ISLAMABAD (By Lala Hassan/ENN) Khawateen Mahaz-e-Amal (Women’s Action Forum – WAF) strongly condemns the PTI Government’s non-transparent, contradictory and counterproductive approach towards dealing with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP). The conclusion of a secret agreement between State/Government functionaries and TLP is cause for grave concern, particularly considering the TLP’s position on women, sectarian and religious minorities.
We strongly protest the TLP’s humiliation, torture and murder of law enforcement personnel and demand that the PTI Government must ensure perpetrators of this violence are brought to justice.
Our concern remains that as the terms and conditions of the agreement are clandestine, TLP workers who carried out acts of gross violence against the police will be released, without any accountability or standing trial under the criminal justice system.
WAF is particularly concerned over the double standard of the ruling PTI Government in its treatment of political parties and protestors. While restrictions have been placed on the right to protest where such protests are organized by women’s movements or civil rights movements, a complete capitulation was witnessed vis-à-vis TLP. While elected leaders remain incarcerated and are denied even the basic right of bail, negotiations were taking place with a proscribed outfit on behalf of the State/Government. Such a dual standard exposes the current PTI government’s opposition to genuine dissent and critique.
WAF recalls that instead of implementing the Faizabad Dharna judgement, authored by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the current PTI government instead began targeting the honourable judge. That the directions given in the judgement were pertinent and had they been acted upon, the PTI Government may have been better positioned to deal with the threats posed by TLP.
WAF notes with concern continuing impunity for TLP vis-à-vis destruction of private and public property; public nuisance; and loss of lives.
Accordingly WAF demands:
An independent inquiry into the killings of LEA personnel and damage to property caused by the TLP protest;
Information on the terms and conditions of the agreement concluded between State/Government functionaries and leaders of the TLP;
An explanation from the PTI Government regarding its real policy on the TLP, in light of contradictory public statements made by federal cabinet ministers and spokespersons;
Information on the number of TLP workers released, and under what law these workers had been detained in the first place;
Information on the law, process and rationale leading up to proscription of TLP, as well as information on the law, process and rationale for its removal from the list of proscribed outfits;
Information on the law under which the simultaneous, parallel process of secret talks and negotiations are ongoing with the TTP – another proscribed/banned, militant/terrorist group, responsible for the killing of 80,000 Pakistanis, in particular the APS/Peshawar massacre of 2014.
WAF expresses its concern over how the aforementioned developments are taking place without any Parliamentary debate, endorsement or transparency. WAF strongly protests and condemns the PTI Government’s craven appeasement policy towards extremist and terrorist groups. Clearly, this is a slippery slope towards rigid theocracy via terrorism and extremist militancy – and a serious challenge to the Constitution and rule of law.