Ever since Khadim Rizvi was taken into “protective custody” in November, there has been relative calm in the functioning of daily life. It cannot be said the antics of Rizvi and that of his followers, which include protests that lead to shutting down and vandalism of the city, have been missed. Unfortunately the tranquillity that we have all been enjoying since Rizvi’s arrest might come to an end, as the Supreme Court, which took suo moto on the case of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)’s sit-in in October, and the vandalism and disruption of public order that followed it, will announce its verdict on Wednesday.

The verdict pertains to a variety of issues stemming from TLP’s infamous sit-in, including its party registration, its violent protest as well as the role of government institutions and regulators in the build-up, on the day and in the aftermath of the protest. In November, a two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Musheer Alam had reserved its verdict in the case after dishing out severe criticism to the attorney general, media regulator and other stakeholders. Rizvi is also facing legal trouble in the Anti-Terrorism Courts for inciting violence and disrupting public order.

It would be foolish not to anticipate that the announcing of the verdict will not give rise to the violent TLP activism we have seen. Already Police on Monday arrested dozens of TLP workers after they tried to block an armoured vehicle carrying Rizvi, who was produced by the law enforcement agencies before the ATC. This disruption at the hearing should be taken as a cautionary notice for what is to come at the verdict.

Months after the Supreme Court decision on the Aasia Bibi case, and the fiasco that followed it, now is the time for a proper reflection of the future of TLP, and how the State needs to deal with it effectively. It will be seen whether the months with Khadim Rizvi in custody were enough to fade TLP into obscurity and it is hoped that legal remedies against the party’s illegal activities will diminish its influence. However, if the party still manages to have street power without its leaders, then it must be admitted that TLP is not just an isolated faction anymore and its influence has strayed into the mainstream. In that case, the State needs to reanalyse its approach towards the far-right Islamist party before TLP’s more violent strategies start becoming normalised.