The state should change its “five-decade old anti-people” narrative, and start a grand dialogue to end growing religious extremism, hatred and other such tendencies from our society, said speakers during a candlelight vigil at the Karachi Press Club.
The candlelight vigil against extremism, religious fanaticism and violence, titled ‘Together we call for peace, harmony and a future free from extremism’, was jointly organised by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and the Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) to express solidarity with the affected people of the Jaranwala incident.
Those who spoke on the occasion included the NTUF’s Nasir Mansoor, the Workers Rights Movement’s Gul Rehman, the HBWWF’s Zehra Khan and Saira Feroze, the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women’s Nuzhat Shireen, the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum’s Saeed Baloch, Alternate’s Aqib Hussain, Shahzad Mughal and Faiza Siddiqui, the Textile Garments General Workers Union’s Himat Phulpoto and Iqbal Abro, youth leaders Aeni Yousuf, Ruqiya Hanif and Kashif Abbasi, and Comrade Tara.The speakers said that the reason behind sad incidents like the Jaranwala tragedy are the support provided to religious extremists and armed militias by powerful circles.
They said that such incidents cannot be stopped until the state and state institutions stop the fanning of religious extremism.They demanded that the state shun its “five-decade old anti-society” narrative, and start a grand dialogue to promote pluralism and tolerance in society.They said that during the last five decades, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the name of Afghan jihad, besides sustaining a loss of trillions of dollars.
They pointed out that a large number of people were forced to migrate, so they were displaced.They also said that if the verdict of the future chief justice against the administrators and backers of the Islamabad sit-in of a religious organisation had been implemented in letter and spirit, the Jaranwala incident could have been averted.They claimed that not only the Pakistani state but also its partners, like the US, the UK and the Gulf states, played a big role in promoting extremism in the name of Afghan jihad.They further said that different religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Ahmadis, besides Shias, faced terrorism.