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Monday, 11 March 2013

Badami Bagh tragedy LAHORE:

Badami Bagh tragedy LAHORE: 

Saeed Chaudhry - LAHORE: 
The Badami Bagh carnage is yet another shameful tragedy that Punjab has witnessed. This is the latest in a series of such tragedies targeting our Christian compatriots and has regrettably happened under the watch of the all-powerful chief minister of Punjab.
Whatever the reason, it seems that protecting the rights of minorities has not been one of his top priorities. Had he dealt with this a few years earlier, even with half of the vitality he has so ably displayed in completing the Metro Bus project in Lahore, the Badami Bagh tragedy could have been averted.
Mohsin Raza Malik - The incident that took place in Joseph Colony, Lahore, is another manifestation of the the utter failure of the state to protect the rights of minorities guaranteed by both Islam and the constitution of the country. No moral, religious or legal code in the world allows such arbitrary acts of violence against any individual. This obviously was a mischievous activity that could have been averted through effective and sufficient security arrangements provided by the local police.
Islam strives for the establishment of a pluralistic, pacific, egalitarian and tolerant society discouraging and prohibiting all forms and manifestations of violence, extremism and bigotry. Such incidents not only bring a bad name to the country but also distort the true spirit and the real image of Islam. As there already is a blasphemy law in the country, individuals should not be allowed to take the law into their own hands by persecuting minorities.
The Punjab government, as usual, has reacted by resorting to traditional and routine measures like condemning the incident, announcing compensation for the victims and ordering an inquiry by a commission. The Punjab Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah, has vowed on behalf of the Punjab government to rebuild the burnt houses with the best construction materials. The damaged houses may be repaired but the injured sentiments of the victims and the negative image of the country conveyed worldwide is beyond repair.
A few kilometres from the place in Lahore where in 1940, the Muslim League demanded partition of British India to create a homeland for minority Muslims, a charged mob of thousands of people chased out local Christians from their homes and later looted and burned their homes to ash. Is history repeating itself? Should the minorities in today’s Pakistan demand a separate homeland for themselves? Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took immediate notice of the incident and set up a five-member committee to look into the matter. He also announced that no one would be permitted to destroy religious harmony in Punjab. While appreciating his noble statements, may I ask Mr Sharif whether the miscreants will require his permission to harm the minorities in his province? We understand that he was forced to issue such a statement as we are now in an election year; otherwise, what happened in Lahore is no different from the ugly events in Gojra in 2009.
I would like to ask the chief minister how many miscreants, as he likes to call them, were charged and put behind bars for looting and murdering Christians in Gojra. Where was he when another mob of fanatics, in November of last year, attacked and burned down a girls’ school in Lahore? The school’s 77-year-old principal was booked in a blasphemy row over a piece of homework issued by a teacher. Has the chief minister taken any action against the mob that lynched and burnt alive a deranged person for alleged blasphemy? What about action against the killers of 80-year-old Iqbal Butt, who was acquitted by court in a blasphemy case?
Who will trust Mr Sharif while there are people in his province who are working overtime to ‘purify’ the country — to make it literally, the land of the pure — and he does nothing about it.