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Appeasement to avoid bloodshed sends a dangerous message to non-state actors: Mazari

Updated November 04, 2018

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Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari. ─ File photo
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari. ─ File photo

A day after religio-political parties called off their protests against the Supreme Court's landmark verdict in the Asia Bibi case after an agreement with the government, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari via Twitter on Sunday highlighted the dangers of "appeasing non-state actors".

The minister shared her thoughts on how "appeasement historically never works", citing the example of the 1938 Munich pact in which Britain and France told Nazi Germany they would not object to its annexation of parts of the former Czechoslovakia.

"Appeasement to avoid 'bloodshed' in a war-weary Europe led to massive bloodshed and destruction in the form of World War II," Mazari said.

The Munich agreement was one of a number of pacts signed between 1934-39 to appease Nazis. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed on August 23, 1939 ─ a non-aggression agreement between Adolf Hitler's Germany and Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union ─ also contained a secret agreement between the two countries to carve up Poland. It led to the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, widely regarded as the start of World War II.

She added: "Appeasement to 'avoid bloodshed' sends a dangerous message to non-state actors and undermines the very concept of democratic, peaceful protest."

"The state has to enforce rule of law, Constitution and stand by state institutions, especially when they are targeted."

Mazari said that "despite sceptics and beyond despondency", she trusted Prime Minister Imran Khan to deliver on his commitments to the rule of law, Constitution and defence of state institutions, "as well as to human rights guaranteed in the Constitution ─ not just in the present situation, but also on issues like enforced disappearances."

The protests which began on Oct 30, the day the SC judgement on Asia Bibi's appeal was announced, continued across the country for three days.

The protests finally cleared up on Saturday after an agreement was struck, in which the government conceded to "initiate the legal process" to place Asia Bibi's name on the Exit Control List, refrain from opposing a review petition against the SC judgement in the case, and agreed to redress any deaths that may have occurred during the protests and release those taken into custody in connection with the sit-in.

Read more: TLP ends protest after deal with government

Twitter refused to block TLP chief's account

Notable political commentator and author Ayesha Siddiqa posed a question to the human rights minister wondering whether her ministry had gotten in touch with Facebook and Twitter to block the social media accounts associated with Tehreek-i-Labbaik chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who had largely spearheaded the protests against the SC verdict.

Mazari responded that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had been "asked to do this by the relevant minister on Friday, and I am shocked it hasn't happened".

She added: "Just checked with the information minister, who was informed that Twitter refusing our request."