Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another killed, many silenced!

Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti was gunned down Wednesday exactly two months after Punjab Governor Salam Taseer was shot dead by his own security guard in the same capital city of Islamabad--and for the same reason. Another was killed in the name of religion; many others were silenced.
Like Mr. Taseer, Mr. Bhatti, the only Christian minister in Pakistan, had called for the repeal of draconian blasphemy law that has been haunting the already cornered religious minorities in Pakistan. It has become irrelevant whether the Taliban or their ilks under different names claim or not responsibility for such high-profile killings.
The state of Pakistan is on the back foot and religious fanaticism in the ascendancy. When states become ideological, the very ideology starts eating into its vitals. States embrace constitutions, not religions. When states own a particular religion, it becomes intolerant for many others. Some of the denizens become citizens, others mere subjects; just like majority, minority; Muslims, non-Muslims--and finally we versus them.
Just like 'national culture' is politically constructed, 'national religion' is also a political construct. Religious belief is an extremely personal matter; it is a link between the believer and the Divine. States and their citizens have a social contract between them, and states are responsible to live up to that contract.
Pakistan, as a state, rescinded its contract with its citizens the day Objectives Resolution was made part of the constitution. That day Pakistan decided to deal with its people not as equal citizens, but on the basis of their religion. One religion and their followers are too many for the state than the many religions and their followers.
I earlier in these lines said religious fanaticism is in the ascendancy. I take back my words. The state itself has become fanatic while its citizens are on the back foot. I don't know whether this is ascendancy or descendancy for the state that people are killed in the name of its religion?
With every murder in the name of blasphemy Asiya Bibi and her children must be having shudders down their spine. Every bullet that has been fired at those who raised their voice in her defense may have pierced their soul too. They may have felt the heat of the bullet. As the land of the pure is shrinking for non-Muslim citizens, the Christians and others like them must be feeling a constriction in their chests. One dies once in life; they die every day. But who cares?

No comments:

Post a Comment