Islamabad, Nov 08 (TNS): Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, while addressing the Senate on Thursday, warned that the government would make an example out of anyone who will try to take the law into their own hands.
Speaking on the agreement between the government and the leadership of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to end the protests against Aasia Bibi’s acquittal, Afridi said that the state had only signed the document because ‘Naya Pakistan’ does not believe in bloodshed.
Shortly after the Supreme Court’s verdict on Oct 31, TLP had blocked roads in major cities of the country for three days, condemning the judges who had acquitted Aasia Bibi, the prime minister and the army chief.
The TLP had called off the protests after striking a deal with the government. Under the five-point agreement, the government said it would not object to the review petition filed against the acquittal of the Christian woman and would “initiate a legal process” to place her name on the ECL.
“In three days [of the protests], not a single drop of blood was spilled,” Afridi said, during Thursday’s Senate session being presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.
“The government will not use bullets against its own citizens. We will embrace our citizens and hold dialogues with them.”
Afridi pointed out that protestors had apologised in the agreement that was signed. “To petition the court to review the case is a legal right,” the minister said.
He also claimed that it was political workers from other parties that had come out on the streets and resorted to violence.
“We showed TLP the footage of the people being violent on the streets and they distanced themselves from the people in the video.”
“We met with the TLP leadership yesterday and I will soon brief the prime minister on what transpired during the meeting.”
“The people who challenge the writ of the state and take the law into their own hands will not be given any concessions,” he concluded.
On Tuesday, opposition parties in the Senate had criticised the government for not being forceful enough in dealing with TLP.
“Our army chief was called out by name. The judiciary, the state and the army were dragged [into the mess]: what kind of message is being sent with these actions?” PPP’s Parliamentary Leader, Senator Sherry Rehman, had asked. “The government was all talk and no action. This was the first time we’ve heard the state challenged like this. How can this challenge be ignored?”
Senator Raza Rabbani had regretted that the country was shut down for three days and Constitutional institutions were attacked.