The hate vote

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL -

Se­condly, if some po­lit­i­cal par­ties are strik­ing elec­toral deals with the banned or­gan­i­sa­tions, does this mean that the big­oted ide­olo­gies that th­ese out­fits prop­a­gate ac­tu­ally have voter sup­port from cer­tain sec­tions of the so­ci­ety?

This ques­tion be­comes all the more im­por­tant to pon­der, con­sid­er­ing the fact that re­li­gious par­ties have al­most al­ways fared badly in elec­tions in Pak­istan.

When par­ties like the cen­tre-right PML-N en­ter into elec­toral deals with banned mil­i­tant out­fits, are they not openly ac­knowl­edg­ing the fact that th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions have enough num­ber of votes to cut deals with?

Yes, equally dis­turb­ing is the fact that some mem­bers of the cen­tre-left PPP and re­cently, the overtly sec­u­lar MQM, too were em­bar­rassed by the lib­eral sec­tions of the me­dia for try­ing to cul­ti­vate elec­toral links with banned out­fits, but their move in this re­spect pales in com­par­i­son with what the PML-N’s pro­vin­cial regime in the Pun­jab was up to in this re­spect.

If the out­go­ing PPP-led coali­tion government was all at sea in con­trol­ling rapid spats of ex­trem­ist vi­o­lence in the coun­try, the PML-N regime in Pun­jab was equally bam­boo­zled by ris­ing cases of mob vio- lence against Chris­tians and per­ceived ‘blas­phe­mers’ in the province.

How­ever, whereas the PPP regime at the cen­tre was clearly in­com­pe­tent to man­age the ex­trem­ist men­ace, was not the PML-N regime in Pun­jab ac­tu­ally al­low­ing banned mil­i­tant out­fits and their front or­gan­i­sa­tions to cre­ate havoc in the lives of Pak­istani Chris­tians, Ah­madis, and as well as those Mus­lims whom th­ese out­fits ac­cuse of be­ing hereti­cal and apos­tate?

The fi­nal de­ci­sion to take ac­tion against out­fits re­spon­si­ble for en­cour­ag­ing and or­gan­is­ing vi­o­lence against the mi­nori­ties and Shias in the Pun­jab lay with the Chief Min­is­ter Shah­baz Sharif. Not the po­lice alone. The CM hardly moved dur­ing the many episodes of this mag­ni­tude.

That’s why PML-N crit­ics con­vinc­ingly claim that this was mainly due to the Pun­jab regime’s ‘un­der­stand­ing’ with banned out­fits. An un­der­stand­ing that saw the Pun­jab regime look­ing the other way as long as the banned out­fits car­ried out their vi­o­lent ac­tiv­i­ties in other prov­inces and only touched non-Mus­lim sec­tions of the pop­u­la­tion in the Pun­jab.

So of­ten we have heard apol­o­gists main­tain that Pak­istan is mostly a coun­try of mod­er­ate Mus­lims. If so, then what are

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