Intolerance & Extremism in Pakistani Society | By: ibn-e-Umeed اِبنِ اُمید

Submitted by Ibn-e-Umeed on Wed, 06/22/2011 - 21:54

It is sad to see that people can brag about beating someone in public in the name of religion, and not get arrested or prosecuted.

Pakistan has today become the most intolerant society in the world. It now in the grip of fundamentalist elements who are trying to convert it into a purely Islamic state where there is no space for minorities and human rights and writ of sharia runs large in every nook and corner of the country. The daily reports of the persecution of Hindus and Christians in Pakistan speak volumes of the current state of affairs in the country. A Christian minister Shahbaz Bhatti is killed in broad day lights, another high ranking politician of Pakistan and a liberal Salman Taseer is assassinated, a Hindu minister from Sindh is forced to flee Pakistan and discrimination and persecution of minorities are taking place in full swing with impunity.

What is more worrying is the response of the Pakistani society to all these incidents of persecution, terrorism and violence. While the killer of Salman Taseer is honoured by the educated section of the society, the Pakistani parliament itself failed to condemn the incident. There was no serious concern expressed on the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian minister. There is no voice to bring back the Hindu minister who fled the country after receiving threats to his life, neither there was any serious condemnation of the incidents that led to the migration of Hindus from Pakistan to India. In fact the educated section of the society was seen supporting and colluding with such actions of the radical Islamists.

Pakistan will not be able to rescue itself from the clutches of radicals and fundamentalists. It is now in serious troubles with the Frankenstein monster it had created now readying itself to consume the Pakistani society. A state created on the basis of hatred and religious intolerance of Islam is sure to meet its own fate.

Pakistan is a country where one can be killed because he/she belonged to the wrong sect. Authorities have a pet line, motive seems secetarian, which means we can't do nothing. From Zia ul haq's time religious extremists killed each other mercilessly because they were brain washed into believing that killing a certain sect will take them to heaven hereafter. In last two decades we saw violence between Shia and Deobandi sects, former being more pecifist for sometime now. Shia had Sepahe Mohammad, Deobandis had Sepahe Sahaba. There was target killing and indiscrimate firing in the mosques and imambargahs, innocents were slayed for now reason. Due to banning orders Sepahe Mohammad and Sepahe Sahaba seized to exist as threat to society, but more poisonous bile of Taliban, Lashkare Janghvi, and Alqaeda unleashed itself on poor Pakistanis. Pakistan is peaceful because it has majority brailvis, who are none violent, and aren't part of killing spree nither against Shias or Deobandis commonly known wahabis. Most Pakistani live peacefully irrespective of their religious bias, however now new waves of assasinations and intimidation by Talibans against Pakistani minorities is worrisome. Talibans want minorities to pay 20,000 rupees per head per month to be safe in Taliban influenced areas, which is a shame. Minorities are left with no choice but to leave the said areas. Here I am just trying to be honest, and the only sect which is violent to it's core is Deobandi. This sect has made Pakistani society look intolerant, which is largly not true.

Unless Deobandis who are very few in numbers but loaded with guns, rocket launchers, and suicide vests don't change their attitude to humanity, nothing will change. Unfortunately the only way that can happen is force, which is worste of the options, but last resort. I am sure we can weather this storm and each and every Pakistani will respect minorties as equal countrmen.

Pluralism does not consist in being merely diverse. A diverse society of mutually antagonistic groups may be a ticking time bomb. Its polarized factions may hate each other so much that sooner or later the society may break up in a low-intensity or open civil war. What makes a society positively pluralistic is the recognition of diversity as a source of richness not antagonism. In short tolerance, and not merely diversity, is the key to positive pluralism.

No one is safe from the devastation of this overextended sick religiosity in Pakistani society. Not only the liberal people like Governor Salman Taseer are being murdered but also many religious figures have also been assassinated in past decade or so due to this overzealous religious extremism in the country.

It is about time the government and the civil society step in and takes the necessary steps to properly channelize this stream of sick religiosity and save Pakistan and Pakistani society from utter termination.

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