Recent attacks on Shiah, comprehensively explains deep rooted menace of sectarianism. These sequential attacks are not a backlash of operation Zarb-e-Azab, instead their causes are deeply rooted in Pakistan’s history. It dates back to 1974, when democratically elected parliamentarians, along with religious elite ambitiously and actively declared Ahmadis non Muslims, the then PM, Z.A Bhutto, declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims and boasted that “An aged and severe issue is resolved.” Specifically speaking, Bhutto laid the foundation of sectarianism in 1974. Since then Ahmadis are being prosecuted and victimised without any government action against culprits. Zia’s Islamisation further exacerbated the situation.

Now, Shiahs along with the Ahmadis are, particularly, the victims of sectarianism. Today Pakistan’s internal stability is at stake and state itself is responsible for this situation. As the State caused sectarianism, it’s now their responsibility to eliminate this menace. Firstly, state must ensure equal rights of all citizens; it’s not the duty of state to treat citizens on the basis of religious values and views because it’s an individual matter rather collective. Secondly, state must revise and amend the constitution regarding Ahmadis. Thirdly, state must ensure freedom of religious obligation to all citizens, everyone must be allowed, according to Quaid’s vision, “to go to his temple, mosque, church or religious places”. Fourthly, elimination of sectarian divide is a conundrum which can only be resolved by promoting common religious values and norms. It’s the duty of religious elite to inform people about religious values and for this the Ulema must play their role. It’s the duty of those who are at the helm to establish peace, internally and externally, in order to fulfil policy objectives.

KASHEF AHMAD MAHAAR,

Narowal, February 24.