Soon after the Supreme Court gave the verdict in Aasia Bibi case and acquitted her of blasphemy charges, clerics and mullahs emerged out from the streets of the country and started protesting against the judiciary, army, and political government. Self-righteous and pseudo-representatives of Islam crippled the life in various cities of the country by blocking roads and causing traffic jams. In such grueling circumstances, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation came as a relief and people lauded him.
Does this mean that PM is looking forward to ending the politics of opportunism and exploiting the sentiments of masses to reach the echelons of power?
An analysis of Khan’s latest address and his stance in past over religious provocation in the country can give us an insight into the matter.
Imran Khan’s Address to Nation
A major chunk of civil society members from Pakistan reacted positively to supreme court’s verdict of Aasia Bibi case. They appreciated that a minority citizen was saved from being hanged to death merely on the basis of accusations and justice had finally been served.
In such circumstances, no one welcomed the protests from furious clerics who have brought the life to a standstill in mega cities of Pakistan. Hence, the address of Imran Khan proved to be a fresh breathe of air as they saw a leader standing to the stubbornness of the mullahs and threatening them if they dare challenge the writ of the state and continued inciting violence and provoking citizens against army chief and judiciary.
Here is how Twitterati evaluated Imran Khan’s Address.
Short. Bold. To the point speech by PM
— Waseem Badami (@WaseemBadami) October 31, 2018
Imran Khan's speech to the nation, which has delivered a strong and defiant rebuke to religious hardliners, suggests that the state may finally be changing course in terms of how it deals with these dangerous and destabilizing elements. It's another century for IK. #Pakistan
— Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) October 31, 2018
What an excellent and to the point speech by PM Imran Khan…. clear message to all those bigots who want to destablise Pakistan for their own gains…
— Shahzeb Khanzada (@shazbkhanzdaGEO) October 31, 2018
Iman Zainab the daughter of the minister of human rights Shireen Mazari also lauded Khan for taking such a courageous stance.
I stand by my Prime Minister, who has taken a clear, brave and strong position in his address. The writ of the State cannot be challenged by these goons. Bravo PM @ImranKhanPTI
— ایمان زینب (@ImaanZHazir) October 31, 2018
The same level of appreciation came from the actor Nadia Jamil who is an active voice against child abuse in Pakistan.
When a man who is hero worshipped by the youth & much of the adult populace makes a statement like this against extremist forces, one has 2 heave a sigh of relief. Brave and strong words. Allah protect you @ImranKhanPTI always. Thank you. The beginning of the end of extremism! IA https://t.co/AGvFO7yHVw
— Nadia Jamil (@NJLahori) October 31, 2018
Was It Really So Brave of Khan to Call Mullahs?
Well, it was because in a country like Pakistan unfortunately even debate on religious subjects is often considered a blasphemy. So statesmen need to be careful in crafting their words while addressing the irrationality of religious clerics.
As far as Imran Khan’s address to the nation after protests against Aasia Bibi’s verdict was considered it was not actually aimed at directing the elephant in the room. In fact, it was more aimed at barring protestors from challenging the writ of the state, army, and judiciary.
Few notable journalists were so quick to point this situation.
A clear message from PM Khan. Short and sharp. No apologetics. Unconcealed anger towards those inciting violence against judiciary and military.
— Nadeem Farooq Paracha (@NadeemfParacha) October 31, 2018
Prime Minister of Pakistan also deserves appreciation that this time he didn’t embrace pressure from mullahs and took a bold stance. His government had faced harsh criticism upon removal of Atif Mian from Economic Advisory Council, only because his faith didn’t appease so-called religious scholars.
A Lesson from Political Parties and Institutes
After Aasia Bibi’s verdict
and Imran Khan’s address to the nation, many people used the phrase of Frankenstein’s monster in connection with instituted and politicians who supported and backed the religious clerics and now they are facing their reaction.
Once the dust settles and situation is under control, we hope that the powers-that-be and PM Imran Khan will take stock of their past conduct. Mobilising bigots for short term goal of ousting PMLN? Too costly.
Now the Frankensteins are threatening the creator[s].
— Raza Ahmad Rumi (@Razarumi) October 31, 2018
Now when Imran Khan has witnessed how harsh it is to face the fanaticism of emotionally charged mob, he must learn how unfair it is to use the religion for political point scoring and exploiting sentiments just to score votes.