You can’t defend the Prophet (pbuh) by torching your own city!
Blasphemy is a sensitive subject, especially in Pakistan. A topic so sensitive that it can get governors killed after a cup of coffee, ministers shot after they drive out of their homes and 12-year-old children behind bars for ‘allegedly’ committing it.
Victims of blasphemy cases in Pakistan sign their death warrants. Why does it then come as a surprise to know that more than 15 people were killed and 219 wounded in protests across Pakistan yesterday?
Because this time, rampant damage was caused to property and life of people who had nothing to do with it.
Life and property belonging to the Muslims.
Calls for peaceful protests on Friday against the blasphemous film were rational. Muslims all over the world were already outraged at how it was made and released under the garb of freedom of expression. In Pakistan particularly, it brought together many liberals and extremists under one agenda; absolute condemnation of the film.
But how did we register our protest against an attack on the Holy Prophet (pbuh)?
It was done by setting fire to petrol pumps and cinemas, killing policemen and burning their vehicles to ashes. The protestors, oblivious to the hypocrisy of their act, even set ablaze a church.
In Karachi only, five cinemas now meagrely stand to narrate the tales of yesterday. One of them is the famous Bambino cinema for its link to Hakim Ali Zardari. Although there was now a plan to turn it into a shopping centre, Bambino was once often frequented by President Zardari and his friends.
Maybe he can feel its loss greater than anyone?
The stage for Friday was being set since a day before. I had an important meeting to attend on Thursday and hoping to reach the venue quicker, I made the unfortunate decision of using Murree Road, Rawalpindi.
Even at 11 am, rallies were being taken out by students of different schools and enthusiastic hands were busy painting US flags on the road. The traffic was, obviously, choked. I had to reschedule the meeting but what was observed in the traffic jam was utter helplessness on people’s faces.
Children and women were sitting in cars under the sweltering sun, while men tried to request the organisers to let them pass. Even an ambulance was stuck, and what looked out to people through its tinted windows were anguished eyes of a patient’s relative.
It is sad to see, that even on a day known as ‘Ishq-e-Rasool’, a violent display of mob mentality reigned supreme.
Yes, we’re angry. Yes, we’re hurt. Yes, we must protest!
But could it not have been a peaceful protest?
Milaads, conferences and seminars should have been organised to highlight and raise awareness about the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) impeccable character; his benevolent and forgiving nature.
Such opinions were echoing loud even on social media after Friday’s inflamed riots.
Haroon Shuaib updated his status;
“I would’ve preferred, if today, all the Muslims of the world had gotten together to recite darood together for an hour. Imagine! That would’ve been a world record for the rest of the times to come. That cheap, two bit, film devoid of any substance would’ve just looked like trash.”
Events are now also being organised with an aim to ‘show the world that ‘real’ Pakistanis don’t believe in violence’. People are being asked to bring cleaning utensils to places most affected by the violent protests and clean the debris left behind after the destruction. Requests are also being sent to offer mithai and garlands to the brave policemen who fought to honour their duty and country.
The Holy Prophet is an epitome of peace and forgiveness; an exemplary figure for all mankind. We are all well-versed with incidences from his life where he even forgave people who threw garbage on him.
It must be realised that such blasphemous content will continue to be published to incite hatred. But it is time for us to understand that self-destruction can never be the answer, just like it is time for the OIC to stand united and raise a unanimous voice that resonates within the international community.
Read more by Sabeer here.
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The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.