Of late the surge in sectarian killings in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan is seriously harming the sectarian harmony that has traditionally prevailed within the country.
Tension in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan continues as isolated cases of violence by members of the two sects continue unabated.
It appears that government institutions are not capable of addressing the situation or they are simply negligent. If this inaptitude or indifference on their part continues any further, sectarian strife can prove to be a harbinger of a bigger crisis.
Muharram is about two months away and can provide the needed opportunity to those who want to aggravate the law and order situation in the country spearheaded by sectarian mayhem.
At this critical juncture of history the country is confronted with a number of internal and external threats. Addition of sectarian dimension will further complicate the situation. Moreover, once viewed in the backdrop of prevalent geopolitical situation of the region, increase in sectarian killings is not without design.
The crisis can be dangerously aggravated if it continues during Muharram. If unchecked, persistent sectarian rift can swirl into anarchy-like situation threatening the existence of the country.
This looming threat can easily be countered by gearing up governmental machinery to check hate-mongers and through positive role-playing by religious leaders of both the sects.
I appeal to both the sects to take appropriate measures to check this nuisance. Religious leaders can play a predominant role by educating people on tolerance and by highlighting that outside powers may be using Pakistan as a turf for fighting their ideological wars by promoting sectarian and extremist organisations and by providing them with funds and weapons to fight their proxy wars in Pakistan.
The words of religious leaders can unite the nation under the flag of Pakistan and prove invaluable in foiling the nefarious designs of our enemies.
GUL ZAMAN Rawalpindi