Analysis

Attack on Religious Minorities in Pakistan

Mob violence has become a basic trait of South Asian political landscape.[1] The recent developments in Pakistan disturbed me and prompted me to write a brief comment about attack on the religious minorities in Pakistan.
 
It is highly condemnable to attack religious minorities in any part of the world. Especially in the case of Pakistan, these incidents keep happening without any one put on trial and no remorse for committing acts of violence on their own sovereign citizens. Instead of getting into the theological debate on Islam, I would focus on repression which had been carried out on religious minorities (Christians, Shia Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus) in Pakistan.
 
Incidents like the killing of Shias in Abbas town in Karachi and burning of Christians homes in Joseph colony, Lahore is highly condemnable and puts Pakistan in sorry state of affairs on an International stage. The culprits are seldom brought to book leading to a state of anarchy in Pakistan.
 
Culprits are those people who were cultivated by the state of Pakistan as a part of “strategic depth” policy for Afghanistan and who have now become a problem for them. The groups like Sipah-a-Sabha, Lashkar-e- Jhangvi have come under scanner in relation of attacks on Shia Muslims in Pakistan several times.  Still the culprits are not booked or sent to jail and then released on bail or operate their activities from the jail itself. All this is not possible, without knowledge or support of the Pakistani state.
 
According to one estimate, Pakistan after Independence in 1947 had 23 percent minorities, which has now reduced by another three percent; some of them have been targeted and killed or forcibly converted. Recent spate of attacks on Shia is part of the Deobandi ideology which is opposed to the presence of Shias in Pakistan and wants lowered status for them. Ironically, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and his two closest political and personal lieutenants, the Raja of Mahmoodabad and Mirza Abol Hassan Ispahani, were all Shia Muslims. All three devoted their political lives and personal finances to the creation of Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah named Sir Zafrulla Khan, member of the embattled Ahmadiyya sect, as Pakistan’s first foreign minister.[2] After the death of Jinnah, religious minorities have been targeted and killed, first to be attacked were Ahmadiya sect among the Muslims who were termed as “kafirs” (non-believers) by the Constitution of Pakistan and forced to take refuge in other countries.
 
Secularism has never been embedded in the Constitution of Pakistan and they have followed the path of religious theocracy which has compounded problem for them. It is high time, Pakistan introspects inwards and tries to evolve a message of peace and brotherhood and not violence and bloodshed by killing its own sovereign citizens in the name of God.
 
As rightly observed by some Indian analysts, withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan; the theatre of conflict will be Pak-Afg and not Afg-Pak. It remains to be seen in such a scenario, what will be the state of affairs in Pakistan. On the one side they are battling with Taliban in its own land, on the other side, we have the attacks on religious minorities. They can’t afford to let both happen in such a scenario. A policy of reformation and moderation is need of the hour and has to be adopted by the future governments in Pakistan which will be more beneficial to ameliorate the plight of poor and end the bloodshed on its own people with immediate effect.
 
The metamorphosis of state and society has not taken place. It is not know, when it will take place, one feature is certain for Pakistan; disparities are rampant and so are the mindsets of the people. The elites are contended, if they are closer to power centers, lower classes are sitting on the fringes and are nominated as “foot soldiers” to commit such heinous crimes against humanity.
 
One of the elements which are missing in Pakistani society is; presence of liberal middle class which comes out on streets and mobilizes youth to protest against these heinous crimes against humanity.  

References 

[1] Mob violence which has took place recently in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh.
[2] Farahnaz Ispahani, Death by a thousand cuts, The Hindu, March, 11, 2013,

11-Mar-2013

More by :  Rahul Mukand

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