Food for thought

Source:  Pakistan Herald Published in Religion on Tuesday, December 2, 2014

We are living in the 21st century, yet our minds are held in the Stone Age. We consider ourselves true Muslims by giving minorities their right, but is that true?

 No! The reality, however, is different.

What happened with the Christian couple in Kot Radha Kishan, Kasur is another grim reminder of how regressed and biased our society is. Hampered by stereotypical views, perceptions, education or even madrasahs, the judgments and the lynching carried out by a so called religious mob has come as no surprise.

Pakistan was not founded on the principle of lynching or persecution of minorities. The founder of Pakistan, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, gave rights to all the minorities, as he believed that without them there could never be a prosperous and progressive Pakistan.  He said in Feb 1948:

 ‘’Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims — Hindus,Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.’’

Fast forward 2014, we appear to have lost our way. We are living in a Pakistan where rights of minorities are being dismantled. Frequently, they are ostracized from society through theocratic cleansing drives against them and the problem seems to be getting worse.

Four of the core fundamentals in the making of Pakistan were justice, freedom, honour and integrity for all people regardless of caste, religion or color and NOT lynching or persecutions endured, but a place where any Hindu, Christian, Sikhs,Parsis can freely practice their religion devoid of any fear.

But are we seeing these same principles in Pakistan today? Are we really protecting our minorities and their rights?  The answer to the question is NO – Not to debate their rights we depriving them of the ‘’oxygen of freedom’’ to breathe.

It would be pertinent to ask, how long we are to continue to deprive them of their most basic human rights? Some examples are Hindus in Sindh and Baluchistan or the Christians in Punjab and Sikhs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Is this the Pakistan Jinnah wanted? led by mob or zealots ?

The Answer to this is NO?

Now going by the state of the affairs, such concurrent issues can only exacerbate our society, already marred with unemployment and a gambit of social problems. There can be more than one way to punish blasphemy. The incident in Kasur that left everyone stunned has done nothing but added agony to the growing perception of Pakistan as pariah state.

So what is the role of the government in this?

The government on its part must take the right call and implement effective measures, to thwart such incidents where blasphemy, either real or imagined must be decided by the court with true Islamic or respective religious principles. Further, the government should initiate an investigation into the blasphemy matters as such elements can lead to a complete social and inter-faith breakdown.

As a country Pakistan, we must surely pause, in order to devise concrete and essential steps to prevent such an occurrence in the future. A concrete mechanism must be put in place to have a legal investigation on any such occurrences and those found responsible must be taken to task.

Importantly, clerics from all denominations should come together and devise strong, stringent local and city level measures so that anyone found in blaspheming could be apprehended in a proper and legal way.

This indeed cannot be done overnight; but there is a strong public demand for better understanding and interpretation of the word ‘’BLASPHEMY’’ that could seriously save some precious lives.

Author Information

Written by Maqsood Ahmed Soomro

Author Information: The writer is an English literature aficionado, who likes to write on politics....

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