Inquiry Into Faizabad

Political outrages are common thing, which flare up for two weeks, until they are forgotten and replaced by the next controversy. However, the damage inflicted by these controversies and mistakes often linger and convolute into dangerous precedents, silently breaking the spirit of the law, one by one. Although the Faizabad fiasco is done with and seemingly resolved, one does not need to look far, with the numerous violent protests springing up to fulfill demands, to assess the damage it has done to law and order in this country.

This is why it is imperative that, while the issue of Khatam-e-Nubawat should not be flared up again, there be a proper inquiry on whose mandate the authorities settled the protest and compensated the protesters. The Senate on Thursday very rightly called for judicial or parliamentary probe into the recent Faizabad sit-in and matters associated with it. Farhatullah Babar, a PPP senator, asked for an inquiry as to how the protesters managed to come all the way from Lahore and sustained for three weeks, who negotiated the terms of surrender and why some seemed to be handed cash at the end of the sit-in.

Executive oversight is one of the functions of Parliament, thus making this a very relevant issue for the Senate. At the end of the day, the state was held hostage by a few hundred protesters, and the establishment conferring blame on both sides sets a formidable precedent. The allegation of handing out money to protesters is also alarming.

The Parliament should press for a proper inquiry in this issue of misdirection of the executive, while making it clear this is not about the Elections Bill amendment. We can no longer afford to ignore mishaps which threaten the spirit of law, since they may be forgotten easily, but their vestiges remain a long time.


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