According to US commission on International Religious Freedom more than 700 people have been killed in Pakistan in previous 18 months in sectarian and minority attacks. Of this number, 635 were from Shiah community. Our society is immature religiously, politically and educationally. Our illiterate masses, influenced by sectarian literature and spell binding speeches, delivered by so-called religious scholars, throw society into the fire of sectarian and religious violence.

Secondly, existence of several types of educational systems i.e, Madrassas, stat-owned schools and private institutions, having their distinct syllabus, has badly destroyed the harmony of thought and social integration. Thirdly, some of our politicians and some religious political parties incite sectarian violence for political mileage. No doubt, the society's role to curb such practices is essential, but the government's role is crucial in this regard. For the government is the sole player in the field of policy making and enforcement of the laws and policies.

The government can completely ban the delivery of such speeches which incite sectarian and religious violence and the publication of sectarian literature. Our nation needs uniformity of education system, which our previous governments failed to provide. The government and the media must utilise the services of true religious scholars to educate the masses that Islam has nothing to do with any sect. There is no place for Shiah, Sunni, Wahabi, Deobandi etc, in Islam because Islam is the religion for all humanities and we should consider ourselves just Muslims only.

It is the duty of government to protect the nation from sectarian and religious violence by implementing the existing anti-sectarian laws and by enacting new laws, when required. Any Mullah, politician or political party, who promotes sectarianism, should be banned.

SULEMAN MANSHA,

Lahore, July 20.