It seems that Pir Sialvi’s “ultimate” demand to the government to implement Shariah in the next ten days or else see a eruption of protests,in every “nook and corner of the country” was not so non-negotiable and threatening, after all.  After discussions with Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday, Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi has called off the formidable protest, saying that Peaceful Khatm-i-Nabuwwat and Sirat-un-Nabi conferences will be held instead of the protests.

Even the conservatives out of all of us would breathe a sigh of relief. Nobody wanted another round of protests, as everyone had seen the damage a culture of never ending protests to fulfil demands can do. The failure of PAT protests reflects how people, even perhaps the emphatic Khatam-e-Nabuwat supporters, have grown tired of blocking roads and clogging traffic.

Tired the people may be, the prospect of Sialvi’s protest had the potential to turn into another overwhelming security-threatening chaos. The Khatam-e-Nubawat controversy had already been ablaze, and the scenario seemed good enough o capitalise on people’s anger to needlessly call for an implementation of Shariah, whatever that means in the already Islamic republic of Pakistan.

Thus, the Punjab government must be commended for diffusing a potentially destabilising situation, which could have snowballed into another national crisis, worsening the economy and disrupting everyday life. The government severely mishandled Khadim Rizvi but it seems to have learned its lessons on Faizabad and dealt with Sialvi and Qadri better.

What is the cost of this white peace? The impending burden, and the shadow of the Khatam-e-Nabuwat controversy still hovers over the government, as it has lost support among religious supporters and even some of its own party members, with the resignation of some PML-N members. To cool Sialvi down, it appears the government must have had to make promise of discussion of concessions in the Chief Minister’s meeting with Sialvi, which may finally include the long-sought after resignation of Rana Sanuallah, as reports state that the Punjab CM assured that Rana Sanaullah will appear before the six-member committee.

However, perhaps the heaviest cost of stability and protest-free roads is the appeasement of groups who feel entitled to make unreasonable demands, and the government once again made to reinforce Khatam-e-Nabuwat movement with its hard-line agenda, as the CM did. It is beginning to seem that this issue, which has the potential to spark extremism and violence against minorities, will never die, no matter how many affirmations the government makes.