Peaceful protests and violence

by Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat

The recent Rawalpindi incident, which was dreadful and alarming to say the least, created tremors that continue to resound throughout the country. Following the clash between two religious groups, the Punjab government formed a judicial commission and a fact-finding committee to probe the incident. Both the judicial commission and fact-finding committee would work separately to find out the motives and those involved in the unfortunate incident.

While peaceful protest is definitely a right of aggrieved all over the world, what is not tolerable is the indiscriminate violence that sometimes follows it. Such violence in which innocent lives are lost, people injured and properties burnt is counterproductive in every sense. While it hurts people, it also ebbs sympathy for the cause, creates frightful ripples in the society and may result in a chain of uncontrolled violence.

Earlier, this year, the Tehrik-e-Minhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri held a massive protest meeting at the Minar-Pakistan, Lahore. The meeting was attended by hundreds of thousands of his supporters, who remained perfectly calm and poised. Later, the TMQ chief led a large number of people, including women and children, to Islamabad where they continued to sit in for four days in cold and rain. Afterwards, the participants left the D-Chowk in the federal capital and the long march ended peacefully.

What was astonishing was the fact that the participants who came from all corners of the country and also from abroad did not indulge in any kind of violence. They remained highly disciplined and regimented. As their demands were aired to the world, they patiently waited in terrible weather for the government’s response. But at no time did they get involve in violence or raised slogans against any segment or group in the society. Thus, they put up an example for others by remaining peaceful yet at the same time protested, which is unparalleled in the history of this country. The million-man march on Islamabad began with a sit-in near parliament and ended calmly.

On Friday, tens of thousands of people all across the country protested against the Rawalpindi tragedy. They brought out rallies and held demonstrations across the country. Also, the tragedy was marked in Friday’s sermons by Khateebs. Luckily, no violent incident took place throughout the day anywhere in the country. This spirit must be appreciated by all.

It in the light of Friday’s peaceful events, in the future no private or public property should be ransacked, damaged or burnt in the guise of any kind of protest anywhere in the country over the distressing Rawalpindi incident. The difference between victims and those who perpetuate violence should be discernible.


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