LAHORE: How much is too much? And who decides this? For Pakistan this thin line has been blurring out as intolerance breathes the air, polluting the lungs of the society. And the recent clash between a motorcyclist and an organiser of an iftar party in Rawalpindi, leading to the death of a man, provides much evidence.
An iftar party was organised by a trade union and iftar items were being served when a motorcyclist ran over the prayer rugs. One of the organisers got into a feud with the motorcyclist but the situation was calmed down by the intervention of others present at the venue. However, the motorcyclist returned with 20 men equipped with rods and clubs, and took out his pistol and fired a bullet into the air which killed a man.
The time, feud over the thing and the event of the incident is ironic, Ramazan, prayer rug and iftar party. Even the holy month cannot help curb the rising intolerance in the country. In fact, it often seems like that such heinous acts of crime have become a routine affair during Ramazan every year. Last year, an elderly Hindu man was brutally beaten for eating in public.
To say Pakistanis should practise self-restraint, in maintaining the true essence of the holy month, is like asking a fish to fly. As the nation gets older with its 70th year of independence, the intolerance level also seems to be rising. Be it Mashal Khan’s lynching that shook our collective conscience or the murder of Shahzeb Khan that sparked a countrywide outrage six years ago, nothing has brought effective actions into place to help defend the spirit of our constitution which maintains security of person and basic human rights to all.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2017.