Pakistan is a Sunni majority Islamic country with 2nd most Shia population in the world after Iran. Unlike many other Muslim countries, Historically Pakistan has maintained a sectarian neutral status. There was a time this region had not very much visible sectarian division. People were very tolerant and inclusive. No one even bothered what sect their other Muslim brother belonged.
Maybe that’s exactly the reason this nation fought for a free separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent in the leadership of Quaid-E-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a Shia by sectarian orientation.
Our Quaid envisioned a Pakistan so inclusive and tolerant that inter-sectarian harmony aside, he even went a step further when he made a Hindu and an Ahmadi part of first ever cabinet of Pakistan. So there’s not a least bit of confusion in what our founding father’s vision about this country was.
A brief history of Pakistan’s sectarian wars:
Pakistan was just like the vision of our Quaid in its early years until things went South in the late 70s. After the Iranian revolution the Saudi Iranian proxy started and Gen. Zia tried to counter influx and spillover of the Shia revolution from the neighboring Iran. His own sectarian orientation had a lot to do with this. Pakistan became part of Afghan Jihad, more and more violent and hostile narratives between two sects were indoctrinated in the population from both sides of the sectarian aisle.
The thing hings got hairy when armed militias were at each other throats in the 80s and 90s. After the war, some fractions of Afghan jihadists became sectarian outfits and sectarian proxy like situation was the new harsh reality. A lot of bloodshed of each other’s intelligentsia was a routine.
It continued during Global War on Terror until came a time this nation had a consensus in the shape of National Action Plan that all such organisations are to be banned and it was agreed upon in an all parties conference that the monopoly on violence rests only with the state and no armed militias, jihadist or sectarian would be tolerated.
Pakistani youth believes in inter-sect harmony:
The youth of this country has been brought up in such tense violent sectarian environment and they have had enough. They are more educated, unlike the previous generation which unfortunately fell prey to poisonous narratives of some hate preaching Ulama-E-Soo on both sides of the sectarian divide. With educated youth taking over the helm of affairs of this country, this trend is expected to be strengthen more and more. So there’s a lot of hope in future.
The youth has figured out that there’s no end to this infertile hate, and prosperity of our beloved motherland Pakistan in specific and the whole Muslim Ummah in general, is in peace, unity, tolerance, inclusiveness and not division. They are aspiring to be one United Ummah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH just according to this order of Allah in the Holy Quran.
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚAnd hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become dividedAl-Quran 3:103
منفعت ایک ہے اس قوم کی نقصان بھی ایک
ایک ہی سب کا نبی، دین بھی ایمان بھی ایک
حرمِ پاک بھی، الله بھی قرآن بھی ایک
کچھ بڑی بات تھی ہوتے جو مسلمان بھی ایک
فرقہ بندی ہے کہیں، اور کہیں ذاتیں ہیں
کیا زمانے میں پنپنے کی یہی باتیں ہیں؟
اقبال – جواب شکوہ