#KarachiBusAttack: Forget free speech, where is our right to life?

“We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle, that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State …

You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

– Muhammad Ali Jinnah, one of Pakistan’s Founding Father and Pakistan’s first Governor-General
Address at the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, August 11, 1947

Members of Hyderabad union of journalist light candles during vigil for the 48 people killed in a bus attack in Karachi's Ismaili community. (Image via Demotix)
Members of Hyderabad union of journalist light candles during vigil for the 48 people killed in a bus attack in Karachi’s Ismaili community. (Image via Demotix)

recent survey showed that Pakistan was amongst the least racist countries in the world. Certain people celebrated this whereas others used this as an excuse to taunt our Indian counterparts. Today, the results of this ‘survey’ are now null and void – 43 people from the Ismaili community were killed in a bus attack today.

Eight armed motorcyclists, some of who were disguised at security officials, boarded the bus and opened fire on the passengers. The bus only had Ismaili passengers on-board, which clearly indicates the intent with which this attack took place.

Events like these mean nothing more than a day of mourning and people going back to their regular lives the day after. Pakistan has completely failed in protecting one of the most peaceful and sacrificing religious minorities of the country. There is no longer any room for error. No Ismaili has ever been involved in politics or crimes in Karachi yet they are being targeted for a war they are not even a part of. Their only crime, perhaps, is peacefully following their belief.

The social implications of such an incident are disastrous. Either the Ismailis will become extremely enraged and will want to take matters into their own hands, leading to reactions that we do not want to see happening, or they will lose whatever little trust they have in the government’s ability to protect them. People already feel insecure within the boundaries of their homes; this is now doing nothing but destroying their confidence in humanity, peace and the government.

The sky is red again and dead is the conscience of our leaders. This attack only goes to show that we are now a ‘failed state’. The basic principles upon which Pakistan was made are now not only being neglected but also rejected. Let me remind us about Jinnah’s first speech as the Governor General:

“We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle, that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State… You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

… Have we honestly learnt nothing from the Peshawar massacre? Have we forgotten how mothers of the victims were left to die from within? How could our intelligence agencies, police and government bodies let this happen again?

… We talk about right of free speech but now is the time to discuss the right to live. Not only must the criminals be brought to the courts of justice but the government, police and intelligence must be held accountable for this. They take oaths to serve us, not rule us; lead us not enslave us; protect us, not sell us. They must be taught a lesson for it is not only the enemies’ inhumanity but their incompetence that we end up paying with our lives for.

Pakistan was made by a Shia – Jinnah was a Shia – and yet we cannot protect those who have given their lives for us? If this is where Pakistan is headed? There is not a rough road ahead, it is no road at all.

By Sabeet Raza
A student of Aitchison College who is determined to change how people pessimistically view the society. Founder of the Religion Humanity Initiative, he blogs at amplifyyourvoice.org for women rights. He is an avid reader and quite fond of romance and comedy. He tweets as @SabeetRaza (twitter.com/sabeetraza)

Via The Express Tribune | Blogs | #KarachiBusAttack: Forget free speech, where is our right to life?

Image via Demotix – The home of World-Leading Photojournalism | Journalists lights candles for 48 killed in bus attack in Karachi

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