Tehreek-e-Labbaik: how blasphemy case in Pakistan brought down hardline religious party

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Abstract

Though Imran Khan’s government presides over parliament, the military holds enormous political power in Pakistan, and on the rare occasions it is publicly criticised, responds with a heavy hand. In May 2019, just before Asia Bibi found asylum in Canada, Afzal Qadri was ordered to apologise for his threat to the military and stood down citing health reasons. Now, with its two firebrand leaders living under post-arrest bail conditions, Asia Bibi forging a new life in Canada and the protracted trial ongoing, TLP appears to have been politically neutralised.

In Pakistan, any religious group or political party can survive as long as it doesn’t threaten the interests of the country’s strong military establishment. Critics argue that the TLP might have survived if it had not issued a fatwa against the military leadership. But Pakistan’s new government also took a bold stance in bringing the fanatics under the rule of law. Both civilian and military leadership must understand that Pakistani society cannot afford to tolerate such extremist groups. It is time for everyone to be made accountable under the law. This would make the dream of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a reality by creating a country that is safe for minorities. Today, rule of law and equal rights are the only way forward if Pakistan is to become a prosperous and progressive country.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Minority Groups
  • Pakistan
  • religion
  • Fundamental rights

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