Soft corner for extremism to blame for Khanpur killings: HRCP

 Lahore, January 16: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the attack on a Chehlum procession in Khanpur and said that sympathetic attitudes towards religious extremism in all institutions of the state are responsible for the failure to confront the menace of sectarian terrorism.

In a statement issued on Monday, HRCP said: “HRCP condemns the killing of innocent people in an explosion targeting a Chehlum procession in Khanpur and sympathises with the bereaved families. The perpetrators of sectarian violence regularly keep exploring new and more deadly ways of causing harm to the people. The police actions that follow such brazen targeting of religious events stand little chance of stemming the tide of sectarian killings. While paying attention to symptoms of the malaise is important, sectarian violence continues in Pakistan because the cause is usually left unaddressed. And it is clear that that happens because nearly all institutions of the state have a soft corner for religious extremism and they are certainly not keen to deal with it according to the law. In this environment the bloodletting will not stop.

“It is a welcome change that the leader of at least one religious-political party has condemned the killings in Khanpur. HRCP hopes that other parties and groups, especially the religious ones,  would also not have any reason to hesitate in condemning this act of terrorism as such. It is of vital importance that all segments of civil society that believe in tolerance play their role in unison to expose the passive response to such barbaric brutalities and also the reasons for that. But the state must allow the citizens due space to register their concerns and wishes. Any delay in taking decisive action amounts not only to negligence but complicity. The state must also reach out to the affected community in a manner that demonstrates its concern and shame in failing to protect citizens’ lives and try to promote tolerance after having tried the opposite for so long.”

Zohra Yusuf


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