Ashura passes peacefully

ASHURA Muharram was observed with traditional ceremonies and processions across the country participated by people from all walks of life paying glowing tributes to Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) his family and companions for the supreme sacrifices they rendered at Karbala for the cause of Islam. Indeed Karbala tragedy teaches us how to stand up against the forces of tyranny, oppression and injustice with courage and steadfastness. By grasping the message of Imam Hussain (RA), there is no doubt that we can also find solution to the multidimensional challenges faced by our society including that of peace and security.
It is a matter of great relief that the 9th and 10th of Muharram passed off peacefully and credit for this definitely goes to security and intelligence agencies which remained on their toes to foil any threat to peace. Ashura has importance in the Islamic calendar for all Muslims but it is ironic that over the years the sacred occasion brings fear and reminders of sectarian violence that destroyed communal harmony in the country. The blood spilled on sectarian lines in Karachi, Quetta, Hangu and Rawalpindi in the past years is still fresh in everybody’s mind and this is the reason that with the advent of the holy month, the federal and provincial governments get on high alert in terms of security measures to avoid recurrence of those deplorable bloody incidents. Apart from aerial surveillance and installation of CCTV cameras, some measures have become annual feature of Yom-i-Ashura period such as suspension of cellular service, closure of different roads and ban on pillion riding as these were taken to ensure foolproof security of mourning processions. Though all these steps caused inconvenience to the public but we understand that such precautions were necessary given the level of threats faced by country at the hands of multifaceted enemies. Several intelligence based operations were carried out on the eve of Ashura in different cities including Karachi, Quetta and Rawalpindi and terrorists were arrested who were all prepared to stoke sectarian violence in the country on the holy occasion. Although crucial mourning period may have concluded with Ashura, yet occasional gatherings and processions will continue to take place so it is essential that security agencies remain vigilant to pre-empt enemy designs as has been done on the eve of Ashura. Whilst the security forces are fulfilling their responsibilities very well to maintain peace, it is also time for our religious scholars from all schools of thought to rise above their narrow mindedness and genuinely work towards promotion of harmony, solidarity and unity in the society as per the message of Imam Hussain (RA) instead of creating dissent and division in the society. They have a very important role in creating such an amiable environment so that authorities are then not required to take any extraordinary arrangements on the occasion of Muharram and the people could observe the day without any fear. Curbing the issue of hate speech and literature is an important component of National Action Plan. While the Ministry of Religious Affairs through the platform of National Ulema and Mashaikh Council comprising religious scholars from all schools of thought, has made an effort to address the issue and we expect that idea of expanding the scope of such Councils at the Tehsil level will be implemented at the earliest to achieve the desired results. Ulema are required to identify the black sheep amongst them who thrive on spreading hatred and division on the basis of sect and religion. Strict action needs to be taken against elements spreading hatred without any discrimination if we really want to completely wipe out sectarian terrorism from our country and observe holy occasions such as Ashura in an environment free of terror and fear.

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