As the entire nation mourns the deadly suicide attack, which has till now left over 88 worshippers dead, and more than 10 injured many of whom were children and women, a question that comes to everyone’s mind is where have we gone wrong and who is responsible for this massacre.

If you ask me, as a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, I would say that we should all be held responsible for such a senseless slaughter of innocent souls, because we as a nation of lambs live in complete silence not speaking out or even raising our voice against the tyranny that befalls upon us.

Nothing is sacred anymore. What was once sacred is now considered to be someone else’s sin. Those innocent worshippers were killed, because according to extremists that killed them they were indulged in heretical forms of worship such as dhamaal (mystical Sufi dance) and unholy reverence of the esteemed Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar lovingly referred to as "Jhulelal" by his devotees.

It’s a popular belief, held by many of my people, that such suicide attacks aren’t of our making. It’s easy for many to point fingers at others, such as foreign agencies and infidel enemies of our republic, than to look into our own conscience. I ask my people, why haven’t we noticed that since 70 years of our independence we’ve only been at war with our own self?

First they came for the Sikhs and Hindus at the time of partition of British India 1947,  but we never spoke out against the carnage because according to our very own Pakistan Studies textbooks ‘Hindus and Sikhs started the massacre against Muslim settlements in Bharat.’

Then they came for the Ahmadis and we never spoke out against that, we instead unlawfully declared them as non-Muslims leading to further persecution, alienation and exile of Ahmadis patriotic to this nation.

Then they came for the Christians, burned their colonies in Shanti Nagar, Gojra and Joseph Colony and  we never spoke out against that, instead we imprisoned their women and children e.g Asia Bibi and Nabeel Masih under the malicious blasphemy law.

Since then they have come after the Shia Muslims, the Ismaili Muslims and now Sufi Muslims and still we say this is ‘problem’ is not of our making?

When will we wake up to the fact that we as a nation are under attack from within. Since our early inception as a nation for South Asian Muslims, we have always been under siege from the bigoted and tyrannical views of the extremist few who have tried their best and successfully enforced their version of ‘True Islam’ that completely contradicts the wisdom and love of the Sufis who preached love, compassion and inclusion of all.

If you just visit the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar at Sehwan Sharif, you would fall in love with Sufi Islam, which not only preaches but also practices a message of spiritual devotion and love of all regardless of their creed, caste, gender or religion.

Syed Muhammad Usman Marwandi, also known as Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, is one of the most loved Sufi poets and saints in the Indian subcontinent revered by Muslims and Hindus alike – so much so that Hindus revere him as the reincarnation of “Jhuelal” a Sindhi saint, who just like Lal Shabaz promoted love and communal harmony popularized in the Sufi song “Dama Dam Mast Qalandar” and made famous by the Indo-Pak musicians like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Abida Perveen  

Propagation of spiritual teachings of Sufism, that preaches love over hate, is the need of the hour. Pakistan was never created for the ideological views of Taliban, ISIS and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi to flourish, it was created to promote peace, love and humanity.

The attack on Sehwan Sharif is a very blatant attack on a longstanding Sufi tradition of love and tolerance that can prove as a powerful antidote against extremism and intolerance. Tolerance is an integral feature of the mystic Islam infused with hypnotic rituals and intoxicated madness that is an inseparable part of the cultural conscience and indigenous beliefs of Sindh and Pakistan.

Pakistan has always been the “Land of the Sufis”. No matter how bad these extremists might try to bend the Sufi teachings of love and tolerance, they can never be successful in taking out the love and humanity from the hearts of its devotees as clearly seen by the quick resumption of the dhamaal signifying their undeterred devotion of promoting love and humanity through music, dance and poetry at any cost.

It’s about time that we promote this sense of defiance and deterrence against hatred and intolerance within our collective national conscience in order to win the war we are at from within. Failure to stand up against this tyranny will only inflict us with more harm than do us any good.