When a country is facing difficult times, it is the unity and strength of its citizens that pulls the nation out of dark circumstances. The verdict acquitting Asia Bibi, an innocent underprivileged helpless woman of a crime she didn’t commit, was a moment of joy and justice for Pakistan. Yet the day has also proved to be deeply problematic, prompting protests, violence and division of disturbing levels.

Indeed it cannot be denied that the last two days have been extremely disruptive and volatile. Despite the media blackout, snippets of videos of the hooliganism on the streets have surfaced, indicating tyre burnings, vandalism and even shoot outs. If the videos of protests are accurate, then they reveal something very disturbing about the extent of intolerance and extremism that has fostered in our country over the years, and is now manifesting in the face of this menace.

Yet the past two days also revealed the strength and courage of the nation, especially of those who, despite knowing that there would be violence from protestors, went out to patrol and defend the streets. Special thanks must be given to our law enforcement that faced the line of fire and did the extremely tough job of controlling security.

The situation, with its road blockades, tyre-burning, and outpouring of contradictory information, has lead to confusion and apprehension amongst the people, with some criticising the government for doing too much or not doing enough. Before we censure too harshly, we must remember that this is an extremely precarious situation, in which any mode of action by the government will be subject to reaction from some segment of society. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address on Wednesday night set the right tone of upholding the judiciary’s decision and reaffirming the rule of law. That in itself was a huge step, and criticism against any potential future steps taken by the government to mitigate the violence should be made keeping in mind the sensitivity of the situation.

It is a difficult fact to accept that in these circumstances, there are no set-in-stone right solutions that one can take, and there is little that we as citizens can do to ease the severity of the issue. What is certain is that this is a time where different political parties and social groups need to set aside their differences and stand together. Solidarity is all we can give in these days - solidarity and prayers that the disruptions will soon subside.