Pakistan must separate religion and politics, say academics

firstpost.com: Terrorist massacres of the kind Peshawar saw will end only when Pakistan separates religion and politics, a Pakistani academic said in comments published on Friday.

Aasim Sajnjad Akhtar also faulted the tendency in Pakistan to gloss over the military’s patronage of the politics of jihad, saying it is this which allows the terrorist infrastructure to cement itself.

Pakistani civil society members take part in a candle light vigil for the victims of a school attacked by the Taliban in Peshawar. AP

“Only when religion is separated from the affairs of the state will there be hope of stopping the carnage,” Akhtar, who teaches at the Quaid-i-Azam University here, wrote in the Dawn newspaper.

“This does not amount to a conspiracy against Islam, as the mullahs scaremongering always suggests,” he added.

“It means only to say that religion does not have to be the source of all legitimacy, particularly in the realm of politics.”

Akhar added: “Jihad has been mainstreamed by the generals and their ideologues across the length and breadth of society.

“It is in the trenches of this brutalised society that the decisive phase of this battle must be fought,” the Dawn quoted him as saying.

Akhtar lamented that Tuesday’s carnage at a Peshawar school coincided with the 44th anniversary of the Pakistani military surrender to India in Dhaka.

“Coincidence it might be, but what a poignant one.”

More: 

After that 1971 war that led to then East Pakistan breaking away to form an independent Bangladesh, Pakistan had an opportunity to write a new script, the academic said.

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