Same subject, same hymns, same reaction and the same continued worthlessness of human life. TVs have to play it, because it is newsworthy though the newsworthiness has long gone out of it. It is the norm of life now and the norm of life never qualifies as a news item. 50 plus more dead. So the biggest issue for the sect-ridden mind-set is whether to call those who died “jan-bahaq” (dead) or Shaheed (martyred). Well, they were dancing at the shrine, so obviously, as per the new interpretation of Islam, imported in last 30 odd years from the deserts of the oil-rich Shiekhdoms, they don’t ‘really’ qualify as shaheeds. But one reality sticks: people died, martyred or not, they are dead and never coming back.

Belonging to an entertainment starved society, the festivals at those shrines offer these poor souls to have free food and the opportunity to break the shell of gloomy thoughts, go out, and dhamal (dance) for a few hours. Women and children who have no idea if they are doing something un-Islamic, just feel happy. But, no, that happiness doesn’t sit well with the evangelists. For them, the religion of Islam is put into grave danger with every smile and every happy face. Thus, they make sure that a place that harbours such happiness soon be turned into rubble and the right of living be taken away from many innocents. All of this, without even realizing that religions are meant for human safety and the orderly conduct of human-to-human dealings. Why orderly conduct? To preserve human life. And when you take away human life, itself, the essence of religion fails at that very moment.

The very shrines and their activities which are now deemed a threat to the religion, were the very basis of the spread of Islam in the Subcontinent. These shrines are one of the oldest NGOs of human history. The times when life and the comforts of life were an alien concept and the mere preservation of life was the sole objective of living, these shrines made sure that everybody, anybody, belonging to any religion and any sect, could come to them and be able to eat – the very basic requirement of the preservation of life.

But the flag-bearers of new interpretations of Islam don’t bring food to these places. Instead, they bring guns, suicide vests, and bombs. They bring death with them, which costs them a whole lot more than the food they could have just distributed there. What do they get out of it? Nothing. They just kill those who are already half-dead because of the lack of basic necessities of life. The poverty-stricken vendors bring their business there to earn something during the days of festivity. But they all collectively earn only one trophy: death.

Then a post-carnage situation kicks in. The ruling elite read the text of the news and, in the same vein, inject the condemnation note. They express their sadness and grief sans any emotion. Who cares if somewhere in a remote area, some barely noticeable human beings got killed? The elite have bigger issues at hand. They want to busy themselves in deep issues like civil-military relations, and the impact of Trump’s election over regional politics. Great minds, great thoughts! For them a reporter who brings a news item which could advance their sphere of influence is way more important. Then there are five-star analysts who dress up and set their stages every evening and out of general moral courtesy discuss the news ‘item’ concerning lesser beings and express their sorrow. And then they ‘analyze’ it. They connect the dots and figure out how many Chinese trucks had to reach the next day at Gwadar port. Readily, their connections resolve this jigsaw puzzle, and two words wash away the blood of many: RAW and CPEC. End of story.

Then they focus their attention on their favorite subject, that of making and breaking governments. A rhetoric about corruption follows, with an analysis on how the ruling family could be uprooted. For them, the blood of 50 people is meaningless; the event was just in “bad taste” that would dissolve itself away in the next couple of days at max.

Religions, states and governments are there for one basic and fundamental reason: the protection of the sanctity and respect of human life. No issue or reason is big enough to render human life of secondary importance. Seriously, are we not tired of listening to justifications for the killing of our people? In the last decade it was Blackwater that wanted to steal our nuclear arsenal, thus killing our people to create mayhem. Prior to that was strategic death (sorry, “depth”). And now CPEC. Why on the earth do each of our developmental effort need so much human blood? Other countries have ten times bigger projects than we keep on beating drums about, but no one dies there. Why do we think that we are so special that every country is out there to get us?

No one is our enemy, we ourselves are our worst enemies. A country where there are no hospitals to carry out First Aid, where electricity and basic human amenities are missing, and the country that lies at the tail of all human welfare indexes, doesn’t need any external enemy. It is a recipe for disaster in itself – a bomb that is ready to explode at any given point in time. Although it has become rhetorical to say this, but we need to say it again: a country that lives in a perpetual denial over its core issues, cannot be helped, rescued, or treated. All that is left behind is hopelessness.