I would like to share an incident which happened a few months ago.

In my neighbourhood, we have a central mosque where I usually offer my prayers. One day I went there to offer my evening prayers and was met with the shocking image of the body of our assistant Imam lying in a coffin on the floor of the mosque. On inquiry, I was told that he was shot dead while he was going home in the afternoon. I knew him since the past six years and it felt like someone close to me had been brutally murdered. One of his daughters, only 12 years old, was asking everyone why her father was sleeping in a wooden box and why he was not waking up. No one had the courage to answer that little girl.

In Pakistan, our people are divided among different things: class, religion, sect, ethnicity, to name a few. I don’t know what that poor man did for which he was condemned to death by some unknown assailants, but it is proof of the intolerance that exists in us. It is important that we accept a difference of opinion. Let’s agree to disagree. We live in a democratic society where everyone has the constitutional right of the freedom of expression. If we don’t like what someone says or believes on particular issues, we cannot take matters into our own hands, and we have no right to do so.

If this continues then the day is not far where everyone would feel helpless and would refrain from voicing any opinions. The biggest reason for this polarisation is illiteracy and poverty. The lack of education and economic activity in our country makes us vulnerable, and we make decisions impulsively, not respecting the opinion of others.

I would like to advise all my fellow Pakistanis to be very cautious while voicing their opinions, especially in public gatherings, and while talking about controversial issues. I pray to God that it will make Pakistan a better place where the life and property of its citizens are always out of harm’s way.

SYED HUSSAIN AHMED,

Karachi.