The politicisation of religion in the country has not brought any fruit and this is a lesson that history tells us very accurately. The use of religion as a tool has not only further complicated the relationship between state and religion but has also made some non-state actors very crucial to the Pakistani politics and how matters are driven forth. The problem, however, lies in the fact that we as a state refuse to acknowledge how threatening it is to use faith as a tool to mold the opinions of the people.
It is appalling to know that the sub-committee of Senate Standing Committee on Power suggested that in order to avoid the theft of electricity, the local imams must issue a fatwa against it in return for free 400 units to the mosques. This is not a policy rather a trade agreement and gives away the revenue of the government for free. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that such theft does not take place and if it is, that only goes to show a failure on the state’s part.
Issuing a fatwa against is using faith to create a narrative without realising that such gestures, despite for a good cause, are just the beginning especially in a country like Pakistan where the religious sensitivities of the people are very high and many stakeholders have conveniently take advantage of that sentiment too. Let’s not equip these individuals to become the source of law and order in the country. We have witnessed the extreme of granting such a right to anyone other than the lawmakers of the country. At the same time, it is also important that we rely on the government machinery to actually do its job and act against those who indulge in electricity theft.
Another aspect which must not be forgotten is that allowing individuals such a space means opening up doors for negotiation for further exploitation. It is just 400 units at this point in return for issuing a fatwa against such a theft, there is no guarantee that this set up will not demand an increase in the takeaway from the deal. The lawmakers should be reprimanded for weak policies that do not take into account any other possibility other than the immediate result.