Update to the ‘coffin protest’ in Pakistan

Photo tweeted by Haider Changezi @Aushpaz: Dear #Pakistan U all came in protest but Gov is deaf, hasn't announced #ActionAgainstLeJ #WeAreAllHazara

Photo tweeted by Haider Changezi @Aushpaz: Dear #Pakistan U all came in protest but Gov is deaf, hasn’t announced #ActionAgainstLeJ #WeAreAllHazara

A quick note on the current situation: The past two days and nights have seen inspiring massive, ongoing peaceful protests all across Pakistan in solidarity with the ‘coffin protesters’ at Alamdar Road in Quetta who are refusing to bury their dead until their demands for security are met. The protests finally pushed the PPP government to action – the Balochistan provincial government has been dismissed and Governor Rule imposed in the province, one of the demands of the protestors.

The Prime Minister, who finally went to Quetta but wasn’t given security clearance to visit the protest site at Alamdar Road, announced that the Army Corps Commander Southern Command will supervise the Frontier Constabulary (FC) crackdown on militants, and that the FC has been given all authority to arrest, investigate and apprehend the culprits behind the Quetta blasts. This however, is hardly a solution to the issue, given the FC’s own alleged involvement in killings in Balochistan, and protecting the killers.

What’s needed is for the security establishment to commit to taking decisive action against the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) that has claimed responsibility for the Quetta blasts, as well as the SSP, TTP, LeT and other militant groups. That is a tall order given their history.

Meanwhile, the Constitution allows army to be brought in for security in aid of the civilian administration but this should not be seen as an invitation to Martial Law or army rule over the whole country, as Nasim Zehra pointed out while talking to Dunya TV earlier. The situation must not be allowed to derail the political process or the elections coming up in a few months. The protestors would do well to keep their focus on these issues, rather than trying to bring the government down, which will serve no purpose other than send Pakistan into another, worse downward spiral. For the first time an elected govt is close to holding elections and handing over power to the next elected govt. The process must be allowed to continue, despite these genuine protests and despite the long march by a would-be spoiler from Canada.

p.s. The anti-Ahmadi banners that have cropped up all over Lahore must be removed and action taken against those who make and post them. Allowing such hate speech in public lays the ground for more militancy (href=”http://bit.ly/11tnJe5″>anti-Ahmadi bannersat Lahore’s MughalPura Chowk, Canal MughalPura, DharamPura chowk, BusStop PressClub).

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