An unfortunate attack

May 9, 2018

The Punjab government has formed a four-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the assassination attempt on federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in Narowal. Reportedly, during interrogation, the suspect confessed to have targeted the Interior Minister over the issue of amendment in Khatm-e-Nubawwat (Finality of Prophethood) law that emerged last year. It is pertinent to mention here that the Khatm-e-Nabuwat [Finality of Prophethood] clause was restored to its original form, after the controversy surfaced.

Although the controversial amendment was criticized by members from the ruling party as well as opposition parties, it was Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) who took matters one step ahead and staged a days-long sit in at Islamabad’s Faizabad area. Government conducted an unsuccessful operation to remove the protestors from the Faizabad area. However, after the failed operation and weeks-long protest that virtually paralyzed the capital and saw several people losing their lives, the government finally gave in to the demands of protesters camped out at Faizabad Interchange with Zahid Hamid resigning as the Federal Law Minister. Despite the restoration of Khatm-e-Nabuwat [Finality of Prophethood] clause to its original form political opponents of the ruling party continued to use the ‘settled’ controversy to target the ruling party. The conduct of the ruling party itself and many of its leaders on the issue was far from satisfactory. The use of religion in Pakistan for political gains is nothing new, however in recent months there has been an obvious increase in promotion of intolerance and religious hatred. The flames of hatred stoked by certain elements in the society will not remain confined, and would be hard to stamp out if the society doesn’t unite against such elements. At the same time there is also an urgent need for political leaders to tone down their speeches, targeting rivals by demanding your supporters to drag them in the streets and slogans that are even more serious in nature should be a huge no. The government also needs to investigate, what appears to be a clear security failure that led to the assassination attempt at the Interior Minister. It is questionable how someone with a weapon was able to come so close to the Federal Minister, who is the top civilian law-enforcement official in the country. Action should be taken against those responsible for the security lapse and steps must be taken to ensure the security of not only politicians and government officials but also the security of the common man. With elections approaching and political activities expected to rise exponentially the resources of the law enforcement agencies will be stretched, but the incumbent government and the soon to be installed caretaker government must ensure that the challenge is met.

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