifest after some time. The real worry emerges when the contradictory motives of occurrences begin to emerge.
The nature of factors responsible for alteration of national fabric is strewn with motives that have an inherent potential to clash and that is a very disturbing factor.
The challenge mounted against a verdict of the Supreme Court was expected due to the controversial nature of the case but the timing of the verdict was incomprehensible. Who was trying to prove what also defies understanding as there is no dearth of socio-political issues to address and redress.
The judicial arm of the state is considered very active in current scenario and appears not to spare anyone. Delay in dispensing justice is endemic in the system and trying to make history by creating widespread tremours is not the only way to do it. The best method is to prepare grounds for settlement of controversial issues so as to make them sufficiently palatable whereas doing things haphazardly is to add pain to an already unraveling polity.
The happenings of the last week emphasised that religious emotion has conveniently travelled from rural locales of Jhang and Muzzafargarh in south Punjab to urban destinations of Lahore and adjoining areas of GT Road right up to twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad that was once considered safe territory of moderate PMLN. The zeal created by firebrand leader of Tehrik-e-Labbaik was instrumental in getting the party more than two million votes and even two provincial assembly seats in far-off Karachi revealing the extending contours of religious sentiments. Due to its particular brand, the religious fervour generated by zealots did not penetrate KP though it is not far-fetched that other factions may contemplate even temporary alliances as was borne out by late Maulana Samiul Haq.
The most worrying aspect is the direct challenge thrown by the protestors to high-level state functionaries and it becomes serious due to the treatment meted out to one provincial governor and one federal minister. Such provocation to emotions is dangerous as the areas constituting Pakistan had a long history of extremist religious behaviour that never fails to appeal to even supposedly saner elements of society. The threatened personages will remain under threat even after the protest is resolved as such sentiments possess the unfortunate tendency to linger. The best way is to proscribe such renderings through law and inculcate a sense of responsibility in mass-leaders through consistent warning issued to them by official agencies whose job is to trail them immediately after they come to prominence.
Another worrying aspect is the freedom enjoyed by such protestors to criss-cross the country with impunity despite the fact that intentions are impugned. In an advanced political set-up such as America President Trump felt no hesitation in dispatching troops to fend-off hapless refugees and on the other hand supposedly authoritarian governing apparatus of Pakistan letting the marauding bands marching through the hinterland to Islamabad without a check. It was abundantly clear that the intentions of the bands were far from peaceful and yet no preventive measure was taken. It is too much levity provided to unscrupulous elements in the name of political freedom whereas it was not a political activity they had resorted to but a clear-cut clash of intended supremacy.
Going by the past, it is expected that no lessons will be learnt from the fiasco. No one will go home and no one is going to be charged under the law. This is indeed a worrying aspect because in the absence of writ of law such instances have a tendency to recur. The grounds are all laid for the return of the scourge and it is only a matter of time. We cannot even wish that such repetitions are forestalled for future because there appears to be no intention on the part of the governing machinery to rectify things for all times to come. This is a state where adhocism is rampant and where collective amnesia prevails.