Tolerance, harmony, respect, human dignity, justice and fair and equitable dealing in all circumstances are the values of a civilised and educated society. And no doubt, these values are the backbone of the progress and success of any society. A society, barred from these fundamental qualities, cannot remain prosperous and competitive. And a brief analysis of the current developed and under-developed countries’ position will make it absolutely clear that those who abide by these values are progressing rapidly, and those who do not practise these qualities are barred from all sorts of progress and achievements.
Pakistan is also amongst those countries where intolerance is increasing rapidly and all the stakeholders of the country as politicians, lawmakers, the judiciary, the police and mostly the religious clerics and leaders are responsible for that. The latter have diverted their priorities from teaching religion and moral values, towards spreading hatred, issuing fatwas (religious edicts) against mankind, and promoting violence and bloodshed. Very sad!!!
A few days ago, just because of one single statement by a minister, which was totally impolite and provocative, against a political party, people of that political party came out in the streets protesting and many innocent people were killed and dozens of cars and buses were set on fire, buildings and infrastructures were destroyed. The result was a huge loss to the economy of the country. If one commits a mistake, others try to correct it by making another mistake, and even a bigger one.
One major aspect of this increasing intolerance is that all the main stakeholders of the country are only working for their interests and motives, preaching hatred and intolerance to their people, prioritising personal agendas and neglecting the national interests and are not showing broadmindedness. They exploit the people’s ignorance and vulnerability, they toy with the sentiments of people of other faiths and all sorts of intolerance is preached openly and loudly and the government turns a blind eye to what is happening so as not to lose its votes.
The result is that many people have started deciding their matters in streets, on the crime spots by themselves. And they try to take the law into their own hands neglecting the best interests of their country. The country therefore is facing disorder and lack of rule of law.
Let me give you an example by telling you of an incident, which is too terrible to be seen or to be narrated, as it was so heinous and was a grave insult to mankind. However, that directly relates to my subject and that is one clear example for this intolerance. A few days ago a drug addict entered a mosque and tried to steal a water pump and the imam of the mosque saw him and together with other people arrested the thief and they took the law into their own hands and punished the thief on the spot. The extrajudicial punishment they decided is a clear example of an intolerant and violent attitude of the ordinary people as well as the religious clerics. And that punishment is considered one of the worst and grave humiliations in Asian societies. They took the thief and cut the hair of one side of the head, shaved part of his moustache and the eye brows, coloured his face black, hung many torn shoes around his neck, they rode him on a donkey (which is a symbol of grave humiliation) and finally they marched him around the town with a crowd of people chanting slogans and raising voices against him. They humiliated him as much as they could and left him dying out of humiliation every day. This incident was shown on television, believe me, it was hard to see and I turned my eyes away from the TV screen and only listened to what had happened.
And this was not the first incident of this kind, but, similar incidents take place on a regularly basis but mostly remain unreported.
By: Laiq Ahmed Atif, President Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta: firstname.lastname@example.org
How nice it would have been if the state had provided security and easy justice to all the citizens so that such incidents could be avoided. And also, how nice and civilized it would have been if the people and the imam of the mosque would have handed over the thief to the police and he would have been brought to justice.