By Mian Abid Qayyum
It is such a sad spectacle that a great majority of people in Pakistan have become intolerant, inflexible and completely unable to be self-critical. ‘We can’t be wrong’ has become our mindset which clearly denotes that the capacity of proper argumentation regarding any matter is constantly vanishing.. It is this approach of ours that has given rise to extremism in our society and its tentacles are constantly spreading like a wild fire.
Ever since the creation of Pakistan, minorities have not felt safe in this country. Today, we can witness minority prosecution throughout the length and breadth of the country. Today literally every group, including those identifying themselves as Muslims, braces the brunt of intolerance and religious bigotry. From the Christian community in Ghotki (moaning against the behavior of Muslim clerics on the issue of forced conversions), to the Hindu community in Jacobabad (who have started migrating from this country due to constant harassment and extortion of money), every minority feels extremely vulnerable.
. The founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was loud and clear regarding the issue of minorities. He even went one step further to proudly say that ‘white portion’ of Pakistani flag represents minorities. Such hatred by myopic mullahs with the fellow human beings and more importantly to their country’s citizens is beyond understanding.
Take another case that of the demolition of Babri Mosque where the incident had taken place miles away and in another country but the punishment was given to Pakistani Hindus who had nothing at all to do with the incident. There is no denying the fact that the demolition episode blatantly exposed the face of Hindu extremists and undermined the Indian establishment’s claim of secularism. But the way Pakistan’s right wing, especially the Islamic political parties reacted to it was even worse. At least 76 Hindu temples were either damaged or razed to the ground, 24 people were killed and 174 were wounded in the protest or by coming under the debris of the burning temples. Eventually I have come to the conclusion that those who burnt the temples ended up depicting the same behavior they were protesting against. In the end there was no single shred of difference between the demolishers of Babri Mosque and the destructors of the Hindu temples.
If this is the message that these people wanted to portray, then I am afraid that this reputation of our religion as the religion of peace is in grave danger. We are not realizing even to a little extent that image of Islam we are portraying is creating fear in the hearts and minds of the people. Prophet Muhammad PBUH, mainly reached the pinnacle of glory by sticking to a great attribute which is none other than tolerance.
The only remedy for this cancer is to ponder upon our way of thinking and try to create room for others to coexist. The real nobles of Islam, the sufi sanits, spread the message by grabbing the rope of tolerance, peace and love. Had they been revenging the atrocities committed by their enemies, they would have been respected the way they are today. Downfall started when we became god, did what we think was right by acting inhuman. We need a lot of self introspection.