Why Pakistanis and Indians are in no position to mock each other

October 23, 2015


This 'holier than thou' attitude on both sides needs to change. —Reuters
This 'holier than thou' attitude on both sides needs to change. —Reuters

For the past few days, it has looked like Pakistan's biggest problem is communal incidents occurring across the border.

From social media to mainstream news channels, to the general public; it seems Shiv Sena, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Sena are apparently our biggest issues, as if we are still a part of India and facing persecution at the hands of extremist Hindus.

A large part of our population has decided that:

  • Shiv Sena's forced cancellation of the concerts of Pakistani singers in India, reflects the intolerance of Hindu extremists. But this same population failed to reach a similar conclusion when, a couple of years ago, the Iranian bookstall at Karachi International Book Fair was shut down, following a protest by the Muslim extremists of Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat.

  • Foreign nationals are not safe in India because an Australian couple was harassed by extremists over a tattoo issue, but the murder of nine foreign tourists near Nanga Parbat by the Taliban, should not be perceived as a threat to all foreigners in Pakistan.

  • Throwing ink on Sudheendra Kulkarni – the organiser of Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri's book – was an abominable crime by Hindu extremists, but the kidnapping of Chinese nationals by Lal Masjid extremists was totally acceptable.

  • The Indian government should be ashamed that Shiv Sena's extremists were successful in getting the meeting between our cricket board officials cancelled, but the Pakistani government need not be 'ashamed' of an entire generation of sleeping with extremist religious outfits responsible for countless murders.

  • The Indian police was a 'silent spectator' when a Hindu mob was lynching a Muslim man over for eating beef in Dadri, but the Pakistani police deserved no such labels after Shama and Shahzad, a Christian couple was beaten to death by a Muslim mob in Kot Radha Kishan.

  • It was cool to mock the law and order situation in India when Hindus killed a Muslim over an alleged cow smuggling case, but not when its Pakistan's turn to be mocked; when, say, seven Christians were killed in cold blood by Muslims in Gojra.

When it comes to extremist Hindu mobs in India, the state needs to control them and establish its writ, but when a Muslim mob brings down the entire Joseph colony to ashes, let's stay silent lest we 'defame Pakistan' and point out that not all Muslims like to burn down Christian houses, just some of us.

Muslim extremists and Hindu extremists are two faces of the same coin; of the currency of bigotry and intolerance. Neither country is in a position to point out the 'faults' of the other, because both have openly allowed bigots on their respective sides to damage peace and humanity in the name of religion.

Certainly, the recent incidents of communal violence in India are a clear example of religious fascism, which should be condemned.

However, the 'holier than thou' attitude (on both sides) needs to change. Civilised citizens of both countries should deal with their own bigots, because nothing good can come out of "but we are less unfair than the other side".