For three days a few hundred supporters from hardline religious groups – led by the Tehreek-e-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan and Sunni Tehreek Pakistan – have been at the Faizabad Interchange, bringing the cities to a standstill. While the right to congregate and protest is one given to each citizen, the words and actions of these men have been a litany of crimes and lawlessness which should draw swift and strong condemnation from every corner of the political spectrum – but only silence rings from the halls of the civil-military leadership.

Let’s start with the words; the objective of the “protest” is to remove Law Minister Zahid Hamid for allegedly being responsible for the change in the Nabuwat clauses. However the message is far more dangerous; these clerics openly preach hatred against minorities, propagate incidents of vigilante murder based of their own twisted interpretation of Islam and perhaps most despicably; have threated the children of state ministers with violence if their demands are not met. These men claim to love the Prophet, but they love his message of peace a lot less.

If there violent vitriol wasn’t enough to convince us that these men are mere hooligans with a trumped up religio-political cause, there actions leave very little to the imagination. In the three days they have been here – in willful violation of the government’s law, which only allow mass protests in limited places - the clerics have kidnapped and held policemen hostage, attacked media teams, harassed local residents, clashed with security, blocked an ambulance leading to the death of a child, and have been involved in some good old fashioned vandalism.

Where are the condemnations? Where is the action? It is plain to see that this gaggle of men want to provoke a clash that feeds publicity, and the government has done well to avoid engaging with them on violent terms. However a time must come when this travesty must be forcibly stopped.

Furthermore, nothing prevents them from speaking out against this appalling behavior and the toxic cause that is being propagated. The military and government have very vocal about their commitment to tackle religious extremism and protect minorities, but when the time to act comes; both slip away into the night.

While these clerics were openly threatening children, the Chief of Army Staff and the Prime Minister stood for photo-ops at the Line of Control, pledging to defend the country from foreign aggression and terrorists – yet not a word against the terrorists sitting inside the capital.