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Pakistan: Despair is not an option. Neither is silence.

Thursday 19 January 2017, by siawi3

Source: https://beenasarwar.com/2015/03/15/despair-is-not-an-option-neither-is-silence/

Posted on March 15, 2015
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by beena sarwar

Photo: March 15: Activists protest in front of the Lahore Press Club in solidarity with Pakistan’s Christian community. Photo: courtesy Sajjad Anwar Mansoori

As I posted my last update about the third monthly Global Vigil of Pakistanis united against terrorism, March 15-16, 2015, to commemorate the Peshawar APS attack of Dec 16, 2014, news came in about the suicide attacks at two churches in Lahore – yet another horrible reminder of what happens when you keep snakes in your backyard and develop a culture of impunity. See my comment on the issue in Huffington Post, right after the Peshawar APS attack. It is a sign of the brutality and rage that engulfs Pakistan that a mob lynched, killed and burnt two men suspected of being co-conspirators in the attacks.

Mar 15 London vigilProtest and condemnation of these atrocities and solidarity with Pakistan’s Christian community will be part of the Global Vigils starting today, in London (3 pm in front of the Pakistan High Commission) and various cities of the USA (details at my earlier blogpost). Activists in Pakistan preparing for the Global Vigils already planned for March 16. In Lahore, gathered in front of Lahore Press Club at 4 pm. In Karachi, they’re gathering now (8 pm) at Numaish.

As I wrote after the attack on the Imambargah in February,

Pakistanis will keep protesting, the perpetrators will keep attacking. The strength of the civil society activists trying to counter them lies not in protests (though those are important) but in counter-narrative building, legal actions, pushing for rule of law, accountability and so on.

Of course the media will continue to give the terrorists front page headline space for their atrocities; ordinary citizens’ peaceful protests are not ‘newsworthy’.

Pakistan’s political and security establishments MUST discard the unstated policy that allows Takfir (declaring someone a non-Muslim), and the culture of impunity that allows attacks on non-mainstream Pakistanis to go unpunished.
Karachi, March 15: Civil society members in solidarity with Pakistan’s Christian community; at Numaish, Jibran Nasir and Shaan Taseer light candles. Photo: Rehan Mazhar

Photo: Karachi, March 15: Civil society members in solidarity with Pakistan’s Christian community; at Numaish, Jibran Nasir and Shaan Taseer light candles. Photo: Rehan Mazhar