Los Angeles, September 20, 2012 There are but a few truths in life which transcend race and religion. These are the truths that the founding fathers of this great nation of ours found to be self evident. Indeed these are the very truisms that bind us together in the comity of civilized nations. Our faith is in the truth and the truth that we believe in is this: All people have the right to life and to be free from bondage. The right to practice one’s faith without fear of persecution from anyone is an unequivocal right. We call these God given rights, Universal Human Rights.
For far too long a segment of Pakistani society comprising of Shia, Christian, Ahmadi, Hindu and indeed Sunnis have become targets of violence emanating from radical, fundamentalist groups who perpetrate murder and mayhem in pursuit of an ideology predicated on hate of the other; hate of those who are different and those who dare to differ. These hate groups seek no dialogue and are motivated solely by the prospect of committing gratuitous violence on the innocent. Their ultimate objective is intimidation and subservience to their will – a will to implement a most grotesque and perverse form of a religious ideology which violates the fundamental tenets of the great religion of Islam. The strategy used by the extremists is terror. The tactics deployed are suicide bombers and machine gun fire.
While wide scale bloodletting and mayhem is being orchestrated by these mass murderers, the average Pakistani citizen watches helplessly as her neighbor’s house is burned to the ground; the man in Hazara vainly tries to comfort his friend who is overcome by grief because his teenage son was brutally gunned down in broad daylight while riding a bus to work; the little girl in serene, post-card-beautiful Swat Valley still trembles as she recalls the day savages blew up her classroom; and followers of Islam’s revered mystical Sufi saint Data Ganj pick up the remains of their loved ones after a suicide bomber blasts to pieces hundreds of devotees who thronged to the Saint’s shrine in Lahore, Pakistan.
There is no recourse to the law for a Pakistani as the state itself is under siege, battling the very same terrorists who attack its soldiers and law enforcement personnel relentlessly killing in excess of 5,000 brave young men in uniform who have been blown up by road side bombs or brutally beheaded after being taken prisoner.
We have been here before. We have witnessed millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis during the holocaust. We have seen the murderous actions of Pol Pot’s Army on a million Cambodians and watched as Mao’s zealous Red Army forcefully converted thousands of Chinese intellectuals into “good” Communists. It is hard to fathom what motivates a group of ideologically indoctrinated people to commit unimaginably cruel and heinous acts. But we do know that silence by the majority emboldens the cause of the mad men.
On October 13th, 2012, we will organize a protest demonstration at 11000 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. The purpose of our demonstration is to show solidarity with those Pakistanis who have become victims of religious violence. Our motivation is to unite Pakistanis of all faiths and creed in defeating the forces of obscurantism which are tearing up the fabric of our society and prevent ourselves from falling prey to individual political agendas which would only weaken our country and strengthen the radical and extremist elements.
For the families of the victims we say this: know that we bear witness to the fact that the Human Rights of your loved ones have been violated. Know that your tragedy is also our tragedy. We will no longer remain silent on this issue as we realize our silence is tantamount to acceptance of a great wrong that is being committed against you. This is a wrong that can’t be undone but can be spoken against loudly, unabated and without mitigation until the greater good of the Pakistani people and humanity comes together and prevails over those bent on spreading hatred.
To the Government of Pakistan we say this: Join us in returning Jinnah’s Pakistan to the Pakistani People. Fear not those who seek to divide Pakistan but strengthen the hands of those who want to reunite Pakistan. Sixty five year ago a man resolutely and bravely battled against not only a debilitating disease but also a colonial power to deliver freedom to a nation. Help us regain our freedoms from those who wish to destroy the legacy of the Father of the Nation by constitutionally protecting the freedoms of the People of Pakistan.