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Scaffold, not Talks.

Byline: Aamir Aziz

Pakistan is bleeding for over a decade now. Religion is dear to Pakistanis and most of them cannot imagine living as secularists or avowed atheists as these popular western identities are deemed as anathema to their faith. This is perfectly understandable in a country which has no epic historical experience with caesaropapism, reformation, counter-reformation, revolutions and indigenously thought out political systems like in Europe and where religion is embedded in its mainstream culture as an inadequate natural-given that discourages dissent and tough questioning in the matters of belief from above. But a slim mass of self-conscious Pakistanis with their minds still not blinded by the dazzling imperialism of religious fanaticism would unanimously agree that an obscurantist version of religious frenzy with violent thoughts and predominance of sectarian intolerance has gripped this country's innately happy-go lucky regional cultures.

Mosques and religious seminaries o f multifarious sects, traditions and schools of thought in and around Indian-subcontinent are ideally the places of worship and traditional religious education and spiritual training. But the politics of the region, poor economies of the hinterlands and almost diabolical nature of Puritanical religious ideology inspired from Salafism and Wahabism in Saudi Arabia gave as acralized temporality and transcendental overlay to the students and their instructors' mission in these schools-turned laboratories-of-faith-based-non-state-actors. The adherents of this version of religion have quite finely bisected Pakistan's society over the last 40 years at least. They remain happy unless the sate grooms them as its assets but go mad at her when shown indifference and iron hand.

And the height of shame is that they perpetrate vindictive violence under the mask of their victim image which is tirelessly portrayed by ultra-right wing ideologues like Orya Maqbool Jan, Hameed Gul, Ansar Abbasi, Moulana Fazlur Rehman, Moulana Munawar Hassan , M o u la n a Samiul Haq, almost 2/3rd of the nation's Manichean minded population (who think in black and white only) and none other than eminent opposition leader Imran Khan and his passionate infantry of recent over 18s. The country's slander Left and intellectual class is frightened to virtual silence in the issues related to the place of religion in public space and politics.

That's why every now and then a targeted bullet pierces through some opinionated personality's bosom on a thoroughfare to impose fast of silence upon the rest. Prime minister Nawaz Sharif's ruling Pakistan Muslim League has so far proved to be a platoon of coward businessmen who can't assert supremacy of the state in such an asymmetrical religious warfare as this country has seen in last 12 years. Many, who argue that Pakistan's terrorism problem is far bigger than the caliber and valour of any of its current leaders, will know too soon that there is more truth and realism in this thought than insult to these public representatives. A country like Pakistan which has bitter sweet experience with Westminster style democracy in its polity with serious problem of balance of power between its law makers, judiciary and army has been browbeaten to concussions at a national level due to emergence of challenge by religious militancy to its status as a sovereign state.

The perpetual focus of militant attacks is the places of worship, minorities and dissident sub-groups within Islam, religious congregations, law enforcement agencies , policeand army personnel. Fear is injected in society and society is sort of desensitized due to frequency of this killing spree. Unnatural death used to be an event and news long time ago; but now it's a routine. In psychology they call it "boiling frog syndrome." Imran Khan is too naive to my liking in politics who has restrained from unequivocally condemning these so called warriors of faith and instead brandished his knives against the Pakistani state and army and the US drone policy for using force against what he calls "our own people." Normatively, within any viable modern nation state, any non-state entity which tries to subvert and challenge its sovereign hegemony via violence and force, is tackled with brutal force.

If not; the state slowly concedes its power day by day and becomes banana state and finally a failed state like Somalia or Sudan. Legitimacy can only be granted to peaceful political demands within the framework of a democratic system.
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Publication:The Diplomatic Insight
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 31, 2014
Words:710
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