After paralysing the capital, hurling profanities and dishing out threats to all and sundry, Khadim Hussain Rizvi and his zestful supporters left Islamabad triumphantly. Rizvi was right in thumping his chest, for he made all organs of the state look rudderless. While the author is against painting a morbid picture, one cannot shy away from the fact that the deal signed with the protestors was a surrender by all means. But why is it being termed as a defeat of the state at the hands of the goons?Before answering this all-important question there is a need to understand two simple facts. One is that the likes of Rizvi who thrive on inciting violence against the defenseless is not and cannot claim to be a lover of our Holy Prophet(PBUH). Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) epitomised humanity and civility. If anything, the methods employed by Rizvi to garner sympathies of gullible people were repugnant to the teachings of our Prophet. Two is that neither is it a matter of the age-old civil-military tug of war nor is it a battle-winning factor between the PML-N and PTI. In all earnestness, the handling of the Faizabad sit-in affected the state adversely at all levels. The fallout of succumbing to a mob will be felt across governments while the optics that proliferated after the meek bow-down were exactly what Pakistan’s detractors wanted to see.Indeed, when a state with an ever-expanding power profile and clout in the region and beyond, buckles under pressure of a handful of protestors, there is a reason to worry. The indenture signed between the state authorities and the firebrand Rizvi is doubly disturbing because of many conspicuous reasons. The handling of the Faizabad sit-in affected the state adversely at all levels. The fallout of succumbing to a mob will be felt across governments while the optics that proliferated after the meek bow-down were exactly what Pakistan’s detractors wanted to seeFirstly, there is a need to deride the myth that the protestors were peaceful. Armed with batons and axes, zealots set ablaze vehicles, ransacked petrol pumps and killed cops. It was not an attack on the government but the state. By signing the deal (terms of which are really upsetting), the state brought Rizvi’s mob at par with it. The protestors had brazenly challenged the writ of the state, and by letting them go off the hook, the state dispossessed itself of the one of an essential power: monopoly on violence.Rizvi won the battle and in the process enlarged his ‘Area of Operations’. He is now free to blabber against one and all. This becomes all the more disturbing when we look at it in the context of our national narrative. Despite meritorious and largely successful efforts to eradicate the menace of terrorism, Pakistan is blamed left, right and center for harboring forces that perpetrate and also support violence in the region. The New South Asia Policy and the impending advent of the New Great Game in the region has mounted more pressure on Pakistan. While taking exceptions to all allegations, Pakistan has tried its best to sell its narrative to regional and global powers. The blood of officers and troops of the LEAs is the biggest testament of the country’s commitment to fight terrorism. But in the age of information, adversaries are quick to pounce on any slip up. Stalwarts assert that while brave personnel of the Armed Forces and the Police are busy fighting terrorists, the state is giving a free ride to perpetrators of violence. While many rightly point out the far-fetched comparisons between hardcore militants and the zealots led by Rizvi, others are perturbed over the strong link between violent tendencies and militancy. Also, a cursory look at peace deals with militants is needed. The state dithered initially as internecine reverses compelled the top-brass of the military to crack peace deals with local militants. These agreements failed and were interspersed with military actions. One can learn a thing or two from these controversial deals: bargaining from a position of weakness is doomed to failure. Certainly, these piecemeal indentures made the militants more blatant to say the least. The accords had inherent flaws; it gave same status to the state and the tribes, and accorded a degree of respect for insurgents. The agreement had a limited reach; the clauses emboldened the militants to a greater degree since the Army ceased operations. However, the lessons were elicited; the military has since then, carried-out CT military operations against militants. Apart from clearing swathes of territory, the enemy has been largely dispossessed of its centers of gravity. However, as amplified by terrorist attacks every now and then, miscreants still have the ability to strike terror in nerve centers of the country. Much of that wherewithal is drawn from people who are ready to die for their religion. Rizvi went scot free; he retains the ability to dictate his terms to Pakistan. Besides, he and other like-minded characters will achieve political goals by propping up violent ideas.Let’s be very clear: the incompetence of the government was everybody’s loss. Today, the state has to decide whether it wishes to outsource the use of violence to virulent groups or disallow the creation of more monsters. Let’s do the latter for the sake of Major Ishaq, Lt Arslan and so many others, for they were martyred trying to do exactly this. The writer is a Research Analyst and sub-editor at the Global Village SpacePublished in Daily Times, December 5th 2017.