“Hindustan had become free. Pakistan had become independent soon after its inception but man was still slave in both these countries — slave of prejudice … slave of religious fanaticism … slave of barbarity and inhumanity.”
What Manto said over 65 years ago, holds true here in Pakistan even today.
The killing spree of Shia (Hazara) community in Quetta continues without break, and without even a single arrest of the people who claimed responsibility. While the people, with some understanding of the dynamics and the role of politics, religion and state actors in this carnage, very well know about the perpetrators behind all this and about their helping hands, but a common citizen is blindfolded by conspiracy theories he loves to listen. Majority of the people do not accept the fact that all theses religious extremists are a reality and enemies of Pakistan, rather they see ‘foreign’ hand in all the mayhem taking place here. Nevertheless, when they are confronted with the religious extremist groups’ acceptance of carrying out such barbaric and savage acts, they then advocate apologetic reasoning such as the non-existence of extremists before 9/11, and that such acts of terrorism are reaction to the government’s pro-US policies, specifically being an ally in ‘war on terror’. Ironically though, they fail to realize that these sectarian killings have nothing to do with Pakistan’s alliance with the US, but rather with the ideology of a group of people who follow a particular version of Islam (sect) whose teachings declare Shias ‘Kafirs’ (non-muslims); and thus for them it becomes an act of ‘jihad’ and virtue to slay such people who, according to them, are harming their version of Islam.
Our obsession with religion has in fact made us less human. We seem to be more concerned with the condition of muslims living in non-muslim countries than the muslims and non-muslims living in our own country. The Shahrukh Khan episode brought a hell of Pakistani-muslimness out of us and suddenly we became convinced that the state of Muslims in India is deplorable and they are being victimized for being a minority. Our Federal Interior Minister asked Indian government to provide security to Mr. Khan, whereas an Ameer (Commander/Leader) of a religious organization went farther and, quite sarcastically, invited Mr. Khan to come to and live in Pakistan. However, both the minister and the ameer were silenced by Mr. Khan when he clarified his stance and said muslims were safe and happy in India. Interestingly, no other muslim country took note of state of muslims in India in general or Shahrukh Khan in particular. On twitter, I asked the same Ameer what country he’s going to advise the minorities of Pakistan (both muslim and non-muslim) to go to and live in, but haven’t yet received a reply from him. Almost all the religious organizations went rampant about condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru by throwing innumerable tweets, speeches, meetings and protests; however their condemnation of Shia massacre came in a single sentence, nothing more. A friend of mine was fooled into retweeting a tweet by one tweeple named ‘Sharia for India’ who claimed to have been beaten by BJP hooligans while going for namaz, and asked all tweeples to RT what he experienced to let the world know India’s real face. While one person told him that he was lucky to have been beaten only because in Pakistan people get killed for being Shia, most of my country fellows didn’t waste a second in hitting RT before having fallen flat on their faces only a few minutes later when that user mockingly said that he was a Hindu and was only trying to troll.
The hatred for India and America is overshadowing our love for our own homeland and our own people. There is a big fat hue and cry and rage if our army soldiers get killed by Indian or US forces; or civilians killed by Drones, but there is a pin drop silence if religious militants behead our soldiers and civilians. The apologists rather justify their acts of terrorism by saying that if Pakistan gets out of war on terror then such attacks will be no more. It is quite appreciable when all the Sunnis condemn the execution of Shias, however it is high time they should join in the protests and openly call for action against extremist outfits responsible, and become louder in criticism of LeJ, LeT, ASWJ, SSP etc etc.
God bless Pakistan!
Declaration: Before I may be accused of being pro-US/India/Israel, let me put this in crystal-clear words that; I strongly condemn US’ imperialistic policies and its invasion and slaughter of innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan, also the killings of innocent civilians in Drone attacks in Pakistan and anywhere in the world. I also condemn the illegal occupation of Palestine and Kashmir and homicide of their people by Israel and India respectively. I denounce every act of violence (state or otherwise) anywhere in the world against any people of the world.