Pakistani Bloodshed: Another Stab in an Already Wounded Heart

Category: World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Pakistan Views: 740

Religious disputes are certainly some of the leading factors of social and political disturbances throughout the world, but to varying degrees. The ongoing bloodshed caused by internal violence in Pakistan however, is a phenomenon that can neither be overlooked nor viewed in the same scope as other religious conflicts.

The unjustifiable violence between Sunni and Shiite has reached a very alarming level that could place the whole country on the edge of civil war, a thing that neither Pakistan nor the Muslim world needs.

In early October of this year, over 20 people were killed in terrorist acts from both sides that can hardly be explained as sincere religious behavior. These actions can only be viewed as a radical and misinterpretations of religious teachings.

Although peaceful relations exist between the country's 140 million Sunnis and their Shiite brothers and sisters, several groups from both sides are jeopardizing and threatening this relationship through their persistent refusal to approve of such peace.

On October 1st, in a southern Karachi mosque, nine people were killed as they knelt for prayer and dozens were injured. The killings occurred after several masked gunmen stormed the mosque with automatic rifles and opened random fire at everyone present, including children.

In the meantime, while the masked men were fleeing the mosque, 3 more violent acts were being conducted in the eastern Punjab province, where five people were murdered and many others injured, including a 10-year-old boy.

An act of retaliation to the mosque massacre, also in Karachi, took place a few hours later. Four young students were killed in the street as they left their school. The students, all in their 20s, were killed, according to reports, for their religious beliefs.

In recent years hundreds of Pakistani Muslims have fallen victim to similar terrorist acts that have no regard for human life or true Islamic values. Innocents from both sides have been targeted and savagely slaughtered for no fault of their own, simply for being Sunni or Shiite.

Although the Pakistani government has been actively searching for suspects, no related arrests have yet been recorded. The official Pakistani position was summed up in a statement made by Punjab Provincial Law Minister, Raja Elahi who said, "Evil forces are active to destabilize the democratic forces in this country."

Even though most Pakistanis reject such an approach while confronting their differences, these acts are expected to ignite hatred and feelings of vengeance among the people.

Ideological differences must be an opportunity for Muslims to dialogue in an attempt to solve them patiently and wisely. It is crucial to learn to live with these differences, and accept one another without violently trying to impose change.

The bullets fired at any of the two sides eventually struck the other side's heart. Both sides consequently pay the hefty price of violence, not only because retaliation is imminent and counter terrorism will find other innocents to gun down, but because the whole nation feels the pain of these tragedies.

Violence in Pakistan follows the same pattern of a vicious cycle in which killings inspire and promote new killings until devastation is brought about. In most of these cases, innocent Pakistanis from both sides are the ones who fall dead, sometimes without even knowing why.

While some Shiite and Sunni movements view one another as the wrong version of Islam, the West sees them all through the same narrow-minded scope as "Muslims who are killing each other." "Killing each other" is not something that Islam ever preached, and both sides must realize that they are simply categorized as "Muslims."

The vicious cycle of blood and violence must be stopped, not by increasing the number of victims so that the other side hesitates to commit further atrocities, but by a reconciliation process conducted by the wise and faithful from the two sides. The government as well must play a larger role, by establishing a consistent plan, which tries to encourage both sides to adopt honest and open dialogue, rather than bullets as a way to reach comprehensible solutions.

  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Pakistan
Views: 740

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