Tomorrow Ashura will begin. Ashura is a sombre two-day occasion for the Shia community and as Pakistani citizens, they must receive all-out cooperation from the rest of the community. Everyone must do everything possible in facilitating them while the processions are taken forward throughout the Muslim world. Ashura is a unique occasion where people can practically demonstrate that unity lies in diversity. Acceptance of different cultures, beliefs and practices are of utmost importance for the creation of a just and pluralist society. And Ashura, like all other days that bring people together, can prove instrumental in the elimination of religious differences.

Pakistan has achieved much-desired stability and peace after giving many sacrifices. It is important then to ignore all attempts to divide and rise above differences. We must not let anyone create chaos and strife amongst us on occasions like this one. Promoting inter-sect and inter-faith harmony is a constant process and a collective responsibility. Inter-sect and inter-faith unity should take centre stage in our national discourse, in order to ensure that no differences are used for political or any other sort of gain.

With Ashura today, the security situation must obviously be a focus. But undoubtedly, our security forces are used to ensuring foolproof security without any lapses. We go through this routine year after year. However, the recent spells of heavy rains have also created hurdles for the processions to organise in areas such as Karachi and Hyderabad. Consequently, the duties of police and district administrations across the country will be more challenging. Local authorities must work significantly harder to ensure that processions take place in a safe and conducive environment.