Pakistan is one of the worst countries in the world to be a minority of any kind – ethnic, linguistic or gender. Over decades, a virulent religious nationalism has been cultivated by the deep state and that encourages non-state actors to take things into their own hands.
As academic Afiya Zia wrote in Dawn, “Lynching secures majoritarian supremacy, sexual obedience and economic intimidation. Religious outfits such as the TLP underwrite the script and virulent nationalism provides the redoubts. The state’s surrender to the privatisation of such practices was obvious when Sialkot businessmen paid what is essentially blood money to the widow of Priyantha Kumara.”
Zia argues that “Outlawing hate crimes is futile unless the ecosystem of hate is dismantled. Lynching has not ‘ended’ in America — its ritual forms may have changed but it continues in micro-aggressive practices, policing, disproportionate incarceration and is underlined thinly disguised racism.”
Finally, “the main indemnity for mob crimes, however, lies in the popular support of participants and communities. Pakistan’s clerics have done enough damage by abetting such bloodlust with the approval of the state but incredulously, they have been defended by some scholars and intellectuals who scold those who criticise mullahs for their liberal antipathy. Fascism was historically aided by an intellectual patronage that defended the ecosystem of hate crimes and bigotry.”