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Lahore massacre: a wake-up call
Tuesday, 01 Jun, 2010
The carnage in Lahore last Friday in which around 80 people were killed in terrorist attacks on the places of worship of the Ahmadiya community cannot be taken as an isolated act against a religious minority in Pakistan. Since quite long, systematic efforts are being made by fanatic groups, allegedly having external linkages, to harass other non-Muslim minorities like Christians and Hindus.
Even Muslims, belonging to different sects are not spared from the violent attacks undertaken by the so-called jihadi groups who use the name of Islam to impose their intolerant, bigotry and retrogressive way of life.
When the state is oblivious to the absence of rule of law and is least concerned to provide basic security to its own people, forces who want to deepen fear, chaos and disorder are provided enormous space to continue with their violent and terrorist acts. No part of Pakistan is safe from such acts of terrorism and the worst sufferers are ordinary people who become an easy target of those who propagate hate either in the name of religion of ethnicity.
The carnage in Lahore and elsewhere is a wake up call for 180 million people of Pakistan who for the past three decades are paying a heavy price of not only the war in Afghanistan but also the permeation of intolerant and fanatic forces in different segments of society.
If the senior officials remain indifferent to the gradual erosion of the writ of state, then the day is not far when the people of Pakistan will become a hostage to those non-state actors who in the recent past accumulated enough power to destabilise the nascent democratic set-up.
If the educational institutions of Pakistan are purged from elements who use religion and ethnicity to secure their vested interests, one can expect some breakthrough in dealing with the forces of intolerance and hate.
The younger generation of Pakistan must be saved from the impending disaster which will inflict the country if state authorities fail to ensure the rule of law and provide good governance to the people.
PROF. DR. MOONIS AHMAR
The most unfortunate and condemnable attacks by Taliban on Ahmadi worshippers in Lahore recently is the latest in a long list of barbaric acts committed in Pakistan in the last few years.
Every attack is bad enough, but one on a minority gathering is definitely the worst of all. Look how much loss of life and property has been caused by the two attacks. Above all it has left citizens traumatized and society shaken.
To top it all, the government-response was slow and apologetic for no apparent reason which is reflected in a muted official response to the tremendous tragedy and loss of life in the capital city of Punjab.
Two things deserve the attention of every Pakistani in regard to this incident. How long will the government let this social evil grow without realising that this is gradually leading to a breach in peoples’ faith in its government?
As Confucius said, “People who lose faith in its government is lost”. Let us keep our faith in the ideals of a civilised society intact and compel the elected representatives to learn to uphold those rather than side with the barbaric attackers of innocent civilians by keeping mum.
In the recent Lahore attacks, the capture of two terrorists may provide the proof to those who still deny the presence of Taliban or their like-minded groups in the province, especially in southern Punjab.
According to media reports, one of the captured terrorists, apparently hailing from southern Punjab, received his education in a Karachi madrasa and later trained in northern Waziristan. This is a very well-known trail of events but where is the will and action to break this chain?
Unfortunately, this Lahore incident will also be forgotten in the next few days and terrorists will have a field day with another attack on a day of their choice.
There is a complete lack of understanding to tackle the religious and sectarian violence in the country.
Unless there is firm action taken against the institutions that are churning out armies of brainwashed people, peace in Pakistan will remain an illusion.
MUHAMMED JAMIL ATHER
This is apropos of the article “Culture of intolerance” (May 30) regarding the brutal assault on the Ahmadis on Friday.
I see eye to eye with the views supporting the view that we are in an extreme state of cultural intolerance. However, the fact that Ahmadi attacks were not even condemned by the major parties because they were not Muslims is strongly unpleasant.
This truly weakens our solidarity. India came into existence with Pakistan but Muslims were far more respected in their country than ours.
A non-Hindu like Dr Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, has proved of such pluralism in India; so has the former President of India Abdul Kalam Azad. Why have we failed to eliminate discrimination?
The Constitution of Pakistan says that no non-Muslim is eligible to be premier or President of Pakistan. Don’t they belong to our country and there is no apparent reason for their ineligibility.
Members of the parliament must make another amendment regarding the aforementioned matter. As the Quaid-i-Azam said that the people were free to go to their mosques or temples or any other place of worship as it had nothing to do with the business of the state.
We must fulfil the dreams of the father of our nation by giving special rights to the non-Muslims and stop such discrimination because due to the discrimination two world wars were fought.
The despicable terrorist attack on two Ahmedi places of worship (May 30) in Lahore has highlighted several critical reactions.
The instantaneous and widespread condemnation of the attack by Pakistanis, as reported by the electronic media, is indeed commendable. However, some PML (Nawaz) politicians and politicised clergy have reserved their outright condemnation and attempted to exploit the outdated conspiracy theories to justify this indefensible monstrosity.
Pakistanis should make no mistake that the two-headed monster of religious radicalism and terrorism is their own creation. The Taliban-associated extremists find cover in the anti-Ahmedi laws in the Constitution, Pakistan’s egregious apostasy and blasphemy laws, and the government’s unwillingness to protect the religious freedoms of this community.
Keeping these laws on the books and blaming outside forces will only embolden terrorists.
The misplaced sympathy that the radicals are somehow servicing Islam needs to be eliminated. Sectarian and religiously-motivated violence is chronic, and the government has failed to protect members of religious minorities from such violence and to bring perpetrators to justice. Religiously discriminatory legislation, such as the apostasy and the blasphemy laws, foster an atmosphere of intolerance in the country and embolden extremists.
No individual or body has the right to define a person’s religion; the comment that the terrorists were not Muslims is a veiled justification to defend Pakistan’s discriminatory legislations.
Pakistan initiated this process of defining a Muslim in the 70s. Over the past five decades, various government policies to Islamize society by implementing so-called Islamic regulations has brought the country to the brink of economic and political collapse; terrorists have been the only winners during this period.