As the death toll rises to eleven in the aftermath of the outbreak of violence in Model Town Lahore, questions surrounding the police brutality remain unanswered. Reports of pre-emptive emergencies declared in nearby hospitals before a single shot was fired, in addition to the police-sanctioned vandalism of one of PML-N’s workers makes the claims of ignorance made by the ruling party almost unbelievable. It is virtually impossible that the police took things into their own hands in Model Town, the traditional stronghold of the PML-N, without any orders from above. The government’s claims of the police acting on its own does not do them any favours either. If the PML-N cannot even control the police in the places where it is strongest, how is it supposed to adequately look to the affairs of the entire country?

The government did not need to give weight to the accusations of Dr. Qadri against the government, and instead of quelling the new rhetoric of state terrorism that is quickly gathering momentum, the PML-N has only added fuel to the fire by lodging FIRs against PAT workers and Dr. Qadri’s son. The victims of the Model Town incident will be used for political leverage, and only allow Dr. Qadri to exploit this incident to further his anti-democratic agenda and incite his supporters against the government. Other political opponents will jump in, and the hole that the PML-N has dug for itself will be made deeper.

This heinous and entirely unnecessary action by the police force divides the country when it is imperative to stand united, and shifts the attention of the populace from the operation in North Waziristan to upcoming rallies and protests against the government. This was one of those rare periods in our history when the entire country was focused on finding solutions for one problem, and for once, a holistic action against terrorism looked to be the country’s top priority. Just when the debates of whether there is such a thing as a good terrorist, and whether the sectarian outfits deserve immunity had begun to surface, the actions of the government have pushed those issues to the background. The naysayers of the operation will use this opportunity to remind everyone of the inadequacies of the government and will cite this incident as an example of how the government will transgress its responsibility when the country is in a state of war. The PML-N needs to admit its mistake for the interests of the entire country, and give up those that allowed this to happen, no matter how high they are on the food chain. Setting up a judicial commission alone will not suffice, and for once, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.