Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lahore fails in protecting its diversity

The brazen attacks on two mosques belonging to the minority Sunni sect known as Qadianis has left over 90 civilians dead. The mosques were attacked as the communal afternoon prayers on Friday were finishing at the two mosques. The militans threw hand grenades, fired bullets and later blasted the suicide jackets killing themselves and almost 90 other worshippers. Mosques in Pakistan, as of late, have become the most dangerous hangout.

Qadianis have been a target of sunni extremists since they were declared non Muslims by then prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in late seventies. Bhutto was being dogged by the religious right in the late seventies who thought of him as a heretic. Bhutto reacted with enacting legislations that tried to build his image as an Islamist. Banning the sale of alcohol (while Bhutto continued drinking), making Friday instead of Sunday as the weekly holiday, and declaring Qadianis non-Muuslims were the desperate, yet radical, acts of the most liberal leader Pakistan ever had.

Hundreds of Qadanis have been killed in senseless violence at the hands of Sunni extremists. The Shiite minority has watached in silence the wholesale murder of the Qadianis. Years later, the Shiites in Pakistan paid a heavy price for their complacency when the Sunni extremists started targeting Shiites as well.

The regional conflicts in South and West Asia as well the internal turmoil in Pakistan has made it one of the most violent places on the planet. Hundreds are being killed daily in Karachi in ethnic violence between Pushtuns and the immigrants from India. The armed forces daily claim killing dozens of Pushtun militants in Pakistan's tribal areas. Mosques have been exploding in all parts of Pakistan and have become a more frequent target since the armed forces attack on the Red Mosque in Isamabad by Musharraf's regime.

Unless Pakistanis decide by themselves that this senseless violence will not deliver any peace or prosperity, the rest of the world can do very littler to bring peace or prosperity to Pakistan.

No comments:

Post a Comment