On August 6, 2014, four members of the Sikh community were fired upon while they were working in their shop in Peshawar. The attack left one dead, and the rest injured. Despite protests from the community and subsequent assurances from the Police, the culprits could not be apprehended. On September 4, another member of the Sikh community was stabbed in his shop in Mardan. On Saturday, it happened again. A Sikh trader, 25-year old Harjeet Singh, was murdered at his workplace in the Gulberg area of Peshawar. Once again, the minority community took the streets in protest, and returned after receiving reassurances from senior Police officials. If track record is anything to go by, the perpetrators will most likely remain at large. It’s all very consistent, and that is perhaps one of the most sickening aspects of such tragedies.

Mostly, attacks on minorities are labeled as a conspiracy against the country carried out to distort our ‘image’ before the world. That is how the majority of people react to such incidents, and so does their government. It’s a convenient narrative, which allows us to hide behind the garb of victimhood and evade responsibility while saving us from the trouble of addressing real issues concerning religious intolerance and consistent persecution. All of a sudden, ‘we’ become the victims and the actual victim, merely a tool used to strike against ‘us’. The outrage is limited, and easily exhausted. It doesn’t prompt significant action, both in terms of policy and implementation. No one will lose an election over the murder of Sikhs, Christians or Ahmadis in their constituency. They might win one though. No mainstream party will put protection of minorities at the center, or even close to it, in its campaign. It makes sense. Why attempt to sell what the market is not interested in buying? Harjeet Singh’s death is tragic. But, let us also not forget that the country he lived in would not allow him to lead us no matter how gifted or deserving he may have been. The life of those who share his faith does not even reflect what is promised in the constitution. Their home doesn’t feel like home to them, and all residents are responsible one way or the other; most by staying quiet, and others by way of saying and doing all the wrong things. That is the harsh reality of the situation.