Tuesday September 06, 2016

 

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The Life of Jinnah

 

The Problem Is Deeper Than Intolerance

We have been constantly warning about the growing influence of religious extremists in Pakistani society. Unfortunately, the problem has grown so much the governor of Punjab was gunned down by his religiously motivated bodyguard in daylight in the capital for making indifferent comments on blasphemy law. It is a law which suggests death sentence for anyone who knowing or unknowingly makes remarks which are considered disrespectful to the prophet of Islam by the listeners.

The more troublesome thing is the reaction of various segments of Pakistani society about the assassination of the governor of Punjab. The first reaction came by the killer himself who claimed he killed the governor because the governor committed blasphemy by calling the blasphemy law a black law. Did the governor really commit the blasphemy by calling the blasphemy law a black law? By any standard of argument the governor did not commit blasphemy by calling blasphemy law a black law.  Calling a law a black law including blasphemy law does not necessarily make anyone liable to committing blasphemy. The comments of the assassin show the gravity of the influence of the religious mouthpieces on young Pakistani minds.

The reaction of these religious mouthpieces on the assassination of the governor is even more problematic. Some of them gruesomely celebrated the murder of the governor and lamentably brought out rallies in some cities of Pakistan.

Of course, some of them had dared to issue the fatwa for the assassination of the governor. A few days ago, they even arranged nation-wide rallies evidently to intimidate the government, the liberal law makers who wanted to bring a bill on the floor of the parliament to amend the blasphemy law, and to liberal activists who feel religious forces are out of control in Pakistan and need to be brought under control. Almost all leaders of major religious political parties not only participated in the rallies they also used their religious, social, cultural, political and economic leverage to make the strike effective to the max.

Through wheel-jam strike throughout the country they gave a clear message to all their opponents that they are willing to go to any extreme to keep the blasphemy law intact. The already beleaguered government sheepishly facilitated the wheel-jam strike only to strengthen the influence of the extremist religious forces to encourage them to go ahead with committing murders like governor of Punjab in daylight.

Another troublesome reaction has been viewed on various internet forums like face book where most of the young Pakistani boys and girls born in 80s celebrated the assassination of governor as Gustakhay Rasool and declared the assassin a Ghazi. Some of them even compared him with Ilm-ud-din who killed a Hindu writer in early 20th century pre-partitioned India for committing blasphemy.  

The reaction of most of political leaders was also very pathetic. They refrained themselves to call the incident an indicator of growing intolerance in Pakistani society. Their minced words and fearful expressions clearly reflected their state of mind about the terror created by out of control religious forces which has deeply seeped in Pakistani social fabric.

The fearful, hypocrite, feeble and murky reaction showed by the leaders, opinion makers and commentators shows what kind of trouble Pakistani society is in. The jubilant and celebratory behavior of young Pakistanis on the murder of the governor speaks volumes about the deep rooted troubles of Pakistani society. It simply shows the problem is much deeper than the light talk about growing intolerance in Pakistani society. It is just not the intolerance. The phrase intolerance does not really depict the gravity and seriousness of the threat Pakistani society is facing from within. It clearly shows the Pakistani social fabric has completely torn apart due to over extended religiosity in Pakistani society.

It also shows a stream of sick religiosity is torrentially flowing through social, cultural, political and economic systems of the country which is tearing down everything it is flowing through. So much so it is threatening the very existence of state.

No one is safe from the devastation of this overextended sick religiosity in Pakistani society. Not only the liberal people like Governor Salman Taseer are being murdered but also many religious figures have also been assassinated in past decade or so due to this overzealous religious extremism in the country.

It is about time the government and the civil society step in and takes the necessary steps to properly channelize this stream of sick religiosity and save Pakistan and Pakistani society from utter termination.  

 

  

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