We need to consider and analyze why we are an intolerant society, segmented into groups, each claiming his individual version of fundamental rights, but denying the same right to others. It is a society where neitherreligious fanatics, nor the liberal fascist have any tolerance for each other. The former does not grant the right to women to dress in jeans, while the latter has no respect for those ladies who want to wear the veil or hijab. Both these groups however remain silent on issues such as rape, acid throwing, tribal customs of wani, denial of ancestral property to women, or the unacceptable practice of burying women alive on orders of Panchayt, which continues even today in the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Why have we descended to such depths of immorality and lack of ethics, that people caught red-handed with their hands tainted with blood, or caught robbing widows, orphans, or the state have neither shame nor remorse. We accept harassment of our religious minorities such as Christians and have no shame or remorse that the Father of Nation Quaid-i-Azam assured them of these rights in a speech delivered on 11 August 1947. This intolerance is visible within the political parties, whether they claim to be liberal, rightist, leftists, religious or even ethnic. The very essence of democracy, which is the right of dissent, is absent when it comes to the day to day working of these parties. Resort to violence has become a common phenomenon to settle political differences, or as a show of force to establish their political hegemony. No action was taken against those who openly resorted to firing while welcoming the new PPP Federal Minister for Law in Hyderabad, or members of PML(N) who were celebrating their election for party posts in Faisalabad. The city of Karachi has in the past 8 years witnessed street crimes, extortion, target killings and kidnap for ransom on the rise, with not a single such criminal being prosecuted and punished. However we have tolerance for those corrupt politicians or members of civil and khaki establishment who have robbed the state and deprived it of billions of dollars. Just look at the despicable role of the executive in defying orders of Supreme Court and protecting those accused of graft and financial white collar crimes, or even those involved in robbing Hajjis. MALIK TARIQ ALI, Lahore, July 13.