Sickness of the state

Khaled Ahmed

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi is wanted by an Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad but is absconding and no one knows where he is.

The Supreme Court is also hearing a case against him relating to the November 2017 violent “dharna” that disrupted life in the twin cities Islamabad-Rawalpindi for 20 days.

Although it is no big deal that he has disappeared – so has the killer police officer Rao Anwar of Karachi after murdering innocent citizens – the Supreme Court was keen to know who Rizvi was causing so much suffering to the general public and whose party was already winning more votes than the Pakistan People’s Party in by-elections.

Shockingly, no one knew much about Rizvi, least of all the intelligent agencies that should have started keeping tabs on him after the Labbaik brought Lahore to a standstill at the time of the hanging of Qadri the blasphemy-killer.

Even the Inter-Services Intelligent (ISI) didn’t know much about him, thinking it routine that people often don’t appear after being called in by the court.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan and almost all the leaders of the Mutahida Qaumi Movement have cases against them that they refuse to face, rebuffing court summons and defying arrest-warrants.

All this is perhaps “normal” because it relates to the nature of a sick state whose writ is thin in most of its territory.

Ex-president and ex-army chief Pervez Musharraf has also ducked out of his treason case and was able to leave the county without getting the restraint of ECL (Exit Control List) removed from his name.

Somebody just let him go. And then, just as he had to return after his passport ran out, someone in our embassy in Dubai renewed it.

The state is convulsed about the blasphemy committed in the change of a word from the oath text of the members of parliament – not strictly a blasphemy – but doesn’t care that its governance now closely resembles that of Somalia and Afghanistan.

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