Youth Awareness











{December 17, 2011}   Religious Extremism in Pakistan: A Rude Awakening

This is not Islam

We cannot turn a ‘Blind Eye’ to the hastily increasing religious extremism and intolerance in our society. Sectarian violence and religious extremism is an unpredictable menace. History is sated with incidents of such sorts in various countries. The chauvinists and the evil minded selfish natured people are behind this repulsive act. Unfortunate is the fact that usually the Muslim countries are being constantly accused of promoting these evil acts and take ‘jihad’ in terms of terror.

In the case of Pakistan, Islam is considerably more complicated, bound up as it is with languages, lineages, sects and local and regional identifications. Pakistan played a critical role in the 1979 war ofAfghanistan and risked its own stability. Unfortunately the government failed to address the after effects of the war and did not realize the future destruction it may bring to their land. The recent wave of growing religious extremism in our country can be attributed to internal and external factors.

Internally, real threat in Pakistan emanates from domestic and internal security issues in the name of sectarian violence and religious extremism. Pakistan unfortunately has always been affected by these overwhelming threats. The tragic consequences of 9/11 led to a U-turn in the world political affairs and world saw the dawn of imperialism by super power in the name of ‘war against terror’. Pakistanbeing an important member of the world community came into the fierce brunt of this tide of change. What should be understood before going ahead is that foreign forces can never dare to impede in domestic affairs of any state until and unless that states inherent weaknesses and gaps provide them with the opportunity. The decision by our political rulers to be the front ally with U.S. even before the investigation were tend to be completed proves it to be bees in bonnet of our political system.

The 10 years havoc of this war have plunged our state into harm of political, economic, social and religious chaos. Further, the dissection on the issue of blasphemy law, Raymond Davis case, Kerry Lugar Bill etc. has added fuel to the fire. The gap between the government and the society is widening. In contrast to political strategic talks carried out by our government with U.S; a recent poll shows 57% of our population does not opine positive about U.S. policies in our region. This invites other countries in and now it is like a piece of cake for the external powers to further divide an already divided nation. And so far they have done it quite successfully.

Transaction of power from military to civilian government in 2008 dashed the hopes of populace as it brought only the ‘New Faces’ in the corridors of power with the ‘Old Policies.” If Mushrraf was accused for his involvement in Aafia Siddiqi’s case and his support for U.S. than same is the outlook of the present democratic government in U.S. National Raymond Davis case. If Mushrraf agreed to makePakistan a ‘front line state’ in U.S. War against Terrorism same strategy is adopted by Zardari & Co. This gave further rise to religious extremism in Pakistan. Currently, Pakistan in surrounded by tons of problems. And to top it all off Drone attacks, presence of NATO forces in Afghanistan and ‘Ethnic Cleansing Policy’ of west against Muslims throughout the world i.e. in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine etc. played a major role in growing militancy among Muslim youth. It is now a dire need to instantly address this issue and require sincere and utmost efforts from the government to eliminate this curse.

Recent divulgences by Wiki leaks about Pakistani leadership have left no doubts in terms of proving that our leadership is actually paralyzed and follow the instructions from the so called Super Power. Now the question before us is: How Pakistan’s support for U.S-led war on terrorism gave rise to religious extremism in the country? What problems we as a nation are facing due to this religious extremism? What should be the policy of the government to control it? Before discussing these questions at length it is indispensable to discuss the background of this curse and how it originated and got its roots in Pakistan.

Today we are getting the taste of our own medicine in the form of terrorism. Back in 1979, millions of Jehadi’s were trained in Pakistan to achieve U.S. interests of containing Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Soon after the war ended these Jehadi’s were left ruined by their Masters. All hell broke loose when these Mujahideen were tagged as ‘Terrorist’ all of a sudden after 9/11. The reaction from these Jehadi’s was thus quite evident. Whenever people are used and deprived of their basic rights they tend to be attracted towards the extremes of revolt. In Pakistan majority is deprived of basic necessities and prosperous life. It is quite easy to ensnare people who are already frustrated and looking for an explanation for their grievances. What is demanded contemporarily is a new breed of intellectuals capable to guide the people to a meaningful change. Awareness about the true concept of Jihad and the difference between Jihad and terrorism is necessary.

It is not sufficient to ban these organizations. To eliminate them the root cause should be addressed for the complete propagation of violence from the society. Mohammad Aamir Rana in his book “A to Z of Jihadi Organizations in Pakistan” also revealed some realities about the links between Jehadi and sectarian organization in our country. Government should implement a strict law for all the organizations and religious institutes. Any organizations which will be found involved in promoting or blurring the wrong Islamic concepts should be dealt severely. The vigorous enforcement of laws is desired in every respect. Most of the children getting education in these madrassas are from the rural areas of Pakistan. Rural areas of Pakistan are the hub of feudalism. Feudals mostly believe in violence and consider it a best ‘Retention Policy’. The government must act against such families who have been busy in curbing other individually through violence. The spread of education is another aspect which can create awareness among the people. The religious organizations usually target those people who are illiterate so the technique of brainwashing can be applied on them simply. Therefore education is an impotent tool which the government can use to ward off any presence of evil mindedness from the society. Different peace projects should be started between the people of different sects to reduce sectarian differences. If a peace project like “Aman ki Asha” could be started between the two rival states to reduce the differences. Why cannot we start peace projects between different sects and religions living in our society? In this way confusions and delusions regarding different concepts of Islam and other religions can be reduced.

Last but not the least Pakistan should adopt a balanced and valiant foreign policy. Instead of relying on West and IMF for our economic development we should utilize our own resources and manpower. Furthermore, it is now time to understand the veiled conspiracy behind the concept of “New World Order” introduced by west. This is actually a “New World Order Free from Islam” as apparent from the situation. It is a concept which propounds diplomatic immunity for a murderer like Raymond Davis and rebukes an innocent Muslim like Aafia Siddiqui.

As stated time and again, culture of violence is a real menace for Pakistan. It is indeed a complex matter which really needs to be resolved as early as possible through effective policies.
By: Saira Bukhari


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