An overdue crackdown


A crackdown is going on all those miscreants who indulged in vandalism in the name of religion after the Supreme Court of Pakistan released Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case. So far over 1000 violent protesters have been put behind the bars while the police are arresting more persons on a daily basis. The police are actively looking for the protesters because a large number of personnel were injured during the three-day protests. The religious zealots not only attacked the security personnel but also caused heavy damage to the public property.

The police action against the protesters is justifiable but it is a temporary solution to the inherent flaw in society. The evil of extremism has permeated almost levels of society and needs a thorough surgery.

Religious groups like TLP have been operating in Pakistan for a long time under the nose of the law enforcement agencies. Why have their activities not checked before? Why have they been allowed to operate and run their seminaries without any proper monitoring and surveillance? In the past, the characters like Khadim Hussain Rizvi have been given a free hand and now they are challenging the writ of the state. Why has Rizvi never been questioned about his activities? It is a known fact that the government and security institutions hesitate to take action against these religious extremists. They only come into action when they face severe pressure at the national and international levels. Unfortunately, as a result of the susceptibility of people and the nature of religion, certain religious groups feel entitled to ignore the condition believing that their belief system supersedes any earthly convention. Through misconstruing Islamic principles and justifying their heinous crimes against humanity, they never hesitate to usurp the rights of other citizens. They want to take the nation to the Stone Age where there is no rationality or reasoning, while the law of jungle prevails. Having taken upon themselves to declare anyone who deviates from orthodoxy as an infidel, these groups need to be eliminated and their space wrested from them. Timidity and capitulation towards them are not just shirking from responsibility but downright criminal.

It was a long overdue crackdown that is taking place now. In fact, the government has realised the dangers associated with providing a living and operating space to those persons who use religion for their own interests. We need a government that could take this menace of extremism in the guise of Islam seriously and eradicate it for good from all over Pakistan. Moreover, there is a need for a counter-narrative to extremist ideas. In order to deal with the prevailing extremism in society, there is a need to bring a positive change in mindsets. And this task can be attained by launching a large-scale awareness campaign among the public at large.