Peace, tolerance during Muharram

Tahira Irfa

The conflict, chaos, conspiracy and crises created by sectarian and religious extremism have made the world a vulnerable place to live in. The bigots and evil minded selfish people are behind this abhorrent act who for their vested interests has cost lives of millions. Unfortunate is the fact that most of these evil acts are carried out in the name of Islam and Muslim world especially Pakistan has to bear its burnt the most. Islam which is the religion of peace and tolerance, tells its followers to respect the rights of not only Muslims but Non-Muslims as well.
The development of sectarianism is widely attributed to be a result of Arab states and other outside powers inside Pakistan having provided millions of dollars of funding to fundamentalist networks. Nevertheless, whoever is behind this, they are trying to destabilise Pakistan by dividing it’s people in different groups, manipulating the mind of several with lavish offers and implanting prejudicial opinions about other religious, ethnic and sectarian groups.
According to a study, over 2,000 people have been killed and 3,500 injured in sectarian attacks in the past five years. Pakistan surely is facing war like situation not only at borders but also internally. Speaking especially of Muharram-ul-Haram, every Muslim regards and pays homage to the martyrs of Karbala. Not only this but they also used to arrange eateries for the procession which truly depicts brotherhood Islam preaches. However, mayhem reported from past few years is the result of lethal propagators (some obnoxious elements) who are perpetrator of violence in a trial to destabilise us due to our involvement in war on terror.
Now, with the start of new Islamic year Muharam-ul-Haram the chance of rifts also increases which needs to be carefully handled by both Government and people of Pakistan. Luckily enough Punjab has sensed the fragility and taken notable steps timely to ensure full security of masses and avoid any expected inconvenience.
In this regard, Chief Minister Punjab Main Muhammad Shahbaz surely deserves a vote of appreciation who himself is monitoring law and order situation and security arrangements for Ashura. He has directed to ensure implementation of security plan evolved for the protection of life and property of the people during Muharram-ul-Harram and ordered crackdown without any discrimination against those involved in provocative speeches, publication and distribution of literature based on religious hatred.
Special police forces are deployed at sensitive locations like Imam Bargahs, Aushra processions route , and other worship places and to and four tier cordons are established around them. Along-with this, the most important step is the legislation which was badly needed to curb this menace.
Worth mentioning is the ban on loudspeaker and provocative literature inscribing objectionable graffiti. Most importantly religious leaders, members of peace committees and elected representatives are involved for promoting religious harmony and utilize all their capabilities for maintaining the environment of brotherhood, accommodation and tolerance.
Awareness among folks is nurtured through seminars to create sense of social responsibility among them and encourage them to keep a watch full eye on anti-social elements. We need to understand the conspiracy against our country and try our best to be united for making the country a haven of peace and foil the nefarious designs of the enemies while maintaining unity in its ranks.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Rawalpindi.

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