Appeasement of mob violence unacceptable

Appeasement of mob violence unacceptable

Lahore, 4 November 2018. Following three days of street violence perpetrated by far-right
religious-political groups – notably the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) – who opposed the
Supreme Court’s acquittal of Aasia Bibi, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
has said that it is ‘appalled at the government’s failure to preserve the writ of the state and
the sanctity of the rule of law.’ In a statement issued today, HRCP has said:
‘It is a travesty that injustice should have followed so closely on the heels of justice – in this
case, a verdict issued by the highest court in the land. Aasia Bibi has been thrust from
acquittal to uncertainty, fear for her life and fear for the lives of her family. What was hailed
as a landmark judgement and a human rights victory unraveled into a situation in which
there was no distinction between the peaceful right to dissent and the thuggery of mobs
who claimed a ‘moral right’ to wreak public havoc, to attack citizens and law enforcement
personnel, to wantonly destroy property and to incite hatred against religious minorities.
‘HRCP is seriously concerned at how quickly the government capitulated to the demands of
extremist-led mobs, despite its earlier vow to preserve the writ of the state. The TLP called
openly for murder and mutiny, made a mockery of the rule of law and fundamental rights
enshrined in the constitution, and appears to have assumed all the while that its methods
were legitimate means of dissent. This cuts to the heart of the democratic process – a
process in which the TLP and other religious-political parties took part and are therefore
obligated to respect. HRCP strongly urges the government to take an unequivocal and
consistent stand against groups and individuals that have no qualms about employing
violent, extra-constitutional means to have their way.’

Dr Mehdi Hasan
Chairperson

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