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Pakistan: Continuing vandalism

Religious intolerance, deep-set hypocrisy, indulgence in corruption to secure selfish objectives, disrespect for the rule of law and growing insensitivity to others’ beliefs and practices are just some of the gory symptoms of this malaise.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: Pakistan Today
By Raoof Hasan | December 8, 2012

The case of a country being mortgaged in the name of religion

Three alleged incidents in the past few days have gone relatively unnoticed: the desecration of over 120 Ahmadi community graves in close neighbourhood of the Sharifs’ mansions in Model Town, Lahore, the attack on a 70-year old Swedish charity worker also in Lahore and the desecration of a Hindu temple in Karachi.

In the first instance, the vandals attacked the graveyard on the plea that the Ahmadis were non-Muslims and, therefore, could not write the Kalima or Bismillah on their tombstones. They also assaulted the caretakers of the graveyard and their families chanting that they would be blessed with a place in heaven if they killed the infidels.

The old lady Bagreeta Almby has lived in Pakistan for almost forty years and manages charity work including an orphanage in Yohana Abad and a literacy centre in Modern Colony in Kot Lakhpat catering to the underprivileged of the country.

The reported damage to the Shri Rama Pir Mandar in Karachi, though denied by the concerned department, has been caused in violation of the stay granted in the matter against any possible demolition activity by any stakeholder. This appears to be part of the efforts to drive the Hindu community against the wall and force them to leave their living quarters for another abode.

The spate of incidents reflects the continuation of a sordid and regressive onslaught that symbolises the mainstream contemporary Pakistani attitudes. Religious intolerance, deep-set hypocrisy, indulgence in corruption to secure selfish objectives, disrespect for the rule of law and growing insensitivity to others’ beliefs and practices are just some of the gory symptoms of this malaise. The problem is that while all societies suffer from some level of degenerative trends, the ones afflicting the Pakistani mindset have only become more gruesome with the passage of time, there being no effort either at the governmental or the societal level to check them. This becomes alarming given the multiplication of the nurseries of hate and religious extremism that continue to sprout all over the country with a government that has virtually lost its writ and its hold.

Domestically, the blatant vandalism has become an ingredient to the re-shaping of a society along ‘Islamic’ and ‘un-Islamic’ lines – the former being good and the latter being evil. The genie of religious intolerance was unleashed by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto when, way back in the early seventies, he declared the Ahmadis as ‘non-Muslims’ and banned the consumption of liquor even while he continued to enjoy his drink. The dictator who followed him literally institutionalised the segregation of the society along these lines and no government since the draconian days of Zia has had the courage and conviction to address the affliction that has virtually pushed the society and the country to the brink of an implosion.

Internationally, Pakistan is fast gaining the title of a pariah state that encourages and sponsors the spread of religious intolerance. Part of the deepening malaise is its support for some militant outfits that are active in the border areas. This approbation has had a lethal effect for the country and its people: over forty-thousand innocent souls including women, children and old people have lost their lives at the hands of these marauding brigades spouting venomous jargon that has no relevance to contemporary times and requirements. Instead of taking effective measures to check the spread of the germs of intolerance, the government has remained an aloof spectator, thus allowing these bandits to dig their tentacles deeper.

The government has also failed at a different level: that of investing in and encouraging the spread of education using the traditional vehicles, thus curbing the increasing influence of hate-spouting madrassahgraduates. This has been a principal failure of succeeding governments in the country. The incumbent concoction has paid little heed to the increasing manifestations of a depleting mindset that refuses to recognise that there are billions of other people beside them. This mindset is also plagued by the grandiose perception that they are the people who have been divinely ordained to put the rest of the world on the right path. In the process, they self-righteously assume that they are the chosen ones to undertake the job and they are committing no wrong.

Adding fuel to the fire is the virtually unchecked spiralling of the population most of which remains uneducated while a large proportion becomes victims of the decadent and retrogressive madrassahindoctrination in the country. There has not been a government that has demonstrated the will and the courage to apprise people of the adverse impact of the population growth on their own prospects or having introduced effective methods and measures to check it. Government after government in the country has remained hostage to the influence of the militant prayer-leaders who have been allowed to wield their ill-gotten power that is becoming increasingly destructive with the passage of time.

While there are other initiatives that could help the country take the fledgling steps on the road to emancipation from the clutches of mind-boggling decadence, investment in the fields of education could have helped the emergence of a group of people who could have wielded positive influence on the society. Because of the myopic policies of succeeding governments, this opportunity has been denied to the country and its underprivileged people. The sad part is that this continues to be denied as there is no comprehensive scheme on the anvil that could offer a credible alternative to the madrassah syndrome on the one hand and the expensive private-sector education on the other that is beyond the reach of a vast majority of the population.

While Pakistan has been sinking over the last many decades, indications are that the slide is not going to stop in the foreseeable future also. Given the exceedingly corrupt, dual-nationality and fake-degree-holder and moth-eaten leadership that the incumbent system is likely to keep producing, Pakistan suffers from increasingly diminishing prospects in successfully combating the challenges that it faces and is fast headed towards a fatal haemorrhaging.

The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at raoofhasan@hotmail.com

Read original post here: Continuing vandalism

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