The question of why the Paigham-e-Paksitan initiative, despite its holistic, progressive and enlightened aspects, in tandem with the imperative the need of the hour is failing to take root in the socio-political matrix is one that delves into not what the fatwa says that doesn’t sit well with society at large, but rather what it doesn’t say.

Where the fatwa seeks to reform the rationale behind extremist ideologies, it also holds the legal system prevailing in Pakistan as impeachable. A positive message that bravely broaches the misuse of blasphemy accusations and condemns sectarian violence, the fatwa not only encapsulates a nuanced range of crimes committed in the name of faith but is also a far more inclusive representation of the diverse strains of religious thought in the country. Yet Where the responsibility to enforce the Paigham-e-Pakistan is laid on three entities: the academic/religious institutions, the government institutions, and the mosques, the plan for efficient implementation and relative ownership is yet to be formulated. Where the religious schools give the fatwa unequivocal legitimacy, the government, that has yet to take the helm of the initiative, should be fully committed and mobilized in terms of engaging the media and civil society, as well as disseminating the fatwa through all resources, in all government departments.

Where the declaration is a timely and crucial narrative, its deficit remains that it evades the cognitive reasoning and larger machinations behind the semantics of extremism. While it holds the law and Constitutions as unassailable, it fails to highlight and condemn the role of successive governments, right-wing political parties and controversial laws that have pandered to extremist ideologies for political gainsay at home and in the global arena. It also fails to address political machinations behind faith-based hatred and divisive ideologies as well as the incongruities by the government in sanctioning selected radical outfits in one form or the other.

The responsibilities and imperative follow-up of the fatwa should lie at the feet of the government. Instead of playing up the victim card the fatwa should also be further defined through introspection and deliberation of the role of the state in perpetuating and sanctioning extremism in all its surreptitious forms.

Where the justice system is weighted and the bureaucratic process is susceptible to corruption, the nuances of why extremism and vigilantism has become so pervasive has not been implicitly dealt with in all it forms. When power politics, institutional corruption and expedient use of extremism define the political matrix that the fatwa declares to be beyond reproach, the message loses its significance when peddled to those who bear the brunt of political disdain and turn to radical ideologies to rationalise their misplaced retribution.