In a couple of days three unpleasant incidents took place which show that the trend of intolerance in the society is on the rise and the ruling elite seems helpless to this nip this evil in the budwhich may grow into a strong tree if political expediency prevailed as usual. Consecutive incidents of spraying ink on the Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif, in a public meeting in Sailkot, hurling shoes on former Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif at a function in Jamea-e- Naeemia and botched attempt of shoe hurling on Pakistan Therik-i- Insaf Chairman Faisalabad are of great concern. It needs serious consideration and corrective measures to instill the values of moderation and tolerance among the people.
Some ministers from the ruling PML-N is looking at these highly condemnable events through political prism which is not a realistic approach. The root cause of the intolerant legacy must be searched out and moral courage be demonstrated by shunning political expediency to eradicate it. Before the decade of 70s religious polemics and scholastic differences were confined to informed and intellectual debates. But political changes in the region in late 70s sowed a seed of intolerance and monster of extremism raised its head which was unfortunately willingly or unwillingly patronized by the ruling elite. The country became an open field for foreign proxies and fellow Muslims started killing each others in sectarian strife. If the slogans that were raised in the Jamea-e- Naeemia after the hurling of shoe on the former Prime Minster is any guide then digging out a settled issue and wrapping it the Election Bill 2017 was not a right decision, the repercussion of which is haunting the PML-N leadership. Mere condemnation of the trend of intolerance by the leaderships of political parties is not enough. They should put their heads together and reach a consensus how to get rid of it. President Mammon Hussain has correctly analyzed the devastating consequences of the emerging trend of intolerance. He has cautioned if this menace was not curbed then no one will be safe from its harmful effects. It will cause a collective damage and Pakistan’s sacrifices against war on terror will go in vain and its achievements will change into failures.
The civilian leadership has almost locked the National Action Plan in the cupboard solely for political reasons and the announcement of National Narrative, ‘Paigham-e- Pakistan ‘is non-starter and turned out to be mere public relations exercises. The attitude of complacency and political expediency is pushing the country to international isolation. The Paris debacle at the recent FATF meeting, where our staunch allies, Saudi Arabia and China had to abandon us at the last minute, should be an eye-opener for the ruling elite. It is time to come out from the cocoon of expediency, confront the bitter realities headlong and focus on ways and means for their short term and long term solutions.