South Asia and Beyond

Labbaik Blackmail & The Pakistani State

The television images beaming out of Pakistan these days are familiar: mobs throwing rocks, battling with and beating up policemen, clouds of tear gas. Even the perpetrators are familiar: the Tehreek-e-Labbaik, one of dozens of Islamic outfits seeking to establish sharia law in the country. The government has banned it but in a country so deeply radicalised, it’s anybody’s guess how effective the ban will be, or what it is intended to achieve.

On The Gist, Sushant Sareen of the Observer Research Foundation and Tara Kartha former director of the National Security Council Secretariat, both Pakistan watchers, give their analysis of the current crisis, who or what forces are behind it, how secure is Prime Minister Imran Khan and what is the role of the all powerful army.

They also talk about the impact on India at a time when there are reports of a thaw underway. It raises many questions: does it make sense to talk peace with a government that has demonstrated ineptitude and a complete lack of political direction. Also, is the military divided, since reports suggest some of the corps commanders are making life difficult for their chief Gen. Bajwa. All these and many other questions on The Gist.

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