Harming the Nation

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Ashraf Ansari

WHAT has happened throughout the country on Monday and Tuesday harmed the nation in no less extremes. The protesters literally locked down all the major cities, blocking roads.

They vandalised state properties. They set private and police vehicles on fire. They lynched police officers and hurled insult on to uniform that symbolized state authority.

In nutshell the protesters were able to paralyze the civil society and apparently took the state to hostage.

Unfortunately, the government institutions of law and order could not move as massively and promptly as was the need.

The foremost question is: when the government had gathered credible information about perilous planning of the callers, why was not action taken promptly and beyond reservations? But there might be some explanation for this inaction.

In the past large-scale protests and sit-ins resulted in the same type of vandalism and no stern action was taken against those who had mobilized vandals.

Though peaceful protest is a right of the people, even then there must be some genuine cause.

No law can allow vandalism in the name of protest, whatever may be the cause. To the luck of the vandals and their leaders, our laws are either vague or they ae not enforced to inflict sufficient pain on them.

In most cases in the past, people were detained red handed while indulging in vandalism and they were released without judicial trial.

The country has suffered losses to the tune of billions of rupees in economic terms as well as fatalities price-less but hardly anyone was awarded deterrent punishment.

This is how vandalism has been promoted in our country, if not by design, at least by default and lack of due sensitivity on part of the state. This time the bowl has been filled to the brim.

Outlawing an outfit indulging in terrorism is one thing but trying the accused the real test of government’s political will.

What we see today is culmination of criminal neglect of our state or for that matter the successive governments who looked the other way while message of Islam was being perverted to promote sectarian violence. Such elements were not treated as terrorists.

Now a time has come when the state can ill ford to delay action against elements who thrive on chaos and turmoil.

Deterrent laws must be brought on our statute book to deal with elements who misinterpret the teachings of Islam to nurture their selfish interests.

The federal shariat court must be mandated to conduct trial of so-called religious leaders who dare to utter or commit anything which is against the tenets of Islam.

The shariat Court may be assisted in its proceeding by a jury of real scholars of Islamic faith.

In most cases the elements indulging in fueling flames of religious extremism and vandalism, would be found guilty of committing ‘Fasad’.

Our legislation must enact law to punish people who create Fasad. The people who create Fasad in the society, misusing name of Islam, deserve trial under the Islamic injunctions.

Above all, there should be proper legislation to regulate mosques and madrasas with a view to ensuring spreading real message and values of Islam based on consensus of eminent Muslim scholars.

No one should be allowed to utter anything in public that would violate the teaching and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (MPBUH).

No group in the society should be allowed to misuse name of Islam for its political interests.

Students of madrasas should not be left at mercy of those who bring them on to roads for show of their political power.