A recent photograph of the chief of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA), Khadim Hussain Rizvi, has stirred a controversy. In the photograph we can see the chief being granted a VIP protocol at the airport, and this is not just the usual VIP protocol that we are talking about. Men guardian him were not just armed but also in a uniform, which is precisely what is bothering the audience on social media. The picture is being shared frequently and a very important question is being asked - why was he granted this protocol?

If we view this question in light of recent events, it certainly stands out. The courts have been pushing a trend against this VIP culture to ensure that our leaders travel exactly like our citizens, unless of course there is a security threat involved. If important leaders in the country have been stripped of this advantage of the VIP protocol, then a political actor - who has recently emerged in the political scene and only managed to cause chaos and threaten the peace of the state - being granted this right cannot be justified.

This is precisely what has angered the population because the party’s chief and their radical inclinations are known to everyone. It is common knowledge that the group incites violence and routinely engages in hate speech. It is fairly evident that the more exposure they are offered, the more extremist their claims become.

At the same time, uniformed men arming a person known for inciting hate is what is indigestible at the moment and certainly a pertinent question which needs to be answered. Have we forgotten our duty towards the National Action Plan (NAP) and ridding the social set up of extremist narratives? While there are certainly reports that there is a threat to the main leaders of each mainstream political party, but many mainstream politicians have been out on the streets to engage with their voters and that too with personally hired firms who wear the blue of private security firms, not the camouflage fatigues of the armed forces.

This is a strange incident that needs a through explanation. Either he is being offered a protocol by the military, or the cleric is only giving the impression that the military is supporting him. Both implications are dire.