Religious extremism

Pakistan has been a victim of extremism for more than four decades now. The country is muddled in an identity crisis with deep-rooted divisions and confusion regarding all aspects of life. Religious extremism first took root in Pakistan with the initiation of the Soviet Jihad.

Up until the eighties, Pakistan was a peaceful country with an open and tolerant society. But with the strengthening of militant organisations and religious fundamentalist groups alongside the support of the Deobandi School in the wake of the Afghan jihad, the wave of Islamization across the country under the Zia regime created a Pandora box of problems for the state and people of Pakistan.

The state of Pakistan has been in chaos due to the rise in extremism. There are a plethora of reasons behind the scourge of extremism in Pakistan.

First, according to the social conflict perspective, extremism flared due to the poor economic condition of a marginalized faction of society. The elites and political pundits have ostensibly disfranchised and exploited the abject faction of our society. In retrospect, due to lack of education and unemployment, the people from this faction get their satisfaction by indulging in the menace of extremism as deviance.

Secondly, some political demagogues misuse ideological narratives and Islam as a religious card for their trivial so-called interests. This conservative opportunistic group in Pakistan has created a bunch of monsters and deviance to serve their self-favoured interests.

The government of Pakistan has tried to outlaw these hardline elements last year in the wake of the TLP protests. The government took a strong stance and tried to establish the writ of the state by arresting Saad Rizvi the head of the TLP. Protests started all across the state as people are emotional about these issues and violent clashes between the police and the protestors continued. The situation soon rose beyond the point that it could be handled by the government. Hence, the TLP leader was released and the ban was uplifted.

All these factors have caused a rise in extremism and have brought the situation to this point. Tolerance is at an all-time low. The Sialkot incident and the Mashal Khan killing speak of the amount of frustration and intolerance present in society.

SEERAT FATIMA,

Gujranwala.

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