DAWN Editorial says Religious Sectarianism is Eating away Pakistan’s Foundations
By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia
The hard-hitting editorial in today’s DAWN newspaper points out how religious sectarianism is degenerating Pakistani society. So much so, that few dare to question large religious groups who have or in in the process of imposing their values on smaller groups. Even the famous and otherwise known as courageous icons of the society stand meekly and shy away from criticizing larger militant groups.
Should we or could we resist the elements that are hijacking Pakistani society and imposing their beliefs forcibly?
Pakistan’s religious minorities are so tiny that they hardly pose a social, economic, political or cultural threat to the overwhelming Muslim population. One consequence of the Pakistani belief equation is sectarianism that has been eating away at our foundations. This is diversity that divides, just as pluralism is sacrificed at the altar of religious biases in places like India. Along with other factors, this division has weakened the Pakistani state to a stage where it can do little more than pander to the larger groups. The media and political parties, driven by a system that is based in notching up as high a number of adherents as possible, are often guilty of playing the role of facilitator in this degeneration of society. Our history is full of instances where the two have joined hands to the disadvantage of a section greatly outnumbered.
The latest example is that of a television anchor who some weeks ago issued a death edict in his talk show and of politicians who, bar a few exceptions such as MQM chief Altaf Hussain, chose to remain silent on the issue. Even the leadership of the lawyers, very much a political entity fighting for judicial supremacy, did not for once tell us that no one could have dared express such grisly wishes in public if the courts were being run by independent judges. This is not to say that what Justice Rana Bhagwandas chose to highlight in his address at a seminar in Lahore last week – shortage of gas, electricity and wheat flour, rising fuel prices, etc – are non-issues. The point is about our total submission to populism, about how some basic issues and fears occupy us and prevent us from putting pressure on the state to attend to other pressing matters.
Courtesy and Thanks: Daily Dawn