“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do when it comes from religious convictions.” – Blaise Pascal.
It is not hard to foresee the future of a country with regards to religious extremism, which itself was created in the name of religion. Pakistan has had extremism infested in it since the beginning; a parasite that continues to plague the nation. As Noam Chomsky argues, masses are attracted to religious fundamentalism when they are depoliticised and kept away from taking part in public affairs.
This happens because psychologically, human nature has been structured to belong somewhere in order to gain recognition and a sense of participation. The very reason that the roots of TLP and TTP continue to proliferate is due to the mass depoliticization of the general population. The civil-military bureaucracy consciously lets this happen to keep the masses distracted and to use this group of fanatics, when needed, for their own political gains.
Noam Chomsky argues, masses are attracted to religious fundamentalism when they are depoliticised and kept away from taking part in public affairs.
In 2009, 59% of our population believed that the Al-Qaeda’s behaviour towards American citizens was justified. The major reason behind this mindset was the constant brainwashing and the lack of political consciousness among the Pakistani population after the 9/11 attacks. The phobia and hatred for western society and its depiction as an ultimate threat to Islam has been long used by the extremists for their propaganda.
Teenage boys are the most vulnerable as the fanatics use their insecurities and alienation to brainwash them into believing that suicide bombing and the fight against the enemies of Islam is their ultimate purpose of life which will eventually guarantee them everything that they could dream of in the afterlife. These operations are often carried out in isolated areas along the lines of Afghanistan or the mountains of Waziristan that lie between Sindh and Balochistan.
These operations of religious extremism end up hijacking the space of a progressive society with public participation in politics as the public is led to believe in no other source of redemption than ‘eradicating secularism’ and attaining martyrdom.
The writer is the Vice President of PSC Karachi.