Balochistan’s Christchurch

My Editorial for Balochistan Times on 26th of May, 2019

A mosque was attacked in New Zealand’s Christchurch Town during Friday prayer. Condemnations poured in from all across the world and the response of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was historic to the grieving survivors and their families. She sobbed with mourners, hugged the aggrieved, apologized for state’s failure to protect their religious places and made them believed that they were no one else but an integral part of New Zealand society by uttering historic words. “You are us.” Jacinda came up with historic decisions; modified the weapon laws within a week, defeated racist narrative through her character and took the culprit to the task within no time.

Similarly, a mosque was attacked when the Muslims had gathered for Friday prayer in Pashtunabad town of Quetta, Balochistan. It was the holy month of Ramazan: the month of peace and harmony! People lost their loved ones and many bore wounds, physical and psychological, to live with for rest of life. The rulers only took the tweeter and other social media apps as the custom prevails among elite. Nobody from the top brass visited the mosque victims, nobody hugged them, nobody sobbed with them, nobody got them into false illusion that, “You are us,”. Even the world remained silent on the death and massacre of ‘the children of a lesser God’. No tweets from Trump, Tayyip Erdogan, Theresa May or any other world leader. If one dare ask why? The answer is that brutal and sudden death has become new normal in Balochistan where misery and pain of inhabitants of this hapless land moves the least even the rulers of its own country.

3 lost their lives and 27 were injured. Same condemnation reports, expression of grief and anger over the attack from the ruling elite poured in soon after the attack. But what for the victims and survivors? The dent in their happy lives can never be recovered.

What purpose is achieved through attacking innocent masses who had gathered for offering prayers is beyond comprehension. And attack by groups supposedly fighting for supremacy of Islamic faith and its establishment even makes it further incomprehensible. Their modus operandi is in sheer contrast with the war laws of Islamic faith where mercy on civilian population, unarmed and neutral groups is a part of faith. This is sheer sadism expressed in such brutal acts of violence through some obscure political ideology gains.

For the security of the masses, government’s claims of installing cameras, making check-points, banning pillion riding, placing scanners, if possible outside all religious institutions so and so forth have proved futile. The narrative of takfeeriat, declaring other sects and groups as non-believers and hence creating a justification of their massacre, was sown, perhaps deliberately or unconsciously, through nurturing radical groups and using them as instrument of foreign policy. State’s commitment to counter-narrative strategies in the form of National Action Plan (NAP) also included introducing a counter-narrative. Four years down since the introduction of NAP, no counter-narrative against radicalism is so strong to defeat it and even no tangible arrangements are conspicuously seen to make a strong counter-narrative case against an obscurantist ideology of sadism that is on rampage so ruthlessly in Balochistan.

Such incident unfortunately shall not abate unless a serious response is witnessed from corridors of powers through a multi-pronged strategy to defeat obscurantism.

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