When will the faith merchants’ attacks on society and the state be stopped?

January 23, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan

Reuters photo



Imad Zafar


Pakistan’s ‘faith mafia’ is back in action once again. This time it is Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi who has announced a sit-in in front of the provincial assembly of Punjab. The call for Law Minister Rana Sanaullah‘s resignation has gone and now Sialvi and his accomplices are demanding the government imposes Shariah law in the country.

According to the ‘faith mafia’ in a country where 97 percent of the population is Muslim, the religion is not safe. Even the educated masses believe this and buy this illogical propaganda. The resilience of Sharif and his successful campaign against the invisible forces has one again brought this cruel religious card into play by these forces. Just two months ago, we saw the result of this ugly card when the state was made to surrender and fulfil all the clerics’ demands. Now another Pir and his accomplice are threatening to siege the provincial capital of Punjab.

It seems that both the invisible forces and the majority in society do not want to get rid of the extremism and self fabricated interpretations of belief. The invisible forces, who were behind the previous sit-in of Khadim Hussain Rizvi, have not learnt the lesson yet. From the Zia-ul-Haq era until now, the clerics, pirs and jihadists have been responsible for bringing extremism, terrorism, sectarian violence and marginalizing minorities. In fact ,they are responsible for the death of reasoning and constructive dialogue in society. After sabotaging the social fabric of the country, these merchants of faith are now being brought into destroy the already weak political structure of Pakistan.

Why are extremists like Hafiz Saeed, Sami-ul-Haq and Khadim Hussain Rizvi being brought into mainstream politics, as with the support of the angels all are ready to dent the vote bank of Sharif in the upcoming elections. One wonders when the invisible forces will realize it is not all about Sharif, as it is damaging the already weak and conservative society.

These pirs, religious clerics and jihadists have all been successfully manipulating the masses by exploiting the beliefs. Though they operate entirely differently according to their interpretation, their motive is the same, which is to exploit the common citizens and plunder the money to acquire power.

You will not find many countries in the world where the majority of the population still believes in miracles and goes to the shrines to get treatment for physiological diseases and daily life problems. If this is not enough, even the educated classes go to these pirs and ask for their blessing in order to become successful in life or to conquer enemies. The spiritualism or Sufism is a nice and easy way to get money and fame by doing virtually nothing. There are hundreds of cases reported on a daily basis where women, children and even men are subjected to rape, and torture, yet the faith merchants are considered holy cows and following them blindly is considered a very worthy act.

The clerics, mostly referred to as as Moulvis, work differently. Instead of grabbing the public’s attention through the disguise of miracles or shrines, they trap them in the name of protecting or spreading religion. In both cases they successfully make good money from it and also enjoy the power of declaring anyone a blasphemer. Their network of mosques and madrassahs helps them to grab the role of holy cow whose thoughts, ideologies or interpretations cannot be challenged.

The jihadists exploit the masses in the name of conquering the United States and other countries by waging war, there always being a conspiracy against the country by the rest of the world. After the American sponsored Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union, these jihadists turned their guns towards their own countrymen which proved disastrous to their mentor. They cannot attack or conquer any of the civilized or advanced countries in the world through their weapons and ideologies, so their energies are spent on killing their own countrymen by suicide bombs or declaring them agents of enemies.

Though the pirs, clerics and jihadists work on different ideologies and interpretations their goal and objective is the same. They have successfully imposed an atmosphere where knowledge and reasoning is considered an unforgiveable sin and where ignorance and blind following is highly regarded.

As a result the debates and ideologies in societies are limited to; how to have sex with women according to religious teaching, how to wear the shalwar, how to brush one’s teeth, how women should cover their body, how beautiful virgins will be in paradise, how to conquer demons and evil spirits, how to get success through the blessing of pirs, who is a believer and who is a non believer, Fatwas against blasphemy, did NASA really go to the moon, how to destroy enemies through black magic and how to conquer the world through imposing Shariah and waging Jihad. This seems quite embarrassing and painful but is a harsh reality that our collective wisdom and thoughts revolve around these non productive and irrelevant things.

It has resulted in the demise of logic and knowledge and shut the door on progress and peace. While the world is busy making the quality of life better these faith merchants have been glorifying death and stating not to worry about the world as it will one day be finished. Imagine a country where even vaccinations to save children from diseases need the approval of the ‘faith mafia’.

Returning to politics, Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi’s sit-in will be another great test for the ruling party. Sharif and his party however now have to decide how far they can go by surrendering each time to the demands of the ‘faith mafia’. The trend of bringing in a mob and getting demands fulfilled is not a healthy one and by no means should the ruling party encourage it. Yes it can dent their electoral vote but some decisions are made for the future without fearing the consequences.

It is now time to stop negotiating with the faith exploiters who want to dictate government and challenge the state through the mobs. The common masses also need to understand that by playing into the hands of faith merchants in the name of religion and belief is actually spoiling the future for generations to come. The societies and nations are not recognized or respected globally by the interpretation of personal faiths, waging wars, declaring others blasphemers or by following pirs or Mullahs blindly. It is the strong economy, knowledge and contribution to inventions that makes a nation and societies great and respectable among the global community.

The dream of a strong democracy, a peaceful and progressive country, can never be fulfilled until and unless the faith merchants are abandoned by the invisible forces. Their role in the social fabric and in politics needs to be curtailed and no one should be allowed to manipulate the masses in the name of faith and religion. Let the divine matters be decided by the divine and do not destroy the social and political fabric of society by becoming pawns of the faith merchants.





Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar is a journalist based in Lahore. He is a regular Columnist/Commentator in newspapers. He is associated with TV channels, radio, newspapers, news agencies, political, policies and media related think tanks.

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