Pakistan moving towards religious extremism. By Dr.Emanuel Adil Ghouri

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There is no doubt that religious intolerance is growing rapidly in Pakistan. For a long time the role of NGOs, which have received millions of dollars from the UN, European Union and the United States in the name of interfaith harmony, is still zero. The main reason for this is that holding conferences with certain people in five-star hotels and issuing statements from the drawing room is not going to bring any tangible change. In order to change the public attitude, it is necessary to reach out to the people, organize seminars with Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikh leaders at the Union Council Tehsil and District level. A message of religious tolerance should be given from the mosque, temple, church and gurdwara

Religious fanaticism has grown rapidly within Pakistan in the past few years.

The role of religious parties is more than that of political parties who use the religion card to increase their vote bank. Despite being brought to power, the political parties remain hostage to the religious parties The big example is that before the Jaranwala tragedy, 13 major incidents of religious terrorism took place from 1997 to 2016.

In which not only Christian properties were damaged, but many people were burned alive, but despite the promises of the government no exemplary punishment could be given to the people involved in the incidents. The reason for which is the recent incident like the previous incidents, provocative messages were given from the loudspeaker of the mosque. As usual, all the damage happened in the presence of the police, yet no DPO and no police officer was suspended. The blasphemy law that ofteni causes these incidents is not new if we look at its history.

Before the formation of Pakistan, when Muslims lived in a united India with many nations, there was still a blasphemy law, which was passed by the British government in 1927. The purpose of which was to protect all religions from blasphemy, despite the presence of many nations in this region, only 5 cases were registered from 1860 to 1947.

While after the establishment of Pakistan, when the Islamic state had come into existence where the religion was in safer hands, 1500 cases were registered from 1947 to 2021. Now their numbers are increasing dramatically. From may to july 2023 . 57 cases were registered. while in just one month of August three cases were registered in just one city Sargodha. 

40 people arrested in blasphemy cases have been sentenced to death and are awaiting appeal against their verdicts in various jails.

Apart from Pakistan, this law exists in Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Brunei, but the number of cases is very limited due to its correct use.

Indonesia is the second largest country regarding the use of this law, but the number of cases there is very less than ours. From 2005 to 2015, there are 57 cases on record in 11 years. That is because there is rule of law and here of the mob.

The recent tragic incident of Jardanwala is a clear example of how helpless the government is in the face of religious fanatics.The local police and administration are responsible for all this disaster

Because the case of the incident had been registered at 8 am and the police knew that after that there would be tension in the situation, then it happened that provocative announcements were made from mosques.

From 9 am to 4 pm, Christian properties were burnt in different areas but the frightened police refrained from any action, proving that the extremists are more powerful than the police.

After any unusual incident, the government immediately suspends the Deputy Commissioner and DPO, but nothing like this happened here because the loss was to the minorities, although the burning of 24 churches and 40 houses in a single day is all part of Pakistan's religious terrorism. It is a bigger event. Despite the fact that cases have been registered by the police against the people involved, a religious party's threatening messages to minorities on social media is a sign of growing extremism and the weakness of the government.

A few years ago, there was a terrorist incident in a mosque in New Zealand, after which the Prime Minister of New Zealand was present on the spot to share their grief with the people there. Here the Prime Minister issuing a statement of condemnation form his office only

The significance of the minorities is that despite running 24 churches, they do not consider it their responsibility on occasion

Leaders of political parties are expressing regret and solidarity with the minorities from their drawing room but they are not daring to do so on occasion.

If the government, including political parties, is against religious terrorism against minorities, approve the protection of minorities in consultation with minority political, social and religious leaders.

 

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