Rising extremism and role of the State

Pakistani investigators have claimed to detect alleged involvement of the Indian spy agency in hatching and materializing the unfortunate incident in Pakistan’s Northern city of Jaranwala, during which a violent mob attacked Christian locality, burnt churches and damaged public property on August 17.

According to the Police, the authorities have found concrete evidence about a well-planned conspiracy to spread Muslim-Christian riots and sow the seeds of a permanent discord and hatred among the Muslims and their Christians fellow citizens in the country.

The Police has identified two foreign agents who intentionally threw away the pieces of paper having written derogatory remarks about poise personalities along with the names and cell numbers of some members of local christian community that were used to incite violence in the local population against Chrisitan minority.

Later, both agents played pivotal roles in igniting Churches and destroying private properties to accomplish their task assigned by their handlers. Police claimed that it was a deep conspiracy by India to divert global attention from its atrocities in Occupied Kashmir.

Historically, religious extremism and social intolerance have grown unprecedentedly over the past years and now they have taken deep roots in Pakistani society. There had been recurrent incidents of discrimination, hate speech, and violence against religious minorities including Christian, Hindus, Sikhs etc. in the name of religious supremacy, blasphemy or desecration of Islam and Quran, that violent mobs played the self assumed role of judge and jury by ruthlessly killing innocent people, vandalizing their homes and demolishing places of worship without sorting any explanation, seeking any clarification, without using available legal precedence, without taking any credence from religious clerics or legal opinion from law experts.

Thus a hencious trend of rigid behaviors and extremist actions had stimmed up in the society, that prompted unbelievable and shocking attitude of the public such as a refusal to polio vaccination of the children, attack on polio teams, opposition to girls education, levelling charges of sedition and blasphemy for political reasons and declaring opponents of infidelity become customary that did not exist in our society in the past.

That said pattern of lawlessness and religious wilderness had not been seen in any Muslim nation and the rest of the world except Pakistan, which became a recurrent tragedy and a stigma for Islam and Pakistan. Similarly, discrimination on ethnic, sectarian, and religious grounds is common while personal grudges and monetary benefits are often met out through accusations of blasphemy, and mob violence.

Dozens of incidents of religious and sectarian vandalism occur each year across the country but the state and institutions of Pakistan including Parliament, Judiciary, Police, civic groups and religious dynasties did not feel the gravity of the issue and were often restricted to mere condemnation of the subject events and press statements.

The conduct of the Punjab Police during and after the horrific incident was utterly biased, and regretful. The Police force neither attempted to disperse violent mobs, nor tried to protect innocent and unarmed civilians from Christian minority. Police played the role of a common spectator throughout the episode and now came up with a story of foreign conspiracy hatched by the worst enemy to avert global attention from the worst human rights situation in illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

In fact, it was a decades old lame excuse of the Pakistani establishment who often coverup its professional negligence through blame games and fake stories. The Police and LEAs must tell the public why they failed to forecast the enemy’s plan and who pulled their hands back from protecting minorities, guarding their homes and sacred places. Pakistani state institutions must not play with sensitive religious issues but must uphold their constitutional role that demands maintenance of law and order at all costs and transparent investigations and award of punishment to real perpetrators along with enforcement of strict measures to avoid recurrences of such incidents in the future.

Over the decades, Pakistani politicians and religious leaders blatantly used religion cards for political purposes that not only radicalized the society but gave birth to extremism and intolerance in the country. Neither our political leadership nor military strategists could assess the full extent and gravity of the problem of extremism that led to the spread of terrorism. As of today, countless political, ethnic, and religious extremist pressure groups have emerged in the country that often use their street power to challenge the writ of the state and pressurize the government in administrative, constitutional, and policy matters in pursuit of cheap popularity.

The Pakistani nation has faced irreparable loss due to the rising trend of extremism, hate crimes and racism. It is high time that our political and religious leadership feel it’s responsibility to combat hate speech, religious bigotry and interfaith antagonism so this nation became a peaceful and livable place for all its inhabitants without any discrimination of cast, colour and creed. Because all Pakistanis have equal citizenry rights and equal privileges in Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan.