The religious frenzy has permeated every sphere of our society. The lessons of tolerance and moderation have been forgotten. The religion has often been exploited to settle personal scores. The mob justice and violence of university students over fellow student is even more worrisome. The manipulation of a religious issue for personal gains is becoming easy in our country. The exploiters appeal to the religious sentiments of the people and then the rest is done by the mob. The blasphemy law has been misused many times to settle personal scores. This was done in Mashal Khan’s case when he was silenced forever by accusing him of blasphemy because he had criticized the university administration for mismanagement. The same practice was witnessed in the notorious Faizabad sit-ins when religiously charged mob took control of the important capital thoroughfare and then subdued the government for their undue demands. The consequent blackmailing of government by Pir Siyalvi has further backtracked the government and even agreed to allot a Senate seat to him as a deal.

There is a strong need to build a counter narrative in the country. The state and society should not be allowed to be held hostage by the religious fundamentalists. There is a need to make laws that religious issues must not be exploited for political or personal gains. The civil society and media must play their roles in this regard.

M SAYYAD ALAM KHAN,

Peshawar, February 7.