By Saira Bukhari
What a great nation we are, we don’t allow foreign powers to snatch our sovereignty, to violate our boundaries and to kill our people brutally. Yes, we don’t allow anyone and why should we let Others to do this job since WE ourselves are doing it pretty well. We consider it discrimination against our religion when West sees us as terrorists and extremists but we consider it evenhandedness when we kill our own people in the name of religion. We feel deprived when West doesn’t show tolerance towards the Muslims who are living in the foreign countries but we feel bigheaded when we do not show forbearance towards the people of other religions and even from different sects of Islam living in Pakistan. Chillas incident is a clear illustration of such bigotry on the basis of religion.
One of my colleagues who has came from USA, felt really astonish when she saw black flags that Shiite Muslims fly atop of their houses, she was also quite impressed when she saw Mosques of Sunnis, Imambargah (Worship place) of Shiites, Church of Christians and Jammat Khana (worship place) of Ahmadis at the same place and thought that all the people from different religions and sects have freedom to practice their beliefs without any complications and restrictions in Pakistan. But then reality hits when she was told that though one can see Shiites displaying their black flag (Alam) atop their houses doesn’t mean that they are free to practice their belief rather it is a sign of bravery because despite the fact that they face desecration they still fly it with pride and courage. Likewise although Pakistan is an Islamic Republic with majority of the people from Hanfi sect (Sunnis) but still Sunnis face vandalism and are not in a position to freely practice their faith as we have seen that in recent years number of Religious Scholars from Sunni sect had been targeted and killed and even in Chillas incident Sunni and Shiites both were targeted according to the reports. People may perceive it as Sunni-Shiite conflict but reality is far more different from what we see. In reality our foes are trying to drag us towards the civil war and are trying to give it the color of sectarian conflicts between Sunni and Shiites in Pakistan. Nevertheless a cold murder even an isolated one, reflects the gradual decline of Islamic civic values.
One can easily imagine that in an “Islamic Republic State” where people do not show tolerance towards the people who are from the same religion i.e. Islam how can they exonerate people who are from different religions. Hazrat Ali A.S. says that “all Muslims should be thankful to Allah that he has selected you people to represent and propagate Islam. The religion of Allah.” This means that Islam is a religion of Allah and for Allah killing a human being (no matter from which religion he/she belongs to) is like killing the whole humanity as per Holy Quran. But the dilemma that we Pakistanis are facing is that we are assassinating each other on the grounds that since our point of views or beliefs is in conflict with each other therefore it is justified to destroy them. Then how can we blame West for doing Muslim genocide all over the world when we have our hands wet with the blood of Muslims? We all know that US and Israel and other powers are continuously engaged in the killing of innocent Muslims because they think we are terrorists, they think we are murderers; they think we are extremists and through unpleasant incidents like Gilgit-Baltistan issue we are proving them right.
Islam is a religion of tolerance, equality, peace it doesn’t promote hatred, injustice and intolerance however unfortunate is the fact that due to the difference of interpretation we Pakistanis are portraying the wrong image of Islam. Furthermore, the biggest and most important thing which we lack as a nation is unity. We are divided on the basis of sects, ethnicity and race. If Sunnis are attacked Shiites remain silent and if Shiites are attacked Sunnis remain silent. We all are working for our own interests forgetting the fact that we are Pakistanis first of all. It has been more than three weeks now since Shittes from Gilgit-Baltistan are protesting in front of Parliament House and demanding for justice but not a single politician or any person from the government has taken notice of the incident and to top it all off media is banned to give coverage to these protests. Similarly, people of Hazara in Quetta and innocent people of Karachi who are already dying from poverty, unemployment, gas and energy crisis also becoming prey to target killing daily. Government and Supreme Court are acting like deaf and blind.
It is pretty strange that in a country where Supreme Court takes immediate action in the form of suo motu notice on Wahida Rehman issue in which she slapped a woman in the voting station how can genocide on the basis of religion, ethnicity or race be oversighted? It’s my question to the entire nation that what message are we conveying to the outside world? Why can’t we be united? Why instead of peeking into others businesses (beliefs) we try to improve our own selves? After all we are not answerable for anyone’s deeds in front of Allah (SWT) rather we are responsible for our own actions. It’s high time that we forget our differences particularly religious difference and join hands against the internal and external evils that are trying to destroy our country by spreading sectarianism and extremism. It is the time that we apprehend the efforts of our forbearers who worked tirelessly to establish this Islamic Republic in the name of religion i.e. Islam which is the essence of Pakistan.
The writer is an independent political analyst, researcher and writer