Time to act against sectarian violence


IN a gruesome tragedy, renowned Sunni Religious Scholar Maulana Professor Dr Muhammad Adil Khan and his driver were shot dead in Karachi’s Shah Faisal Colony. The slained scholar was head of seminary Jamia Farooqia and was on his way to his residence when armed assailants targeted him. Soon after the incident, a large number of emotionally charged seminary students staged a protest, demanding arrest of those behind this unfortunate killing. In his condolence message, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa termed the incident an attempt to foment unrest by Pakistan’s enemies.
Over the last few months, fears were openly being expressed that a conspiracy is being hatched to stoke sectarian violence in the country. Hate speeches made in recent past gave credence to such reports and now the killing of an eminent scholar should leave no doubt that the enemy is out to exploit our fault lines. Army Chief has repeatedly warned about enemy’s fifth generation or hybrid warfare to spread chaos in the country. It is an open secret that Pakistan has already bore the brunt of sectarian violence till recent past and thus cannot afford further damage and allow sectarian issue rear its ugly face once again. While enemy has made its first attempt, our authorities should foil its sordid design by immediately bringing to justice those involved in the murder of the religious scholars. The real hands behind this despicable incident should be traced and findings should be shared with the world community.
At the same time, it is very important that religious leaders of all shades should ensure that their followers remain calm and peaceful. It is high time that ministry of religious affairs bring all stakeholders on board particularly religious scholars from all schools of thoughts to eliminate this problem from the grassroots level. Concerted efforts for sectarian harmony are indispensable besides implementing Nation Action Plan in letter and in spirit. Furthermore, State must undertake strict action against those who deliver hate speeches and incite violence in the name of religion. The rule of law must be applied across the board.

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