Without needing much confirmation the nation already knew that the blasphemy accusation in Ghotki, and the vandalism that followed, was a manufactured and politically opportunistic power play. The area has been a hotbed for radical petty politicians, who have used provocation against the resident Hindu community to divide and polarize the locals, and gather power in the process.

Now a fact-finding delegation formed by the federal Ministry of Human Rights has completed its mission and has come to the same conclusions. Its findings mince no words, according to the probe team “the attacks on temples and riots were pre-meditated, politically motivated and had tacit political support”. The report also says that the police showed reluctance to file and FIR, and “did not take into account the fact that attacks were planned and a few influential persons were involved in crimes.”

This is a damning indictment, and from an authority that is unbiased and has no stakes in the locality. Now that the Human Rights Ministry has itself confirmed the nefarious designs behind the Ghotki riots, it is time that the government takes swift and unyielding action. Those responsible for inciting violence for political purposes – and more importantly – misusing the blasphemy law for their own benefit must be exposed before the nations and severely punished. There is no excuse left for government inaction anymore. These same groups have been behind forceful conversions of Hindu girls, the same groups have been behind incidents of communal violence; it is time to rip out this corrupting weed out of Sindh, root and stem. The need to swiftly act becomes all the more exigent once we consider that not only Ghotki is at stake. With Pakistan doing all it can to highlight Indian atrocities against religious minorities abroad, it becomes extremely difficult to make a believable case when incidents such as the temple desecration are taking place back home. In fact most Indian state aligned news networks picked up on the Ghotki story and used it to paint Pakistan as insincere.

Yet where communal violence happens in India with the tacit approval of the ruling party and the state, in Pakistan it is being done by these isolated groups, and by acting against them not only can we set our country down the path of tolerance in contrast to our neighbor, but also ensure that our advocacy for minority rights is strengthened.

The Sindh government, as well as the federal government is expected to arrest and charge the people involved – anything less would be us being complicit.