ISLAMABAD - The overall fragile security situation of the country faced another jolt on Friday with the assassination of JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq, putting the government in another test of maintaining law and order in the country that is already facing sit-ins and protests against acquittal of a Christian woman.

The crisis that started in the country with the protests and sit-ins of religious groups against acquittal of Aasia Bibi in the blasphemy case gained severity following the assassination of Maulana Samiul Haq when it comes to situation on political and security horizon of the country.

The worsening security situation is a big challenge for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s federal government as activists of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have staged sit-ins in different parts of the country demanding reversal of the acquittal decision.

There is growing sense of turmoil and lingering crisis in the country and the assassination of Maulana Samiul Haq, also regarded as the Father of Taliban, added to the sense of uncertainly and religious tensions.

Although the late Friday evening agreement of the government with the Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s TLP gave the former a breather, it still remained unclear how soon a sense of normalcy would return to the country. In addition to that, some terms of the government’ agreement with the TLP protesters are controversial in the sense that these don’t mention any compensation of life and property losses caused as a result of the protests. One of the terms of the agreement say that legal process would be initiated to put the name of Aasia Bibi on the Exit Control List (ECL), a no fly list, will also jeopardise her life again.

Friday was the third consecutive day of angry protests throughout the country, mostly led by activists of TLP, that had sparked on last Wednesday after the Supreme Court decision. The apex court overturned death sentence awarded to Aasia Bibi by a trial court and later endorsed by the high court.

On Friday, angry protesters of TLP and other religious groups continued to block different main roads, highways and the national motorways of the country and setting on fire and damaging the public and private properties and thus crippled life in the entire country.

Maulana Samiul Haq, the chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Samiul Haq group (JUI-S) not only had a large number of following in the religious parties having Islam’s Deobandi school of thought but also had an influence within the Afghan Taliban. Maulana also headed known Jamia Darul Uloom Haqqania, a Deobandi Islamic seminary located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Akora Khattak area and large number of Afghan Taliban had been studying there mostly during the Afghan Jihad era.

“A complicated situation has emerged as Maulana had a large following in religious parties having Deobandi school of thought,” Muhammad Amir Rana, an Islamabad-based security analyst said. He added that Deobandi religious groups or parties could react over this high profile assassination and come on roads to lodge their protests. A situation of confrontation between the activists of Deobandi religious groups and Brelvi religious groups, which are already protesting against the acquittal, can emerge, he said. He suggested that the government should immediately announce its plan of action to deal with the situation besides making a political strategy on it. The government should also engage pro-government religious groups to calm down the situation, he added.

It is being widely believed that the killing of JUI-S chief could impact the ongoing peace process with the Afghan Taliban because of his deeply influence among different Afghanistan based Taliban groups. Rana said peace talks would not have direct impact with this assassination as Maulana Samiul Haq at the moment did not have had much influence on the new leadership of Taliban. However, he said that the growing sense of chaos and the turmoil in Pakistan after this killing would surely impact the Afghan peace process.  He also admitted that an Afghan delegation during his visit to Pakistan, some months back, had requested Maulana to play its role in the making the peace dialogue successful.





adds to fragile security