Rest in peace Mashal Khan

Wahab butt

Today is another dreadful day for Pakistan. An innocent soul, a student named Mashal Khan was brutally murdered in Mardan on accusation of blasphemy. Another reminder of where we are as a nation and how extremism is not only rampant but is thriving.

Time and again it seems that we are trying to change course and work towards a brighter future free from extremism. Our state claims that times have changed, destiny will change, we will root out extremism, teach our children and even the children of the enemy and what not. But in reality, extremists and their apologists continue to spread poison within the roots of the nation. In media, judiciary, army, mosques and colleges, they are found everywhere reminding us that the sins of past will not be easily forgiven, that the disease is lethal and surgery is compulsory. We move ahead a little, then shoot ourselves in the foot, then move a little more and then shoot ourselves again. Of course, we have moved forward from where we were few years ago. Our areas have been cleared from armed extremists and the flag of Pakistan stands proud on all our soil, thanks to Pakistan army. Our judiciary has punished various murderers and police has encountered dangerous criminals like Malik Ishaq. But much more needs to be done because we have not been able to shut down the factories of extremism which are in our cities and villages, on television and in schools, in both mosques and colleges.

And if it is not done, the worst will come. The worst will not come from the gun of extremists such as TTP. What can they do at most? We have already seen bombings in mosques and attacks on schools and we have survived it. We even saw them overtaking our cities such as Swat and we fought back and defeated them. So the worst cannot come from their military actions.

The worst will come from those poisoning the brains of our population with extremism; the worst will come with state institutions such as courts collapsing under political pressure because extremist beliefs will be too popular. That time has not come yet but it can come and Mardan incident is another step towards that destination.

People forget that there is always a scenario worse than the scenario one is in. When people think of worst, they think of people getting killed in bomb attacks and say we have seen the worst. When i think of worst I could have seen, I think of likes of Mumtaz Qadri and Malik Ishaq being released by judiciary and running for Prime Minister. Does our state which deserves every credit in fighting against hardcore militants, also fight with similar vigor against extremist mouthpieces? Perhaps a few more Mashal Khans have to die before some one in power realizes the need for it.