Religious extremism is a greater threat to the country than terrorism. This was the consensus at the launch of a report here on Thursday.
The report, titled “Extremism Watch: Mapping conflict trends in Pakistan 2010-2011” and prepared by Islamabad-based think tank Jinnah Institute (JI), records and examines the various extremist incidents that occurred over the past year, and the effects that these incidents have had on Pakistani society.
More than 180 extremist incidents killed over 500 people in Pakistan in 2011, which should be a wake-up call for policy makers who need to check the rising intolerance and extremist attitudes in the society, says the report.
“To eliminate extremism we need a certain measure of persuasion that our society does not seem ready for. Extremism cannot be eliminated by the force of a gun,” said senior journalist and columnist Fahad Hussain who moderated a panel discussion on the report at the launching ceremony.
He highlighted a chapter from the report that demonstrated political manoeuvring for the release of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Malik Ishaq. Ishaq is accused of over 100 sectarian killings and his organisation was found involved in attack on Sri Lankan cricket team, beside multiple other terrorist activities.
The report records and examines various types of extremist incidents and their effects on Pakistani society.
JI Executive Director Ejaz Haider said, “Extremism is a greater menace in terms of a state’s ability to deal with it, rather than terrorism, and this fact enhances the importance of studying extremism in Pakistan.”
“Everyone has an equal right to life whether they are from the Ahmadiya, Christian or Hindu communities in this country,” said Haider. “We will ultimately be killing each other if the current mindset is allowed to grow unchecked,” he added.
There were 62 incidents of attacks on shrines in Pakistan during the review period, according to the report. Sixty-two people were killed in these attacks. Another 454 people were killed in 44 sectarian attacks in 2011.
These do not include another 53 attacks related to interfaith violence and blasphemy, or attacks on schools.
Dr Moeed Pirzada, a PTV host, stated that the incidence of extremism shows that the social fabric of Pakistan is disturbed. He said that though the worst may be over, policy prescriptions to deal with extremism are still necessary. “Reconciliation with India would help our society heal.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2012.
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all the sacrifices from the Muslims of sub continent were taken on the name of religion. and after its formation now they say state should have nothing to do with religion, How absurd..
Extremism is decades old and state initiated. Is it not extremism to make it business of the state in 1974 to identify citizen as muslims and non- muslims. Instead of developing a societal understanding that anybody who claims to be a muslim should be considered a muslim, the state of Pakistan by way of law brought the faith of people in the public domain. Hence gave birth to a judgemental society. Frome there on people considered their responsibility to judge others belief system. First they identified people as muslims and non muslims, they then went on to judge them as good muslims and those that were not so good muslim. After having made this decision they widened the scope of their self assumed responsibility to decide the fate of those individuals who were judged as not so great muslims, and then we saw that ordinary people like Qadri and others were turned into killers, all that was started in 1974 has spiralled out of control, it is very difficult to get people to understand that an individual’s faith is his and his business alone, there is mediator between Man and Allah, you do yourself good if you be a muslim or otherwise, one’s faith completely and clearly cannot be considered part of public debate.
Muhammad, who is blaming here the other nations, or who blames the others for our problems in usual. One talks to make our rulers aware about the impious aims of the others about us,and to come out of their slavery and economic dependency. what this blind faith in thier philosophy of life have given us in more than half a century. Similarly one talks to our own people to come out of their intellectual inferior complex and don't be succumbed to their lustful and ostentatious life style and discover, follow and spread ur own islamic ideology and way of life. In every prayer we are asked to pray 'don't show us the way of ur cursed and misguided nations'. So does Allah also blames them for our problems.
Nations that consistently blame others for their problems usually end up in a miserable failure. Pakistan's problems are internal and not external. Real change in a person or in a society comes from within and not by the presence or absence of any external influence. Sadly, Pakistanis are just too immature as a nation to realize this, which is also because of their extremist mentality. We have always been an emotional, rather than rational nation.
Martx, the context I use this word, liberal, is that 'these people take liberties in religion without having any knowledge and authority in islamic branches of knowledge, and make their own interpretation under the influence of lustful culture of the west. and the context of 'fascist; is that they posses all those traits of extremists in religion for which they blame them. they are also the representatives of hate, standing on another extreme.
Humanist, I neither see the so called extremists as well throwing anything on the mosques, it is the media that tells us everything, and in war US knows how to use media and tell the lies. secondly the liberals themselves spreading hate against the ulamahs in the name of few ignorant, in order to detach the common man from ulamahs and then to make their own interpretation sf Islam. they don't need to throw bombs on the mosques, they r doing more dangerous job, that is demolish it from within, by distorting and deviating its teachings.
muhammad saad, u r right, it was here long time before, but the US aggression and its unfair support from our rulers aggravated it. and now it is out of control. infect us policies and our rulers; slavish obedience have gave these people a chance to gather and work collectively on their cause, good or bad. would u agree?
@maawan: Nor do you see 'liberal fascists' openly instigating hate against other sects & ethnicities. And just for the record Liberal and Fascist are completely contradictory terms. Liberalism is the exact opposite of what fascists would stand for.
@maawan You don't see these so called 'liberal fascists' going around blowing up mosques and killing mullahs do you?
That is a great post really amazing love the way of your writing..
.religious extremism and religious terrorism were present in our society well before america ever came to afghanistan.this empty argument that religious extremism is there because of america or india holds no merit.we had religious terrorism well before 9/11,terrorists from different sects were attacking each others' mosques and killing people.Mr.Bhutto had to repeatedly capitulate before the pressure tactics of the religious fanatics who were blackmailing him and he had to take regressive steps to appease the mullah brigade in order to save the govt.drones,afia or western movies don't cause religious extremism in our society,it is the rabid,hatefilled,bigoted,misogynistic,homophobic preachings of the mullahs that spread religious extremism in our society.
tell US to leave the region, and tell its slaves, the liberals, not to try to impose the western values here, the extremism will go back. unluckily the report above talks about religious extremism only, and remains silent about the liberals fascists and the language they use for the ulamahs on the name of a few ignorant. this is causing problem in the form of reaction fro religious sections. .
Who is responsible for rise of extremism in Pakistan? What is the relation between the extremest parties and Military Establishment of Pakistan?What is the role of school text books in rise of extremism in Pakistan? Unless these questions are answered truthfully, the Pakistani nation will suffer.The role of Al Badr in 1971 war must be examined. No witch hunting but the intellectuals must think truthfully without fear