This country’s record in terms of safeguarding the rights and lives of its multitude of communities is shameful, to say the least. Many in the minority have migrated to more suitable places, where they will not be targeted for their beliefs, as the state plays the unconcerned spectator. Those who still choose to stay in this land they call home, even though many around them insist it isn’t, are often forced to seriously question their sentimental decision. It must be a decision guided by emotions, or constraints, because a pragmatic approach coupled with an instinct of self-preservation points towards a single direction: out, and away. What else to do when having a certain name or living in a particular neighbourhood can be the difference between life and death?
The Shia-dominated Ancholi Society of Karachi was targeted by twin blasts on Friday. The attack killed at least 9, and injured over 25 people. The usual suspects, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility of the attack and declared that it was in response to the Ashura incident in Rawalpindi. TTP spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, waking up to a sudden and convenient realisation of the legitimacy and authority of an elected body, demanded the government to take action against the perpetrators of the Ashura violence. Making similar demands were thousands of charged protesters during countrywide demonstrations organized by ASWJ, JUI-S and JuD among other entities working tirelessly to further tarnish the image of this country, while enjoying enviable immunity against their actions. The media has celebrated the demonstrations as “peaceful protests”. Understandable, because the bar has been set so low, that anything short of burning shops and killing people qualifies as ‘peaceful’. It deserves special appreciation when the participants are very much capable of raising havoc on a single command. It doesn’t matter if the demonstrations are only aimed at bullying the state into compliance, or echoing with chants against a particular sect. The state seems to feel that the majority — those that are part of the problem — need to vent a little, to feel better about themselves.
The Ashura incident was extremely unfortunate. Loss of life is always regrettable, no matter what the affiliation of the deceased. An innocent is an innocent, and his murder, by anyone, must never go unaccounted for. A judicial commission by the Lahore High Court (LHC) has been constituted to probe the matter. So, let it be done. Staging rallies just to demonstrate street power, aimed at bullying authorities into reaching agreeable conclusions is inexcusable. The government is advised to have none of it. Let these politicians-cum-militants-cum spiritual leaders shed their crocodile tears, and focus on ensuring what actually matters here: impartiality and accountability.