The government has issued arrest warrants for the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and other Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) leaders after an anti-terrorism court declared them proclaimed offenders for failing to appear before the courts. While initially the law enforcement agencies claimed they could not locate the cleric, now he is making no attempt to hide at all. The cleric has staged a ‘protest’ in Lahore, surrounded by his followers. While the ostensible reason for the protest stems from the issues that rose from the Khattam-e-Nabuwat controversy. The outstanding arrest warrants add a problematic wrinkle to the whole affair.

At this point, it does not come as a surprise that the government is having difficulty in arresting these offenders because they are busy trying to recreate the Faizabad sit-in atmosphere in front of Data Darbar in Lahore. Their claim that the government should follow through with the military brokered deal with the party was declared null and void by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The government is under no obligation to follow through. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC pointed out how the terms agreed upon could not be legally justified. If the party feels aggrieved, there is a legal course of action for such matters instead of threatening the state and its people.

Blocking roads and creating a sense of anarchy should be dealt with very seriously. Since the protest is in its early stages, this time around, the government has ample amount of time to work on a strategy to disperse this crowd. We do not again want the precedent being set that encourages people who indulge in hate-speech or hate crime. It is nothing but an extremist pressure group looking for some relevance in the political system. And since, they cannot do it through proper political channels, they resort to threats of violence.

At the same time, a close look also is needed on the political activities of such groups. We have already witnessed the lack of enforcement in the case of Milli Muslim League (MML). The same trend cannot be repeated. These individuals do not realise the risk and the threat of the claims that they make. One state minister has already been the target. They need to be stopped before this course of action becomes repetitive.