Ten weeks after the brutal murder of a Sri Lankan man accused of blasphemy, an angry mob killed man accused of desecrating the Quran. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the man killed by the mob was in fact mentally handicapped. According to Mushtaq’s brother Zulfiqar his brother was mentally handicapped and for treatment he sold up to nine acres of land but could not recover.
According to Zulfiqar, the victim’s brother, the enraged mob cut off all ten of his brother’s fingers, leaving no place on his body where there were no scars. The question is why , as a nation, have we have not been able to understand our religion properly? Why isn’t our religious class, our intellectuals, our media telling us that we are actually heading for destruction? In this situation, the fact cannot be denied that the state has failed to protect the lives and property of the citizens equally. Of course, these conditions are actually the result of policies that have been implemented in the past. The country’s history has shown what our rulers did as a result of the US invasion of Afghanistan.
It is noteworthy that the role of dictatorial regimes has taken its toll, but the elected leadership has also failed to take religious violence seriously. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that no conscious citizen of Pakistan is willing to admit that the current system can protect anyone who stands up against extremists. Call our enemy incompetent or malicious but one thing is certain – if our enemy wants to weaken us internally, what role are we playing in thwarting it? It is time to acknowledge our failures and inadequacies. The process of proving one’s innocence by blaming others must end. Unfortunately, we are not ready to admit that our problems are worsening instead of improving. A growing population and dwindling resources can exacerbate our problems in the future. In this situation, we have to tell the truth to ourselves and have to accept that that we have not yet become a civilized nation. Our education system is failing to provide us with individuals who can play a role in peace efforts. Our religious classes have caused division instead of creating unity in the nation. Religion has become a tool for the rulers. The fact is that we have run out of patience and we, as people of society, are not ready to accept differences. It is unfortunate that we have been arguing with each other due to differences in sects.
What has been happening in Karachi on linguistic grounds is enough to make every conscientious Pakistani bow his head. The question, is it not the case that our rulers keep trying the formula of divide and rule among their own people? We have to take the issue of intolerance seriously; we have to take action against those elements who want anarchy in the society. Not so long ago, when the activists of a religious party committed the martyrdom of five policemen in the name of protest, we know that after that not only an agreement was reached with the TLP but also their leaders and workers were released. It is surprising and regrettable that our authorities do not treat extremists equally as a result, those who take the law into their own hands are encouraged.