An annual salary review conflict between the management and labour union of a local factory in a small industrial town near Lahore turned nasty yesterday. The "Muslim" labour leaders in cohorts with the Administration Officer of the factory decided to teach the "Muslim" factory owner a lesson by claiming that he desecrated a "wall calendar" (took it off the wall and threw it on the desk) that had verses from the holy Quran written on it. Labourers immediately took to streets in neighbouring villages and using the same three decades old script that I described in my last post gathered a small jihadi mob that attacked the factory and murdered the owner and his body guard.
This time, fortunately, no Christians or other minorities were involved or harmed. But the objectives were the same - to teach someone with whom you have a business conflict a lesson and make them pay with their life. And the modus operandi was the same: get a mob together and fuel the fire of emotions. Get your puppets do the killing.
Those of us not on the ground will blame it on religious extremism, reverence to the Quran, passion for the religion. Over the last three decades there have been countless episodes like this that more than often get bracketed as inter-communal or inter-sect strife. I beleive that a major factor is the absence of rule of law. Perpetrators always get away unscathed. Over 200 people have been nominated in the police report for this murder. Knowing the way police operates in Pakistan no one will be convicted. A businessman lost his life. The factory will, for sure, never open its gates again leaving hundreds of labourers out of job and ready to go on another rampage when the cleric calls.
Unless those who use religion to incite hatred and committ murder are made an example through a just judicial process, crimes likes these will carry on happening. Untill such time we should not blame rest of the world for calling us a religious extremest nation.