Updated: my quotes in Tehran Times

Today’s events in Lahore have shaken the entire country. The zealots and the bigots aside, an ordinary Pakistani is baffled at the scale and impunity of the violence. A terrorist has been captured – perhaps more as events unfold. But will they be punished or we will find more lame excuses that the Ahmedis by worshipping in their mosques were provoking the believers.

The Taliban want to eliminate all diversity and pluralism from Pakistan. The process alas started in the 1950s and Bhutto’s tragic actions and Zia years have planted bigotry and intolerance. Fundamentalism is now a cancer that has widely spread in the body politic. Yet, no one wants to tackle it. For the past two years, get Zardari debates have dominated Pakistan’s public discourse punctuated by the anti-Americanism of the Right.

I am even more surprised that Punjab’s officials named RAW: as if we had no problem here. I am sure tomorrow it will be Mossad and the day after the CIA. Indeed, there is an all out denial of the threat within.

We have perhaps gone too far and pessimists are now saying that the process of destroying Pakistani society is irreversible. But we think that this is not the case. There is still hope that we shall overcome this menace if Pakistani public opinion is fashioned to look a little deeper inside and not find all sources of evil in Washington or Delhi.

The death of innocent civilians engaged in worship is a wake up call. Today it is the Ahmedis and tomorrow it will be another sect.

Where will this end?

The nightmare is not over.