The head of the Forum for Secular Pakistan (FSP) on Tuesday expressed concern over growing religious extremism, bigotry and victimisation of minorities.
FSP President Iqbal Haider condemned the unchecked and barbaric killings and victimisation of Shia Muslims in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Karachi and Balochistan as well as the continuing harassment, victimisation and killings or forced conversions of Ahmadis, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus, who are forced to leave their homes to protect their lives.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the former senator also condemned an attack on The News Op-ed Editor Zainul Abedin outside his house by a group who beat him up and threatened to kill him if he did not stop watching TV and listening to Qawwalis or other music.
This is an unforgiveable attack on freedom of expression as well as part of the effort to radicalise Pakistan by terrorising, threatening and intimidating journalists and other sections of society, said the statement.
Haider praised Altaf Hussain’s speech on September 2, where the MQM head asked religious leaders of various Muslim sects to strengthen unity among Muslims. He appreciated and supported the efforts and appeal made by Altaf Hussain to promote peaceful coexistence amongst all sections of the society and to stop the genocide of Shia Muslims, Ahmadis and other minorities.
The FSP chief asserted that the premeditated barbarism unleashed by the Taliban and their supporters against minorities in Pakistan appears to be with the support of the civil and military establishment of Pakistan as well as of their intelligence agencies to allow the Talibanisation of Pakistan and convert it into a Wahabi state.
“If this is not a fact, then what is the justification for perpetual criminal silence of most of the religious parties belonging to this particular sect as well as most of the political parties including the ruling parties and the newly-emerged, self-proclaimed ‘Champion of Democracy’?” he said.
Senator Haider said to disprove these perception, which are supported by undeniable facts, the establishment must act with sincerity and all force at their command to eliminate the Taliban.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2012.