The “Fundamental Rights” Chapter conscripted in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan guarantees certain protections and freedoms without discriminating against any citizen. No one except the state can take or reverse these protections and liberties from the citizens. However, we have seen many a time people of the land taking law and order in their hands to decide the matters, especially the ones that are related to one’s faith.
The mob attacking an Ahmadi mosque in Gaseetpura in Faisalabad after a dispute between two teenagers demonstrates how the state’s failure is a constant when it comes to protecting the lives of her citizens. The inability to protect the religious site of Ahmadi community is nothing but state’s tacit approval to the actions of the extremists who targeted the mosque –for the bystanders say that police were not stopping the mob. The bitter truth is that even the state fears these extremists who deem it right to kill anyone who practices a different interpretation of Islam or any other religion.
Imran has been criticised consistently, and rightly so, for lacking the courage to speak up against the religious intolerance in his political journey he has made so far. The inability to speak up against the religious fanaticism– that has morphed in Frankenstein’s monster– will bite Imran and his government back in the days ahead.
In the otherwise positive speech that Imran Khan as Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan delivered, there was no mention of how Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) would eradicate the menace of terrorism and intolerance that was plaguing the society. While Imran talked about equality of citizens before the law and supremacy of law in the Naya Pakistan, it is the time for his government to set a solid precedent by acting against those who perpetrated the heinous crime.
Imran’s dream of Naya Pakistan can materialise only when every citizen enjoys every right that the constitution guarantees him/her. PTI needs to come up with an elaborate plan regarding the protection of minorities, especially the religious ones who have seen growing mob attacks on their lives and properties in recent years. The attack on the holy site is not only the violation of the constitution –one of the most sacred documents– but also un-Islamic.
It is about time for the state and the new government to take all political parties and different religious schools of thought on the issue of intolerance. Pakistani society is already bitterly divided along sectarian and religious lines. It is about time that the government mends all the cracks in the society by uprooting the curse of religious hatred.