People opposing the beards that have caused havoc in the twin cities have urged that religion is strongly against anything that causes harm. Okay. Then, can the same religion actually be for killing someone in its name? The same people will not answer this question out of fear. Fear is what has allowed these clerics to handicap our lives in the first place.

I don’t understand faith that demands aloofness. Where, you are told not to think because then questions will arise that cannot be answered. Hence, the rationale to firm faith is staying oblivious and naïve? If not, why do people, in this case the many other clerics who are suffering the cold due to Khadim Hussain Rizvi, don’t think about the point of the protest? Why don’t they see that it was a mere clerical mistake and not a Jewish-Indian-Western conspiracy dedicated to annihilating the Ummah?

People I have spoken to insist that the lower cadre don’t know. That, they simply follow the pipers tune. Do they really? I object. I firmly believe that each one of them has come out after much contemplation and weighing in on their options. They’re rational beings who have decided that sitting there, in the cold, makes more sense than doing anything remotely constructive with their lives. They have decided to be foolhardy and in this decision, they remain steadfast. They are rational.

Just as Khadim Rizvi who insists that Qadri’s dead body got up to greet his father as he entered the ambulance from the morgue, but went back to sleep when policemen approached the car (maybe he was still afraid of the uniform; only the live-dead Qadri would know). Or, when Rizvi quotes in his sermons the smell and taste of the Prophet’s urine. Or, when he insists that Edhi deserves no praise and what he has done and that he spread ill in the society by taking care of illegitimate babies.

So, the hand-in-the-glove rationale is plainly wrong. These people think and then act based on what they deem is rational, important and justified. Just as everyone does. And it is, with this in mind, when a society requires the state to step in and put an end to this anarchy. A man is allowed to believe in his delusions so long as he does not enforce them on others. He is allowed to hold all opinions, so long as they are not imposed as ultimate truths. When coercion occurs, the law of the land has to step in and silence the bully. It is high time the State deals with the bullies.

Already the High Court has ordered the protestors to leave. Apparently, they have been given the last warning now. Force can and will be used against them if they don’t oblige with the orders. Fair enough. Some might die. As unfortunate as that maybe, the dead and their friends would be happy for the loss has been for a cause they hold dear. He will become a martyr and would be seen on posters when the fundamentalist parties take to roads to mainstream themselves in politics. The movement at large will have a hero and all, everything, would have been worth it.

The State needs to stop being passive. In fact, there needs to be a new word for this cowardly, hypocritical stance wherein they know that something is bad for the populace at large but they still let it happen because they either believe that in it themselves (even if they claim otherwise) or favoring it gives them political or personal advantages. It will only be fair to derive the term from the most famous practitioner of this rather foolish enterprise: Chaudry Nisar. Maybe the State needs to stop being Nisar-cissistic.

The State needs to grab the problem by the color and put an end to this before the whole country burns. No, this does not end with the dispersing of the crowds at Faizabad. It has to be a deeper, more targeted endeavor where individuals such as Khadim Rizvi are made to face the music. The leaders who voice the general narrative need to be apprehended and their shouts turned to whispers till they too quieten. While everyone is allowed to believe in what they want, no one can be allowed to preach murder or admire murderers. Why is this so difficult for the State and the Pakistani populace to understand. How can there be two opinions on this? How can this country continue, shamelessly so, to be Nisar-cissistic?

The writer is a Dissertation Researcher based in Finland. He conducts research on political, regional and societal changes with special focus on religious minorities in Europe.

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