Imagine a mob so ruthless, so violent, so remorseless that first, they kill an innocent man for tearing down a poster with religious text on it, then they burn the body in front of hundreds of people and several cameras because somehow their thirst for blood was not enough so now they had to humiliate a dead body. And then some of them had the audacity to take selfies with the burning body. All because he did something without even realising that he could be lynched to death for it.
Imagine that this man was a foreign national — a Sri Lankan — working as a factory manager in Sialkot, and whose wife heard about this most tragic incident from news and the internet. Imagine his wife’s shock and horror. Imagine the bereaved widow looking at those videos, those gruesome images, those murderers taking pride in killing her husband. Imagine her helplessness. Imagine that this man has two young children, nine and 14 respectively, who will have to live with this fact for the rest of their lives that their father was killed, nay lynched, by a frenzied mob in Pakistan.
Imagine that we live in a country where every other day is a ‘black day’, where every other incident is bone-chilling, where no one is safe, where so many horrors unfold that we move on from one terrifying incident to another and forget about the previous one. What have we become? How have we come to this point? Will our state introspect that our society has become so intolerant that it cannot even protect anyone? Will our state realise how extremism has permeated our society because it has been officially sanctioned through our policies? It is the responsibility of the state to protect the lives of every human being. The misuse of religion for political benefit, the misuse of religion for some vested interest, or allowing the misuse of religion for some external policy will eventually have consequences. And those are the consequences that we are facing every day. There are no words to express what this country is going through — those at the helm of the affairs have to now challenge this extremist ideology or the path ahead is very dark. And every second will then be dark and there will be no turning back. Let people live without fear. A society that has to look over its shoulders all the time cannot progress.