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Pak's faith-driven violence: Anger but no correctives
Pak's faith-driven violence: Anger but no correctives

New Delhi, Dec 11 (TIWN) "Religious violence spawned by allegations of blasphemy has taken on a life of its own, destroying the fabric of society slowly but surely," Pakistans Dawn newspaper said in an editorial.

A commentary in the same newspaper tersely declares that this is "just a trailer" of things to come in future with the state – both military and civilian (politicians and bureaucracy) caving in to pressures from religious zealots, some of which they have themselves nurtured and/or condoned as "state assets".  While successive governments have been responsible, the efforts of the Imran Khan government to buy peace with two Tehreeks -- the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) -- both of whom justify violence in the name of faith, coupled with the rise of the Taliban in neighbouring Pakistan with Islamabad's tacit support, has heightened the concerns as never before.  TLP slogans were raised by its activists among the scores of factory who last week lynched a Sri Lankan manager, Priyantha Kumar, at a Sialkot factory. His body was burnt as thousands watched and some even filmed, causing nationwide anger reactions abroad and diplomatic issues with Colombo.  This comes as part of a trend of mobs punishing those who they suspect have insulted the Prophet or Islamic scriptures and symbols, violating the blasphemy law that prescribes death penalty. The British-era blasphemy laws, tightened during military dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq's era in 1980s, have set an alarming trend that has accelerated in the last decade, analysts say.  Among those killed was Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. His bodyguard, the killer, when hanged, has a memorial dedicated to him that is visited by many. Student Mashaal Khan was among he many lynched. Numerous others, especially those from religious minorities, have been targeted by mobs.  Kuamara, who ordered labels with Arabic writings removed from consignments meant for export, possibly without knowing what the writings said, was accused of blasphemy by the workers.  "While he (Imran Khan) tweeted his condemnation of the incident the prime minister has not said much about the threat of religious extremism," Columnist Zahid Hussein says, lamenting "weaponisation of faith", (Dawn, December 9).  To Khan who considers himself a global Muslim leader campaigning against Islamophobia in the West, Hussein has advised to look within Pakistan and "not look for reasons outside". Even among other Prime Ministers, he ought to take the liberal cue from his Sri Lankan and New Zealand counterparts.

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