Ashura, the tenth of Moharram, is one day in the entire year when majority of Muslims all over the world remember the great martyrdom of Hussain Ibn Ali (AS) in the battle of Karbala and who stood up for Islam by laying down the lives of his family, companions and even children by refusing to bow down before injustice, tyranny and oppression of Yazid Ibn Mauwiya. The day of Ashura stands for the patience Imam Hussain (AS) and his family held in the very testing times against the forces of evil.
Today, during the annual procession marking the day in Karachi witnessed a horrifying bomb blast that ripped apart the mourning crowd, so far killing 30 innocent lives and injured as many as 80+ people. Unfortunately, a suicide or otherwise bombing in Pakistan has become a regular feature of our news. What was even worse were the chain of events following the bombing in Karachi today. ‘Angry mobs’ were reported to have set ablaze ambulances, shops, banks, and police mobiles among others. The twist in the story is that the miscreants and trouble makers that are also sadly part of our society actually leverage their plans in such situations and setting surrounding buildings on fire as was witnessed today is perhaps one way to add fuel to the raging sectarian fire. Reason fails to believe that a normal, peace loving citizen who would set out from his home in the morning to mourn the cause of Hussain (AS) would cause further damage following an event that has already taken innocent lives. Angry mobs and their outrage is not a phenomenon specific only to Pakistan, however one must keep in mind the vested interest of so many conflicting parties in this strange and entangled web that we have weaved in our country! The participants of an Ashura procession are average Pakistanis like you and me, who feel that the one day to show solidarity to the cause of Hussain is to come out on the road and show their support against the injustice Hussain (AS) stood up for. They come on the road with their young children and old parents. I therefore fail to believe that an average peace loving citizen would cause damage to the business and property of his own city. It is like a person breaking his own bricks and wall in his own house should a tragedy befall on him… tragedy upon tragedy…who would be at loss? Only the person himself…. Is the equation then so hard to understand?
While the question addressing who these miscreants possibly could be is beyond the scope of my blog, I just wanted to share the grief of the many families who would be either mourning the loss of their loved ones, or attending to the injured, on a day, which is ironically dedicated to the remembrance of the spirit of Islam. Ironically enough, Islam is now synonymous with terrorism to the outside world. But that too perhaps is a subject for another day. What we can do however on such occasions is to not get involved, not support or facilitate the blame game that usually follows such incidents and avoid speculating who the perpetrators were. In an ideal world, the doctor would advise that you let the Government handle the situation.
Ah! The Government…. In the golden words of Confucius: ‘The essentials of good government are: a sufficiency of food, a sufficiency of arms, and the confidence of the people. If forced to give up one of these, give up arms; and if forced to give up two, give up food. Death has been the portion of all men from of old; but without the people’s trust, nothing can endure.’ Need I say more….
One can only hope that we live to see the day when our gatekeepers and administrators of this Land of the Pure would take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof to stop such heinous crimes. In a supposedly democratic set up, the least that can be done is to be accountable to the people who bring forth the elected leaders with their votes. With great power comes great responsibility, reminds my son after watching Spiderman. I wonder if anyone else is listening out there? Issuing statements of ‘condemning the violent act’ does not help the listener, or the grieving family – action does. What does help is to show solidarity in these troubled times. We are a nation at war. The least we can do is to stand united and keep reminding ourselves we cannot give up on Pakistan – not yet… not now…not ever!