In the aftermath of the outbreak of violence in Rawalpindi, the whole nation sits in stunned silence grasping for answers. How could things be allowed to escalate so far as to lead to the loss of so many precious lives? With political leaders like Imran Khan and Maulana Fazl-ul-Rehman asking the nation to stand united in the time of mourning, we hear reports of more sectarian clashes. The fact that this happened in Rawalpindi is not the only disquieting notion. The really scary part is that everyone realizes that this can happen again. This is not an isolated incident. Multicultural societies exist all over the world but in Pakistan or beautiful and unique identities that make a whole are taken as a curse, not a blessing. Tolerance is a concept that is becoming increasingly more alien.

With the Chief Minister ordering a judicial probe in to the episode, the army ceaselessly monitoring the streets of Rawalpindi, Multan and Chistian and the funerals of the victims needing even more protection, the country stands on the edge of a precipice, facing an eruption of more bloodshed as a possibility. The hawks on all sides of the board are gathering, things are getting tense, and the perpetrators need to be identified without any delay to avoid more mess. Was this a horrible lapse of security or did it reflect deeper problems within society? There is no clear answer to this, but an answer is needed nonetheless. What is the government planning on doing next? Two days have passed since and so far no results can be seen. Deploying the army is purely a firefighting measure. As far as no one leaves their house, there is no clash, but once normal life resumes, what is the guarantee that things will not come to a head?

The fact that all of it is happening in Punjab is also something to be accounted for. This province is the most sheltered and due to historical favoritism, also supposedly the most secure. But this shows that no place, not even Punjab, is really all that safe, and the entire populace must keep its guard up at all times. That’s what this country has been reduced to, and the future seems just as forlorn as the past and present. This is not the end, and with no explanation at hand, it seems almost certain that more grief is to follow. Responsibility falls upon the entire population for this incident, and the general intolerance our country has always displayed so ostentatiously. Each any every citizen must completely change their perspective in order to accept difference of opinion but sadly, pointing fingers at others, has always, and will continue to remain our favorite pastime.