Nothing is sacred anymore


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The attack on Data Darbar has left Pakistanis shocked. It is not because of a high death toll or the magnitude of the assault — we have seen much worse over the past decade — but due to the site itself. Data Darbar or the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Syed Ali bin Usman Hajveri is the country’s most popular and best renowned. It attracts a massive amount of people everyday from all strata of society. One of my first thoughts on hearing of the suicide explosions that left around 40 dead was that nothing is sacred anymore, and I have seen this thought resound. The Darbar is a landmark in Lahore. More importantly, it is a symbol of a side of Islam that is dear to Pakistanis, especially in these times. It is the liberal peace-loving religion of the Sufis, the mystics and indeed, generations of the subcontinent. This Islam that many believe to be the true aspect of the religion has been and is under threat by the pervasive, rigid Wahabi Islam, funded by the Saudis and used by certain political parties for their gain at the expense of this country and nation.

Subsequent to the three-pronged suicide blasts, there has been much talk of the laxity of security. The authorities had information that an attack could take place in Lahore, and they failed to protect the area. Please repeat that phrase to yourself and listen to it carefully. How could the authorities possibly have prepared for an attack that could have targeted anyone, anywhere? Would you turn the entire place into a garrison city with check posts at every corner? And do we not know from experience that no matter how heavily guarded a building might be, they, the terrorists, manage to penetrate? If they could have gotten through the security of the General Headquarters, the supposedly impenetrable GHQ, the very bastion of security in this country, then what is a shrine that sees hundreds of people pass its doors on an ordinary day?

The answer to our problem is not to increase security, and to have more goons sitting around harassing us, the citizens. The solution is not to place cameras on every street corner with a sign that could have materialised from the most terrifying scenario of a science fiction movie or book: You are being watched. I don’t know about you but I remember a world without Big Brother watching all of us always.

The answer is for the state to give up the ghost of the good Taliban and bad Taliban. There is no such thing. The organisations that have spread this kind of violence in the country have never had any serious action taken against them. Parties such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Sipah-e-Sahaba, and countless others that we call ‘banned’ or ‘outlawed’ keep changing their names, but continue to flourish. Their benefactors both within Pakistan and without persist in financially and morally empowering them. They keep hoping that the creation of these monsters will bear fruit. The state must realise that the very root of the tree is rotten, and all it can bear is poison for the people of Pakistan.

A version of this post was first published in the Express Tribune Opinion pages

10 Responses to “Nothing is sacred anymore”

  1. Nothing is sacred any more. We are sailing in a sea of blood, death, and prejudice. Our land has become an ugly vulture’s death well. Our heart’s an empty, shallow place where only doubts and ugliness reside. My heart’s wail on my blog.

  2. Bujh Rahein Hain Chiragh Dair-o-Haram
    Dil Jalao Ke Roshni Kam Hai.

    (Temple and mosque lamps are going out
    Let the heart burn to eschew darkness)

    – Sahab Qizilbash (1930-2004)

  3. A very timely written article. We need to remove our misunderstanding of good Taliban or Bad Taliban. We have to be very conscious of different approaches towards Islam. Its said that there r two versions of Islam in the present world. Egyptian and Saudi. We, in Pakistan, need to have a balanced view and should not get carried away with the peer pressure. I hope if u have time u can have a look at what I wrote here :

  4. 4 Zohaib Uddin Khan

    I personally feel the root causes of such kind of activities are primarily based upon the INJUSTICE in the society. Frankly speaking, I’m not asking for the ‘Azad Aadlia’ nor denying its significance, but Justice on every scale. We all have our hands dirty in this game. How….? If I have the power to cross the Red signal, I’m doing this and if anyone else have any such kind of power, he is doing that. So, we all need to do our best effort to maintain justice and merit. And best place to start with is from myself. Just two cents!

  5. 5 Nawaz

    The day the first bomb went off in a mosque, it was expected that nothing would stand in the way of these terrorists. If they being the so-called Muslims and defenders of Islam cannot respect and hold sacred the very element they claim to defend, you can tell what they really are.

    I had a very sharp reaction to the unfortunate event at Data Darbar, not saying that I didn’t when they blow up people at mosques or any place at all for that matter. But frankly, now I have lost my patience, and I foresee that everyone will lose it very quickly….

  6. They are now attacking as well also on the excuse of grave worship. Why can’t they understand the principle of each to its own. Can’t they see their love and surely they’re blind.

  7. 7 Nida

    Good piece but some add on’s are necessary firstly you forgot to mention the big daddy of terrorist outfits aka Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. This tafreeki, wahabi outfit legitimatize the extermination of all form of Islam that they do not promulgate. Whereas the truth is it these very wahabi beliefs are the ones that are maligning Islam today in the eyes of the world. Hence it is the enemies of Islam that promote the wahabi ideology. In doing so they weaken the ranks of Muslims from within, cause internal strife, as well as succeed in tarnishing the image of Islam through the perverse beliefs of the wahabis. The wahabi fanatical views have nothing to do with true Islam whether it be Berhailvis or other denominations.
    However there many within the system that are subservient to the Saudi lobby, Iftikhar Chaudry is one example. He canvassed upon the release of missing “persons” or missing “terrorists” that Musharraf had rightly locked away and when he himself came in power could do nothing. The intelligence chief that he was going to call to be accountable is our Gen Ashfaq Kiani and it is this very intelligence that provided the basis of the reference against Mr CJ by Musharraf. Pakistani Nation has been dupped by the Saudi Lobby

  8. I think Cameron should have thought for a second before commenting on Pakistan exporting terrorism. Or at least he should have checked the past few years of how Pakistan as an ally has been hit. It is just ugly and painful.

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