Tide of Sectarian Violence
Asma Mujahid


At least 18 people were killed and over 85 injured in suicide blasts in Chehlum processions of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) in Lahore and Karachi.

Sectarian magma has heated to such an alarming point in Pakistan that the massive use of aggression against the opposite sect appears to be the first and the only resort for both Shia and Sunni radical outfits. The extremist groups, although not real representatives of their respective communities, have destroyed the very social fabric of the society and jeopardized the peace and security of the country through their terror acts and violent tactics. Suicide attacks on holy places, mosques, shrines etc, religious gatherings and target killings of each otherís religious figures have become common practice of the day.
Pakistan has faced varying degrees of religious, ethnic, linguistic, and political problems that are often in conflict with our national interest. To guard against all external as well as internal challenges to the solidarity and security of Pakistan, a well knitted and integrated nation is a must. The brute and the savage force in an individual, which is basically harnessed by positive aspects of education, tends to get unleashed in different directions and causes serious disruptions within society. Sectarianism with the introduction of religious parties and exploration of religion by various governments to legitimate their rule created hell on this Land of the Pure. Different sects manipulated by external actors, are engage in alienating the simpleton Muslims from the true spirit of Islam and are weakening the Muslim brotherhood, which is the real basis of Pakistan.
No matter how strong the governmentís efforts are to manage extremism in the country, it needs cooperation at individual level to attain success. There is role of private organizations and individuals units of society such as a family or tribe to inculcate the norms and values in society that prohibit extremist culture. Family is the basic unit of society, the basic change towards the retreat of extremist mentality is to be initiated at family level. The role of our Ulema is also of a significant importance, they should focus on eliminating the differences rather than fighting on minute issues. Dialogue among different sects must be tabled to find out ways and means for their peaceful co-existence. Every individual instead of blind adherence to any sect must follow the Quranic knowledge, to bring to the surface the real Islam of peace, love and concurrence.
In addition to the religious, social and cultural consequences, it has very deep negative consequences on economy of the country. The law and order situation; terrorist attacks, strikes are very harmful for the business activity of the country, due to this the investor becomes shy and lack of investment in the industry shrinks the overall economic productivity. The contraction of economy affects the purchasing power and overall well being of the common men. Moreover, the killing of sole breadwinners of families killed in terrorist attacks is creating the disastrous situations for the victims of terrorism and extremism. Result oriented and workable policies and their forceful implementation should be governmentís and rulersí very first priority. All Pakistanis must be more than conscious about the sham tactics of these sectarian gangs and must take it as their religious and national responsibility to mitigate sectarian differences to avoid any severe damage to the sovereignty and integrity of their homeland. The intellectual also need to guide the society, discuss on thorny issues and help to find the midway, which enables to retain the gist of religion while integrating Pakistanis into the rest of modern world.
In a nutshell, sincerity of approach will emerge as the main factor. We need to strengthen our political system and institutions, develop a dynamic and sustainable growth, eradicate corruption, provide timely justice, enhance employment, undertake steps for population control, seek consensus based political solutions, and resolve ethnic, sectarian and religious fault lines. With time running out, the failure to resolve the crises mean that there will be no escape from the eventual dark reality of disintegration. Verily will never Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.