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Rise of extremism in Sindh

March 23, 2014

Phalgun Krushna Paksha Saptami, Kaliyug Varsha 5115

The wave of extremism in the country continues to be on the rise rise and has even engulfed Sindh which was once considered a bastion of Sufism and moderate Islam. Unlike the Punjab which saw widespread riots in1947, Sindh remained calm and there was only a marginal transfer of population from the urban areas. An incident of violence in Karachi instigated by some of the refugees coming from India drew strong reaction from Jinnah who told them ‘not (to) abuse the hospitality that has been extended to them.’ Jinnah ordered Sindh government to take ‘the severest possible measures’ against the offenders and ‘deal with them sternly and ruthlessly’.

The Pak-India wars, and a stream of refugees from Indian regions with a history of Hindu Muslim rioting exacerbated tensions between communities. Extremist tendencies also received a boost from school text books prepared in the Zia period which falsified history, preached hatred against non-Muslims and inculcated extremist thinking. The mushrooming of Salafi madrassas to train the jihadis further contributed to the spread of extremism and religious bigotry in Sindh .

Incidents of violence on the part of the extremists, unheard of in the past, are becoming too common in Sindh. During the last several months numerous devotees have been killed inside shrines in Karachi and interior Sindh. In November last year a cleric died while 15 people were injured in a sectarian clash in Shahdadkot. Terrorists fired by Salafi propaganda have bombed religious rallies, shrines and spiritual personalities. During the last three years several complaints have emerged from the Hindu community regarding the abduction of their girls and their forced conversion. This in turn has led to migrations of several Hindu families to India. Last week a mob attacked a Hindu temple and burnt down a Dharamsala because a member of the community had allegedly set on fire pages of the Koran. The tendency in members of the majority community to launch indiscriminate reprisals instead of taking recourse to law has been tolerated too long by the governments not only in Sindh but also Punjab. Consequently there is an increase in lawlessness in the country.

It is time the politicians realize the dangers to the country’s integrity posed by extremist thinking. Nawaz Sharif has to realise that unless extremist tendencies are checked, the fight against terrorism is bound to fail. Extremist thinking is an unending source of supply of fresh recruits to the terrorist networks. It is imperative to take long and short term measures to discourage extremism and promote moderation. Among the short term measures is dealing with those involved in discriminate attacks sternly and ruthlessly, as Jinnah had ordered. The long term measures require a thorough de-radicalisation of the text books and keeping under watch the sources of funding for the madrassas.

Source : PT

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