- Just when the anti-PML-N forces decided to go slow against the government, massacre at Minhaj Secretariat enabled the marginalised political parties to attack afresh
The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government has crossed swords with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qari probably at a wrong time, spoiling its recently-generated good will generated across the political circles after its decision to take on Taliban in North Waziristan.
Not only the Sharifs lost the much needed breather to focus on the war on terror in the tribal belt but also allowed the pandemonium to swing in favour of Qadri with all forces standing behind him right now after the mid-night raids at Minhajul Quran leaving eight dead and several wounded.
The situation was much different a day earlier. The political leaders arrayed against Sharifs rightly or wrongly were ready to put their agitation against the government on the back-burner.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was the first to suspend his protests. Khan called off the protest meeting against the government in Bahawalpur the moment Nawaz on the floor of the House announced plans to take on Taliban in NWA. Sheikh Rasheed, another government basher, too dropped the idea of launching a train march. Sources disclosed that even PAT and PML-Q had started reconsidering their options.
PML-Q leader Pervaiz Elahi and son of Tahirul Qadri held a meeting the other day and decided to go slow against the government as long as the operation was going on in the tribal area.
More importantly, the government received backing from all kind of political forces including the ones not in favour of operation.
As such there was a great sense of unity and sentiment of oneness prevailing in the country, giving ample breathing space to the government to improve its domestic problems with single-mindedness.
But the bonhomie was not to be lasted any longer and came the salvo which is hard to imagine and still difficult to explain.
Why the government needs such huge force to clear the barriers when the same could be done in a more subtle manner. Result was there to be seen by all, a bloody showdown leaving several dead and injured besides inflaming sentiments across the country against the government which a moment before was being applauded. The forces that put off their protests now are planning to come back with greater force in solidarity with Qadri.
The damage control measures that government will adopt in coming days will be very important to appease the political quarters in general and Dr Qadri in particular.
Already Imran Khan has announced protests against the killings by police.
Tahirul Qadri’s supporters held demonstrations countrywide. In Lahore they held protests at Ravi Toll Plaza and at the route of Metro Bus. The protests are continuing in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, etc.
Only God knows where these protests will lead the country in coming days. Qadri will definitely create more difficulties for the government by making common cause with other political forces.
The tempers are quite high at the moment.
Interestingly, Shahbaz Sharif said he was not in the loop as operation started. But to ordinary person the build-up before the final showdown was quite clear.
Things were brewing between PML-N and PAT. War of words had intensified. The PML-N had started to take Qadri head-on. They challenged him with threats to hold him accountable for the misuse of funds of Minhajul Quran.
Qadri remained undeterred and instead challenged the Sharifs and other bigwigs of the party. And then came the tragic drop scene at famous Minhaj-ul-Quran.