How We Enable ‘Mob Mentality’
Recently a video was shared which showed Mr Junaid Jamshed being attacked by a few bearded men at Islamabad International Airport. Although personally I am not a fan of Mr Jamshed and I remain non-committal about the attack, I do understand as a lawyer that it was a breach of a person’s basic right. It is my opinion that the clerics, the public, the legal system and the government is mostly to blame for allowing such a situation to arise.
The fact remains that our state is ruled mostly by theories completely reliant on a political ideology that is fully dedicated to inculcate a culture of hatred and bigotry. We groom our public to hate from a very early stage; from the time they first start going to school.
The books that are actually selected by the government, teach the young and innocent to hate a number of individuals. There are references of non-Muslims being “enemies of Islam” and Hindus are shown to be “extremists”. This creates an atmosphere that just falls short of encouraging racism and extremism and it is not unsurprising that most demonstrators at violent protests are young men who have been freshly brainwashed.
When these children who have been systematically taught to hate the “others” move on to positions in our law enforcement agencies à la Mumtaz Qadri who was a member of the Elite Force of Punjab Police especially hired to protect the one he killed. They are also a part of our judiciary which seems to me a sad and tragic irony. Indeed the late Mumtaz Qadri’s legal team was numbered at 90 strong in Islamabad High Court in 2105; he was even reported to be showered with rose petals by the aforementioned royals and on his execution quite a few members of the bar observed a strike.
Pakistan’s political parties have also add fuel to the fire. It is widely thought that religious political parties, like Jamat-e-Islami among other parties, have been sympathetic towards extremists and their ideology. This party has a long and almost admirable dedication to coloring everything in terms of Islam and exert Islamic identities in the realm of the political landscape of Pakistan. Parties which other countries have found to be supportive of extremism and consequently banned in said countries are allowed to breed in Pakistan and push their fanatical viewpoint through funding of various projects. Other parties, which are not based on a religious ideology, nevertheless also try to do their part by giving fiery speeches and sermons meant to rally the jialas into action. Sometimes these statements lead to long marches and protests which are a hazard and a pain for all. People are made to think that unless they take to the streets and protest, they will not be heard. This is why we are suscept to being so regularly hijacked by ‘strikes’ and ‘protests’ from one faction of the community to the another almost regularly.
Lastly, with due respect to all clerics, the blame lies with them as well. As we have learned from experience, maulanas and their likes cannot be trusted completely. Forgive me for generalizing but it seems that perhaps the majority of the maulanas in our midst have been responsible for calling people to action in the name of Islam. Regardless of this fact these Maulanas have been given full autonomy to operate madrassas to incite hatred and create differences between the masses. Time and again these madrassas are found to be hotbeds of brainwashing and propagating extremism yet our government has failed to take any interest in their regulation. It seems our government is just too powerless in front of extremist sentiment as can be seen by the fact that people like Maulana Abdul Aziz are allowed to roam free in our country to wreak havoc yet again. Additionally, I have also mentioned in a previous article that the very law of blasphemy is highly misused and misunderstood in Pakistan. The first and most logical step seems to me to introduce an amendment to the law so that it can no longer allow miscarriages of justice to occur in our society.
The youths who attacked Mr Jamshed are thought to be the same ones who arrived in Islamabad for the chehlum of Mumtaz Qadri and they went on to protest violently in Islamabad’s Red Zone. These people proved that given half the chance they will not hesitate to act like Mumtaz Qadri. It is the mindset of these people that needs to be changed so that even bigots like Mr Jamshed are given the chance to enjoy their basic human rights.
 ‘‘Pakistan Schools Teach Hindu Hatred’’ (Dawn.com, 2011) http://www.dawn.com/news/672000/pakistan-schools-teach-hindu-hatred
 Amélie Blom, ‘He 2006 Anti-‘Danish Cartoons’ Riot In Lahore: Outrage And The Emotional Landscape Of Pakistani Politics’  South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal.
 ‘Who Were Salmaan Taseer And Mumtaz Qadri? | The News Station’ (The News Station, 2016) http://thenewsstation.com/2016/02/29/who-were-salmaan-taseer-and-mumtaz-qadri/
 Robert Mackey, ‘Pakistani Lawyers Shower Murder Suspect With Roses’ (The Lede, 2016) http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/pakistani-lawyers-shower-murder-suspect-with-roses/?_r=0
 ‘Azadi March’ (The Nation, 2016) http://nation.com.pk/editorials/13-Jul-2014/azadi-march
 ‘Pakistan’s Education System And Links To Extremism’ (Council on Foreign Relations, 2016) http://www.cfr.org/pakistan/pakistans-education-system-links-extremism/p20364
 See ‘(Un)Just Rewards’ (Newsweek Pakistan, 2016) http://newsweekpakistan.com/unjust-rewards/ Also see More Ali, ‘The Airport Assault Should Give Junaid Jamshed Cause For Introspection As Fault-Lines Grow Within Sunni Islam’ (The Nation, 2016) http://nation.com.pk/blogs/27-Mar-2016/the-assault-should-give-junaid-jamshed-cause-for-introspection-as-fault-lines-grow-within-sunni
Asad M, ‘Mumtaz Qadri’S Legal Team Outnumbers Police Presence At IHC’ (Dawn.com, 2015) http://www.dawn.com/news/1159926
‘JI Affiliate Branded Extremism-Promoter By UK Government UKIM Shocked Over Assertion About Violent Extremism Links’ (Thenews.com.pk, 2016) http://www.thenews.com.pk/print/83305-JI-affiliate-branded-extremism-promoter-by-UK-government-UKIM-shocked-over-assertion-about-violent-extremism-links
Mohsin A, ‘Is The Pakistani Law On Blasphemy An Affront To The Islamic And Pakistani Justice System?’ (Courtingthelaw.com, 2016) http://courtingthelaw.com/2015/09/17/commentary/is-the-pakistani-law-on-blasphemy-an-affront-to-the-islamic-and-pakistani-justice-system-2/
Rana M, ‘Political Extremism’ (Dawn.com, 2012) http://www.dawn.com/news/708783/political-extremism
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