ISLAMABAD, APR 17 – Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Saturday that the writ of the state could not be challenged and that the situation in the country had returned to normal after countywide protests by the now proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) over the arrest of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi.

While speaking to the media in Rawalpindi after visiting injured police officers in the protests, the federal minister said that he congratulated the interior ministry, religious affairs ministry and provincial governments for jointly taking action to successfully control the protests and “it was once again firmly established that state writ can’t be challenged”.

Chaudhry said Pakistan was the world’s fifth biggest country (by population) and an atomic power, questioning how anyone could undermine it and its state.

“Pakistan’s state is not a weak state at all and no one should make the mistake of misunderstanding this,” he said, adding that Pakistan also had the “biggest defence system and army” in the Muslim world.

“So those who wanted to undermine Pakistan should remove that misunderstanding of theirs,” he said.

He said that in a “functional democracy”, there were different points of view and they were listened to but no one could attempt to blackmail the government or think they could exert power over it.

“The situation in all of Pakistan at this time has become normal,” said Chaudhry and further expressed his regret for yesterday’s social media ban for three-four hours, saying it had been “necessary”.

He alleged that prior investigations on sectarian riots and organisations had found the involvement of the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, so “here too there are parties who are used and many times they don’t even know whose hands they are playing into.”

The federal minister said permission cannot be granted for any kind of fitna (civil strife) “as a result of which the country is weakened and your international status is affected”.

Chaudhry also congratulated the police of the four provinces and the rest of the security institutions for making the protests unsuccessful and also reassured them that government is committed to increasing their resources.

He said that everyone was agreed on the love and respect for the Holy Prophet (PBUH) but deplored those doing politics for personal interests on the personality of the Holy Prophet, terming it “unfortunate”.

The federal minister also stated that the decision taken by the government to ban TLP had been its own “internal decision” and rejected notions of any demand from any international power or country.

“It is a banned organisation now so all [prior] agreements are void,” he said while responding to a question about the status of past agreements with the TLP. He also said it would be “wrong” to compare a movement like the TLP with a “genuine political movement” like the PTI which had protested in the past for genuine political demands and democratic rights.

“The nature of a democratic protest for rights is different from a protest based on fitna (civil strife), you can’t put the two [together].”