The unfortunate incident on Ashura speaks volumes of the quality and level of security arrangements made by the law enforcing agencies and district administration of Rawalpindi. At the same time, it is also indicative of the growing intolerance and religious extremism in our society. Regrettably, no institution in the country is capable enough or seems interested in coping with the security challenges posed by the perceived threat level in the country at present.

Lacking any proactive and effective security strategy, the entire security apparatus in the country has become somewhat reactive, obsolete and incapacitated.

As Ashura fell on a Friday, the provincial government should have taken precautionary measures ensuring the prevention of possible misuse of the mosques’ pulpits and loudspeakers by any sect causing sectarian hatred or incitement among the people. The long-established institution of executive magistracy was abolished by the Musharraf government following the introduction of his local government system in 2001.

At the moment, no local government system is in place in the country since the expiration of its last term in 2009. So, now, there is no responsible administrative mechanism which exists at the district level to take preventive measures to keep law order in general. Had there been any such proactive administrative apparatus in Rawalpindi on the day of Ashura they would have prevented the alleged misuse of the loudspeaker from a mosque and the subsequent incident of rioting and arson claiming many precious lives and causing loss of billions of rupees.  


Lahore, November 20.