5 Times PTI Govt Surrendered To Religious Extremists
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government recently capitulated to the religious extremist groups and halted the construction of the first Hindu temple in the federal capital.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is being criticised for taking a U-turn on his decision to approve the construction of the first Hindu temple in Islamabad. The move was being hailed as a progressive step by activists, but the PTI government soon surrendered to the religious clerics who were protesting the decision.
But this is not the first time the PTI government expressed helplessness in front of fanatics. Here is all you need to know about PTI government’s track record when it comes to handling religious extremists who are known to enjoy impunity in the country.
- Atif Mian’s removal from Economic Advisory Council: In September 2018, the government asked Princeton University economist Atif R Mian to step down from the PM-led Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on the basis that he belonged to the Ahmaddiya community. The move was made after mounting pressure from the religious parties. According to government, the decision was taken because it didn’t want to ‘divide the council’.
- Capitulation to TLP: In November, 2018, the government bowed to accepting the demands of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in wake of the Asia Bibi verdict. The government said it would not content a review petition in the top court in the case. Also, it had accepted to release any members of the party arrested during the protest.
- Failure to implement SC verdict freeing Aasia Bibi: Blasphemy accused Asia Bibi was acquitted and absolved of the blasphemy accusation in the November 2018 by the Supreme Court, but she was not released and was kept in protective custody for another six months before she was sent abroad, purely due to the fear that the fanatics would cause harm to her. The PTI government failed to take those threatening the wrongfully imprisoned woman to task and instead kept her confined to protective custody.
- Failure to support Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s efforts to disband the outdated Ruet-e-Hilal committee: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry recently announced that the ministry of Science and Technology will be taking charge of moon sighting in Pakistan and that the Ruet-e-Hilal committee, a body comprising clerics who meet to sight moon ahead of Eid, Ramzan and other occasions, needs to be disbanded. He had also previously said that he would disband the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee and decide the issue purely on the basis of science. However, the Ruet committee is functional, with Mufti Muneeb as its head. Ironically, the PTI government did not support its own minister in the efforts given the fact that it were the clerics on the other side. In fact, Religious Affairs Minister Noor ul Haq Qadri had asked Fawad Chaudhry to leave the matter with Mufti Muneeb.
- U-turn on Ahmadi representation in Minority Commission: In May this year, the government backtracked from a decision to give representation to Ahmaddiya community in the minority commission after backlash from bigots. Not only this, but ministers then started to spew all sorts of bigoted remarks against the community in an attempt to prove their ‘loyalty’ to Islam’. Ali Muhammad Khan, a sitting minister tweeted violent remarks against the community and gave assurances that the PTI government is no friend to the Ahmadis.