Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sectarian Violence:Implications for Citizens and Country - English Essay

Sectarian Violence:Implications for Citizens and Country - English Essay for Pakistani Classes Inter, FSc, B.A

Sectarian Violence:Implications for Citizens and Country - English Essay

Violence is defined as the “use of force to injure, damage or destroy”. This force can
be   physical   or   otherwise   and   may   therefore   result   in   physical,   mental   and  
psychological    injuries.    The    newspapers,    magazines    and    television    reports   
continuously indicate increase in violence.
This  spring,  the  US  state  department  reported  that  South  Asia  has  replaced  the 
Middle  East  as  the  leading  locus  of  terrorism  in  the  world.  The  past  two  decades 
have  witnessed  a  notable  escalation  in  sectarian  violence  in  Pakistan.  Since  1979 
doctrinal   disputes   between   Sunnis   (who   constitute   the   majority   of   Pakistan’s  
populations) and Shias (who are 15% to 25% of the population) have given place to
full fledged sectarian conflict between militant Sunni and Shias. 
Organizations  have  carried  out  assassinations  and  bombing  campaigns  that  have 
killed political rivals as well as children and innocent people at prayers in mosques.
In the last seven months of 1997 alone, the year when sectarian conflict reached at
its  peak,  one  thousand  people  died  in  such  attacks  in  Punjab.  The  violence 
escalated further; when in 1997 (immediately preceding the celebration of the fiftieth
anniversary  of  the  country’s  independence)  another  seventy  people  were  killed  in 
incidents of sectarian violence. 
This  essay  is  an  inquiry  into  the  nature  of  conflicts  and  significance  of  militant 
sectarian  conflict  in  Pakistan.  Parties  to 
the  conflict  are  the  Sunnis,  who  constitute 
the  majority  Muslims  in  Pakistan,  and  the  Shias,  a  small  but  influential  minority. 
Conflict  between  these  two  religious  communities  has  deep  roots  in  the  history  of 
Islam and of South Asia. In Pakistan, which, aspires to be in some senses to be an
Islamic   state,   sectarian   conflict   is   part   of   and   interacts   with,   broader   issues  
concerning  the  place  of  Islam  in  public  life.  This  essay  seeks  to  analyze  some   
factors,  which  have  contributed,  especially  in  the  past  25  years  or  so  to  militant 
sectarianism  in  Pakistan  and  to  assess  the  significance  of  this  form  of  Islamic 
radicalism.
Religious violence, extremism and sectarian mindedness are not in conformity or any
accordance  with  the  real  teachings  of  Islam.  Islam  teaches  religious  tolerance  and 
peace for all; not only for its followers but also for the followers of other faiths as well.
Surah Alkafirun” is living proof  of this fact:
Say! O disbelievers! I Worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which
I  worship.  And  I  shall  not  worship  that  which  ye  worship.  Nor  will  ye  worship  that 
which  I  worship.  U  not  your  religion,  and  unto  me  my  religion
”  (exact  translation 
please)
We  notice  that  in  this  Surah,  the  Prophet  (PBUH)  is  asked  to  say  ‘neither  will  you 
(Idolaters  and  infidels)  change  your  religious  practices  nor  shall  I.  I  wish  you  to  be 
blessed  with  your  religion  so  shall  I  be  with    ‘mine’.  This  does  not  mean  that  the 
Prophet  (PBUH)  or  his  followers  should  abandon  inviting  idolaters  towards  Islam. 
This  practice  of  preaching  of  Islam  shall  continue  but  should  be  done  according  to 
the Heavenly teaching.  

“Invite them towards the way of thy Lord through wisdom and good advice”. 
But  regrettably  those  who  are  ignorant  of  the  vital  principles  of  Islam  and  are 
religiously narrow minded themselves have chosen the way of murder and violence
on the basis of religious and sectarian dissents.
An  analysis  of  Pakistan  regarding  sectarian  violence  and  religious  extremism  says 
that “mullahs’ are just a means to overpower the government in Pakistan. The voices
of extremism will be raised but they will never be able to overcome our mainstream
national  lives.  In  Pakistan  religious  extremism  exists  and  certainly  in  a  very 
unacceptable form due to which we are also suffering losses.
Sectarian violence is an unpredictable menace in Pakistan: for weeks, for months at
a  time  nothing  happens.  Then  all  of  a  sudden  there  is  sectarian  massacre.  No  one 
can  tell  when  or  where  the  sectarian  menace  will  strike  next.  While  seeking  an 
explanation  for  Pakistan’s  sectarian  menace  it  is  note  worthy  that  for  decades,  the 
country’s  Shias  and  Sunni  coexisted  side  by  side  without  any  major  problems. 
Sectarian killings are a relatively recent phenomenon in Pakistani society. Their roots
thus  lie  not  in  religious  differences,  but  in  political  and  social  developments  within 
Pakistan and region.
There  are  very  real  problems  with  regards  to  the  capacity  of  the  security  forces. 
Whenever  a  sectarian  incident  takes  place,  police  are  quick  to  make  arrests  but 
those detained are usually scapegoats. Very few of the people arrested are actively
responsible  for  sectarian  killing.  Improving  the  dismal  record  of  the  intelligence  and 
society forces requires a huge investment in equipment and training: not easy for a
country like Pakistan with limited resources.
Banning  groups  does  not  make  them  ineffective  rather  it  takes  them  underground 
and  makes  them  even  harder  to  trace  and  curb.  Unless  the  Pakistani  government 
finds  a  way  to  deal  with  these  dedicated  sectarian  killers,  the  threat  of  sectarian 
violence will continue to cast a dark shadow over Pakistani society.

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