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Relating religion with schism in society

January 08, 2013

THIS is apropos of the article ‘An unfinished agenda’ (Dec 12), eulogising the services of the late Iqbal Haider, especially his forum for secular Pakistan to achieve the goal of a secular polity in Pakistan.

With due respect to the indefatigable efforts of the late federal minister and human rights activist, I disagree with secular writers and activists that it is only religion which engenders schism in society and disrupts its cohesion and that secular ideology is the only panacea to end all such ills.

For example, the writer saying that “when the emphasis is heavily on religion, it can spawn a wave of sectarian killings as we see happening today.”

She has ignored the underlying socio - politico - economic causes behind the current spate of killings happening in our country, and ascribes them to religion. This is what I disagree with.

Killing in the name of religion, although reprehensible it is, is because of the malevolent and malignant mindset of the killer and his cohorts, in whatever form they may be, who use religion as a fig leaf to justify their crime.

In other words, it is the spiteful mindset of the peddlers of odious ideologies which accounts for misinterpretation of religion and everything done in its name.

In fact, the ‘unfinished agenda’ in this country is to reconstruct the true spirit of Islam under state patronage and implement it in socio - economic - politico system of Pakistan to marginalise all obscurantist elements, and all vestiges of exploitation in whatever form they may be.

This arduous task demands collaboration among parliamentarians, ulema, academics, legal experts, and scholars of impeccable repute. The sooner we do this, the better as we will put our country on the right track.

ATHER NAVEED Peshawar