NationalVolume 14 Issue # 17

Extremism in Pakistan

There is no denying the fact that due to had social, political, economic, religious and educational policies, Pakistan’s society has become very intolerant, immoral and corrupt. Unfortunately, extremism has spread in every walk of life and strata of society. Even, universities and colleges, which are supposed to shed the light of wisdom, enlightenment, moderation and research among students, are filled with irrational ideas, bigot teachers, extremist students and corrupt staff members.


On March 19, a third-year student Khateeb Hussain killed associate professor Khalid Hameed, the head of the English Department, at Bahawalpur’s Government Sadiq Egerton College.


According to initial information noted by the police at the scene of the crime, Khateeb Hussain, a 5th-semester BS student enrolled in the English Department, had exchanged hot words with Prof Hameed at around 8:40am over arranging a “welcome party” at the college. The event, which Hameed was overseeing, was to be held on March 21 to welcome new students to the college, the police said. Police said that Hussain was averse to the event because he viewed the mingling of male and female pupils at the function as “un-Islamic”. Following an argument, Hussain stabbed the professor in the abdomen and head. Hameed was taken to Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.


The most tragic aspect is that in a video, the student, Khateeb Hussain, says that he had attacked the English professor because he allegedly “spoke against Islam”. When asked why he had not used a lawful way of voicing his complaints against the academic, he responded that the country’s laws are “freeing the blasphemers”. When asked if he regretted his action, he expressed no remorse”.


It has also been reported that Khateeb used to watch and listen video lectures of a firebrand cleric. This clearly shows that hate speech and extremist views delivered by some Mullahas have very pernicious effects on young people. Their extremist views are spreading intolerance, hatred and anarchy in society. There are many cases which prove the destructive power of hate preachers. Mashal Khan’s tragic killing by a certain group of students and members of the Abdul Wali Khan University administration on the pretext of blasphemy in 2017, is an example.


Mashal Khan was killed because he was outspoken about the university’s bad policies and corrupt administration. The administration used religious extremism against Mishal Khan to incite students and other people who tortured and shot him. Tragically, the mob continued to attack his body even after his death. Although Mashal Khan got justice last month when the court sentenced the accused to life imprisonment, yet his family is still in danger of being attacked and killed by extremists. The state is not able to stem the flow of extremist ideas which are prevalent among the people of Pakistan. The reason of its failure is very clear. Many politicians and religious leaders are using blasphemy to protect their own partisan interests by fomenting religious extremism and hatred among the people.


In another case, a Christian woman suffered a lot due to religious extremism. She, finally, has received justice from the Apex Court almost after 10 years. But, she and her family members’ lives are still in jeopardy. Due to extremist views and manipulation of religious sentiments by some politicians and religious leaders, religious minorities are also not feeling safe in the society. With the help of Mullahas, many feudal lords are committing heinous crimes against Hindu community in Sindh.   There are many cases of abduction, forced religious conversion and marriages of the Hindu girls in Sindh.


According to Human Rights activists, “Hindu to Muslim conversions in Sindh seem to be exclusively underage girls or women of marriageable age who disappear and later emerge to reveal they had eloped with Muslim men and converted to Islam freely. The fact that there are hardly any Hindu men or older women who convert to Islam reveals the grim reality behind this facade. Quite often, the women or girls also seem to belong to poor scheduled class families while their new Muslim families are powerful and influential. These incidents are also shockingly frequent. At least 25 forced conversions of Hindu girls and women and marriages take place every month in Umerkot’s Kunri and Samaro talukas alone”.


This is very shocking situation. Due to this fear and bad situation, many Hindu families are leaving Pakistan and settling in India. It is the duty of the government and state to protect its minorities.


It shows that not only the government has utterly failed to protect its minorities, but also some people are misusing the Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan that guarantees freedom of religion to every citizen.


It is the duty of Imran Khan’s PTI government to solve all the problems which religious minorities are facing in Pakistan. The government should introduce revolutionary and scientific reforms in educational system. No country can make progress and get rid of extremism with three different, Madrassa, Urdu and English medium, educational systems. Pakistan needs one system of education. The government should also implement the National Action Plan (NAP) with an iron hand, if it wants to transform the society’s mindset and crush extremism.


On the other hand, of child abuse is also increasing in society. According to an NGO “cases of child abuse rose by 11 percent in 2018. Over ten cases of abuse were reported every day last year, with a total of 3,832 child abuse cases being reported across the country from all four provinces as well as Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. In comparison 3,445 cases were reported in 2017… 55 percent of the victims in the 3,832 cases were girls and 45 percent boys. Girls were most vulnerable from the ages of 5 and 16 to 18, while boys were most likely to be abused at the ages of 6 to 10 and 11 to 15 years.”


The report not only sheds light on the helplessness of the children but also speaks volumes about the Pakistani peoples’ moral bankruptcy. The state should take every possible step to curb thies menace. No nation can make progress without its healthy children. The government should come up with legislation on this pressing issue. Harsher punishment should be given to abusers. There must be a public dialogue on the issue. The power of the media can be used in initiating the dialogue and spreading awareness among the people. Children should be educated about the issue in schools. But if Imran Khan and his PTI government fail in solving these pressing problems, then his dream of an Islamic welfare state will be shattered.