Mainstreaming Radicalism

After the failure of the Faizabad operation, several political actors have resorted to highlighting their own allegiances to the parties involved. Former President, General Pervez Musharraf, declared on Wednesday that he is the greatest supporter of Lashkar e Taiba (LeT). He also emphasised on the fact that despite having liberal thoughts himself, he has nothing against religious outfits; which is why Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) and chief Hafiz Saeed in fact are quite fond of him. At the same time, chief of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan declared that liberals are a threat to the country and they are more dangerous than anyone else because they are always thirsty for blood.

Both the statements have faced a severe backlash on social media. The point being raised by people, and rightly so, is how both the leaders are comfortable with extremist elements challenging the writ of the state but are not alright with people having liberal views. At the same time, they questioned how those taking lives into their own hands are a non threat than those who preach acceptance and diversity.

These statements highlight the inclination of both the leaders and how they hope to bring these outfits to the mainstream network. Be it General Musharraf’s 23 party grand alliance or Imran Khan’s urgency to get to the seat of the PM. There is no doubt about the fact that both of them will push for including these outfits into the system of governance. We have already witnessed that in PTI’s case, with them forming an alliance with JUI-S for the upcoming general elections. For General Musharraf, several might say that it is a U-turn form his policy of enlightened moderation in the last tenure.

However, it does raise a question on the kind of politics that they want to indulge in. Especially if you look at these statements in the light of recent events. It is almost an attempt to justify the chaos that took place. With their inclination towards radical elements, it is quite evident that they do not want to let go of the politics of dharnas and calls for anarchy – without realising that the polity and the masses have modernised and moved out of archaic political rhetorics. These two should not be their go to options in the current times. Democratic principles can be upheld only when followed, and not just talked about.

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