After Bhatti: The decay of justice

The minorities in Pakistan feel unsafe. Will the state ever take a stand?

Sher Khan March 20, 2011
The dynamics of the state’s relationship in turning a blind eye to terror and extremism has resulted in a decay of justice within the country. By repeatedly abdicating and submitting to extremist ideologies the government has compromised the legal framework of the country.

The recent murder of Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti comes at a time when a struggling government is failing to assert itself for the greater survival of the state.

Author Semu Bhatt wrote yesterday,
“With the existing socio-economic realities, geo-strategic compulsions, and political and institutional weaknesses, it is no wonder that the media is abuzz with the debate about ‘when’, rather than ‘if’, Pakistan slides into anarchy.”

As people try to synthesise the state’s inaction towards extreme or intolerant acts, violence in general continues to increase throughout the country. On one level, the sectarian and religious dynamics has put forth a societal discourse that is marred by counter claims and skewed debates.

This week, the clergy in Lahore held massive vigils to show their disdain towards the government’s inaction. The Catholic leadership, when they spoke, seemed overwhelmed as their community had become insulated and unwilling to speak with the general population.

A pastor went on to say,
“This is not the Pakistan we grew up in. People forget that we are Pakistanis, too.”

The pastor said that in the past Lahore was not typically so polarised and intolerant, but rather it was known for its unique inter-communal attitude. That tolerant atmosphere has now turned into a long and distant memory, he said.

Moving forward, the test of the state will be whether it stands up to intimidation and looks to provide a much needed framework for ethics and law.

Without this, decency will disappear and the state will be undermined by extreme ideologies that are quickly becoming the country’s political alternative.

Sher Khan
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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