Spectre of sectarianism

25 Sep 2020

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APROPOS the editorial ‘Sectarian tensions’ (Sept 21). It is alarming to observe a select few creating the current environment of hate and animosity towards the Shia population.

The distressing slogans chanted at the rallies are reminiscent of the 1980s and ‘90s in which Pakistan witnessed unbridled sectarian violence. It is an enigma as to why our rulers and governments do not learn from past mistakes.

Despite the prime minister’s perpetual claims of being an avid reader of history, it is yet to be seen whether his team will firmly deal with the growing sectarianism.

The fire of hatred has been fanned by those very organisations, which surprisingly have the ability to paralyse the country any time they choose.

The state needs to rebuild the people’s trust in it by showing them that it can crush such flag-bearers of violence and hate.

Diversity is beautiful and needs to be promoted by all sections of society. Hence, such display of street power and diabolical rants against almost 20 per cent of Pakistanis requires to be condemned by all of us.

We need to show solidarity with and support for our Shia brothers and sisters, while the state needs to nip this evil in the bud by taking firm action against all gatherings which are meant to target specific communities by spewing hate speech and furthering radicalisation.

Nida Zafar
Islamabad

(2)

AFTER months of relative calm, sectarianism has raised its ugly head once again. Sectarianism has been a long-standing and yet unaddressed problem despite its far-reaching implications for Pakistan.

The recent hate speeches have sparked fears of sectarian violence and are cause for concern from a security point of view.

What is more disturbing in this particularly fragile context is inaction by security officials. This compounds an already complex issue. It is an open secret that Pakistan has already seen sectarian conflicts in the recent past and thus cannot afford further damage. There are fears that violence may erupt, if not dealt with timely.

Sectarianism is an internal security issue and has implications for FATF as well.

It is time the state brought all stakeholders on board, particularly ulema from all sects, to fight sectarianism and implement the Nation Action Plan in letter and in spirit. And there must be a crackdown on hate speech.

M. Shahjahan Memon
Qamber Ali Khan, Sindh

(3)

THERE is little doubt that the religious card is being used to meet political ends in this country and has been given extensive coverage by the media.

To avoid history being repeated the government should act promptly. Although takfiri slogans against the Shia community are being raised, there are hardly any voices against such hate.

How did the banned organisations come up with the anti-Shia campaign and address the rallies? Also, such extremism hurts the country’s harmony and peace. Moreover, the politicisation of such sensitive issues leads to the state’s instability besides chaos and violence in society.

The government should focus on the elimination of all forms of discrimination and safeguard the interests of the minorities. Also, let us remove the loopholes and lacunae in the existing laws and ensure protection for all citizens.

Atiqa Saleem
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2020