A Timeline of Pakistan bowing down to the Religious Right
Recently in a tragic turn of events, the Pakistani government signed a contract with the TLP, who had caused nation wide unrest for 3 continuous days. Prior to this, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in very strong words had announced that such behaviour would not be tolerated by the government and there would be serious repercussions. But alas, the government had to resort to negotiations and an accord was reached. However, this won’t be the first time that Pakistan has bowed down to the Religious Right.
We bring to you a history of governments bowing down to religious protesters.
1949 Objective Resolution:
In 1949 Pakistan’s Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was under pressure from religious groups to turn Pakistan into a religious state against the vision of its Founding Father Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Liaquat Ali Khan caved in and declared Islam as Pakistan’s state religion in “The Objective Resolution” to win the religious parties over, as his position within the Muslim League was weakening.
The 1974 riots
In 1974, a violent campaign, led mainly by the Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami, began against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan, on the pretext of a clash between Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis at the railway station of Rabwah. This campaign resulted in several Ahmadi casualties and destruction of Ahmadiyya property, including the desecration of mosques and graves.
As a result of pressure from this agitation, the PPP government made the infamous 2nd amendment to the Pakistani constitution, declaring Ahmedis as non Muslims and criminalizing the religious practises of Ahmadis by preventing them from claiming they are Muslim or from “behaving” as Muslims.
In 1997, the alliance of religious parties launched a series of protests against the PPP government to make Pakistan more “Islamic” by banning the sale of alcohol. Once again the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto led government caved in to the pressure by religious parties.
There were no religious protests from 1977-88 because the entire country became a religious party; courtesy Zia-ul-Haq.
2017 Faizabad Protest
When the ruling PMLN changed the election form and removed the word oath regarding candidates having to sign an oath for the finality of prophet-hood, Tehreek e laibak protested by blocking the Faizabad interchange in Islamabad for 20 days. After which the government struck a deal with them and the Minister for Law Zahid Hamid resigned.
2018 Atif Mian Resignation
In 2018, ruling PTI called Atif Mian to help with the economic policies of Naya Pakistan, as expected the TLP protested against this appointment because Mian was an Ahmedi. Which lead to Naya Pakistan being cancelled and Atif Mian’s resignation.