Islamist Terror in Pakistan and Religious Minorities

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Nasir Khan, September 22, 2013

Yet another dastardly mass slaughter of 78 Pakistani Christians at the hands of Islamist criminals has shaken many of us. But this abominable crime is  not an isolated episode; it repeats a familiar pattern within Pakistan where Islamist suicide bombers target religious minorities.

Today they chose Christians and perpetrated one of the worst mass killings of these poor, marginalised and discriminated people within the so-called ‘Islamic’ (!!) Republic of Pakistan. The bombers struck when the worshippers went out of the church to get a free meal of rice. Had the bombers chosen the congregation within the church, the death toll could have been in hundreds.

Such killings and rampant violence against others such as Shias, Ahmadis, and also some Left-wing political activists, have been going on unabated for a long time in Pakistan. It is no secret that the people behind these actions are mostly religious extremists and fanatic rogues. However, we should bear in mind that the Christians of Pakistan fall in a special category. In a caste-ridden society that prevails Pakistan, they have been at the lowest level of social ladder. Most of them are discriminated and seen as a people with ‘low social status’. Traditionally, the jobs they have done for generations have been cleaning, sweeping and other menial jobs.

Today’s barbarous crime is a major tragedy for all those people in and outside Pakistan with a human conscience who want to see an end to such bestial actions and have respect towards all human beings  and security of human life in this country. We side with our Christian fellow citizens at this time and condemn what the criminals have done. But the real danger is that such crimes will be committed again. Such inhuman crimes have become so common in Pakistan that people take them as a matter of routine and say such was the ‘Will of God’.

After every such crime, political leaders and government officials offer a ritualistic condemnation and express their sadness but no concrete actions are taken to address the root cause of the Islamist terrorism in Pakistan. Unless there is a clear policy how to deal with this threat on a long-term basis leading to a general mobilisation to cope with the Islamist threat that is destroying the social fabric of this unfortunate country, nothing is going to change. Sadly, our anger and grief will not change the facts on the ground. Because the Islamist rogues are free to strike whenever they want or whoever they choose as their next target.

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