ISLAMABAD: A day after Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s statement that neither the state nor the government is ready to deal with groups like Tehreek-e-Labbak Pakistan (TLP), National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf disagreed with his cabinet colleague.
Moeed Yusuf was speaking to anchor Saleem Safi during the Geo News programme Jirga where he was asked to comment on the information minister’s statement.
“I do not agree at all that the state does not have the capability to deal [with TLP],” stated Yusuf, responding to Chaudhry’s earlier remarks.
“I had also said this publicly that a red line has to be drawn because the policemen martyred [during clashes with TLP] were also the state’s responsibility.”
Yusuf said that a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting was held to discuss the TLP issue by all relevant stakeholders. He said that after the meeting, the government released a statement stressing that “a red line has been drawn” but added that it also said it would prefer to resolve the matter through talks.
“After that, the matter progressed through talks,” he said.
He cited the example of the infamous Lal Masjid episode, saying that the media at the time had called upon the state to use force as its writ was being challenged right in the heart of the capital.
“And when the state used force, all of you [the media] stood against the government,” he added.
The PTI government had struck a secretive deal with TLP last month according to which the group was allowed to operate as a political party and its chief was released.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had spoken at length about the state of extremism in Pakistan and how the state should deal with it.
During a public event on Thursday, the minister had said that schools and colleges were the main reason, rather than madressahs, that extremism had spread in Pakistan.
“In the 90s, teachers were appointed to preach extremism,” the information minister said, while addressing the launching ceremony of “Charter of Peace”, organised by Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.
Chaudhry had said the state and government are “not fully prepared” to deal with extremism, adding that they had to “take a step back” while dealing with the TLP.
The information minister had also said the country faces “no danger from America or Europe”. Pakistan faces “the biggest danger from within”, he said.
Chaudhry had lamented that the menace of extremism is one that could isolate and destroy a country, and unfortunately, Pakistan “was pushed” towards it for political and foreign policy reasons.
Shedding light on other matters, he had said that “we have destroyed our policing and administrative system” and have not even found an alternative for it.
“If you cannot even save the lives of the people, how will you create a soft image? A state which cannot establish its writ for a prolonged period cannot survive for long.”
The information minister had noted that when the writ of the state ends, extremist elements begin to hold sway. He added that upholding the law is crucial to bringing a positive change in society.