Another blast shocked Pakistan last weekend. This time it was the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Iqbal Town, Lahore.
76 were killed and hundreds injured, mostly women and children.
It was Easter Sunday and the apparent target were Christians, mostly Muslims were killed in the explosion.
After the APS attack in Peshawar, we said ‘never again’ but nothing seems to stop these attacks from happening. What are we doing wrong?
Extremist groups were supported to fight in Afghanistan and India in the past and Pakistan is dealing with its repercussions.
The country is already in a state of war, with operation Zarb-e-Azb in progress, the fear instilled in the hearts of people never leaves
“Until all state support is stopped and playing favourites amongst extremist groups is ended, they won’t see any change,” Ahmed Rashid, veteran journalist and bestselling author, told DNA.
The country is already in a state of war, with operation Zarb-e-Azb in progress, the fear instilled in the hearts of people never leaves.
“As a nation, we have to be ready to face anything,” said Dr Mohammad Iqbal, SP Iqbal Town, while talking to DNA.
“We do not have any equipment capable of stopping a suicide bomber.” He thinks it is the mindset that needs to be fought. “Once a religious extremist is born we cannot stop him. We need madrassa reforms along with curtailing religious extremism”, he added.
Madrassa reforms were mandated in the National Action Plan in 2014 after the massacre at APS. Some unregistered madrassas were closed down under NAP. Some seminaries were declared suspicious and others were thought to be involved in illicit activities and the registration process was supposed to be completed by now.
Punjab completed mapping of only 13,782 seminaries in the province. Sindh and Balochistan completed only 60 per cent of the exercise, according to reports in January.
“After the Qadri protestors incident, I feel NAP has failed”, said Tahir Ashrafi, Chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council, while talking to DNA.
He is the view that people who conduct such barbaric acts of killing and display illiteracy by damaging state property shouldn’t be considered Muslims, let alone human beings.
Expressing grief over the Lahore blast and disgust at the Qadri protest, he said, “These acts fuel extremist support and should be banned by the government. Uneducated men are influenced by these acts, thinking that they are following the will of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)”.
The country needs another war but this time against such an extremist ideology, he added.
Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in Asia (55 per cent). It stands at the 160th position in the world.
“Lack of educational disciple and the unattended madrassa system, which gives out improper education by misinterpreting Islam, is certainly a reason for such causalities,” Ahmed Rashid said.
There is a need to improve the country’s security, so along with investment on various infrastructural projects, some more time and money needs to be invested in education, especially the curriculum needs revision.
Lack of educational disciple and the unattended madrassa system, which gives out improper education by misinterpreting Islam, is certainly a reason for such causalities
“More investment in education with a dedicated core of people willing to teach youngsters is needed. Their salaries should increase, which will increase professionalism. Being an educationist is something people should be proud. Sadly that’s not the case in Pakistan”, Rashid lamented.
Ashrafi, on the other hand, said social media, as well as mainstream media, play a large role in changing the youth’s mind. These platforms should be targeted by the government to make them hate extremism and go on the right path.