Provocative Sectarian Literature & Hate Speeches: Sowing Seeds of Religious Extremism & Militancy in Pakistan.




Over the years, religious intolerance and sectarian violence — a global problem — has increased to alarming proportions. Pakistan is also adversely afflicted by this menace, which has led to extreme violence and terrorism in the country. High-profile assassinations, suicide attacks and bomb blasts on civil and military installations have become order of the day. So far thousands of innocent men, women and children have perished as a result of this state of affairs. The extremists and terrorists are challenging the writ of the state, undermining its economy, and putting its sovereignty and territorial integrity at stake. The seed of these evils is contained in hate speeches and provocative sectarian literature. Often misleading speeches of some myopic religious leaders, who label people outside their faiths or religious groups as kafirs(infidels or unbelievers), ignite the sentiments.

This study examines the role of provocative sectarian literature and hate speeches in spreading and sustaining extremism, intolerance and militancy in Pakistan. The case study is based on this phenomenon in the province of Punjab. Findings reveal, on the one hand, the success of religious extremists who are bent upon spewing hatred and intolerance and challenging the writ of the government, and, on the other, the failure or weakness of security agencies to enforce law and order and punish criminals.

Unless and until the extremist mindset, promoting religious intolerance, hostility and sectarianism through inflammatory sermons and manuscripts, is defeated in letter and in spirit,the timely and exhaustive war being fought in North Waziristan, perhaps, will not make much difference in the long run to achieve perpetual peace and security in Pakistan as well as in the South Asian region.




Of all the forms and formats of religious extremism displayed in the society the most noteworthy are the use of provocative literature, slogans, sermons and graffiti which spur the sensibilities resulting in sectarian and religious violence.[1] Just to quote an example on 15th November 2013, in the Islamic month of Moharram, a number of people were killed and many more injured as a sectarian clash broke out in Rawalpindi when Shia mourners got infuriated over a provocative Friday sermon being relayed from a nearby Sunni mosque.Rivals pelted stones on each other whichspiraled out of control and resulted in deaths and burning down of Shia and Sunni mosques.[2]Albeit the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif ordered an immediate ban on wall chalking as well as on the use of loud speakers for hate,[3] the sectarian strife and tirades continued. During next three days more than twenty incidents of sectarian wall chalking, provocative slogans in demonstrations and rallies were reported in thirteen cities of the Punjab.[4]

In fact prior to this incidentthe intelligence agencies had dispatched a report to the Punjab Home Department that showed 22 violations of the ban on misuse of amplifier during Friday prayers in the first two weeks of November 2013.[5]The government had already received about twenty threats from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to target Moharram processions in Punjab.[6] The situation was declared as high alert but the actual preventive measures were too weak to bridle the hate-mongers and to avert the resultant violence carried out by them.

Due to this sort of persistent debility of the successive governments and lack of formally articulated policy the religious and sectarian extremism have gradually snowballed into alarming proportions. This unbridled frequency of such actshas numbed majority of people and they seem to have accepted these acts as an integral norm in the society.[7]According to a poll 71% Pakistanis say that religious extremism in Pakistan has increased in the last two decades.[8]Thirty years of nurturing of jihadist organizations, mullahs and madrassas mutated into religious intolerance and sectarianism.[9] Former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Riaz Mohammad Khan stated that the most serious and lethal challenge for Pakistan could be militant extremism and terrorism in Pakistan, which had badly affected the society and threatened the internal as well external security of Pakistan.[10]According to a report of the Ministry of Interior, over 950 people have been killed in sectarian attacks over the past three years.[11]Despite adequate laws, it is matters of grave concern that extremist literature and other manifestations of religious extremismand intolerance are rampant in the society which are resulting in violence and killings.



Very few realize that the most glaring causes of  theincreasein sectarianism and violent actions against the rival sects and minorities are rabble-rousing graffiti, hate speech and use of provocative literature that generate violence and hatred.[12] The birth ofSipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan SSP (The Army of Friends of the Prophet in Pakistan-Sunniextremist organization) and Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan SMP (The Army of Muhammad in Pakistan-Shia extremist organization) took place on pretext of use of hate speeches and foul language against each other’s reverent religious personalities.[13]The record is evident that sectarianism turned into sectarian terrorism due to this rueful recklessness and no-holds-barred approach to pinch and prick the most sensitive of the religious sensibilities of each other. Interrogations of many sectarian terrorists have revealed that they committed the killings because the victims used derogatory language about their reverent religious personalities.[14] One sectarian terrorist, Mahram Ali, who used motor cycle Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) at Lahore Sessions Court on 19 January 1997 to kill MaulanaAzam Tariq, Chief of SSP, told the interrogators that he planned to kill him because SSP Chief hadallegedly used derogatory language against his reverent religious personality.[15]However he admitted that he did not hear him using such language but a friend told him that he had written a pamphlet which contained offensive language. Similarly one of the culpritsbelonging to SSP, who was involved in the assassination of the Director Iranian Cultural Centre, Multan,told the interrogators that he joined the group to attack the Director because he had backed those who committed blasphemy against the family of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).[16]

Table-1 shows the record of distribution of hate-material in Punjab in year 2013. It is based on the incidents that came to the notice of the police and Special Branch Punjab. Many moreincidents would have gone unnoticed or unreported.

Table-1 Provocative /Hate Material

01.01.2013 to 31.07.2013

Sr. No. District Date Type Booklet / Pamphlet / Poster / CD / Cassette
/ SMS etc
Organization/,Target Group
Police Action, if any
1 Faisalabad 22/23.1.13 Pamphlet,12 Rabi ulAwalAya,(Advent
of the Prophet’s pbuh birthday)
Ayf=Sargodha,http:www. /ay 158sb./ Brelvi
2 Layyah 23.1.13 Booklet,Muhammad Mustafa
(S.A) Kainat kesy achy aur azeem tareen aur smaji waqudarti sciencedaan doctor /
professor hain.,(Muhammad pbuh is the greatest and wisest man of
the universe and he was a scientist and doctor)
Mustafvi professor Sheikh Abdul Waheed Abbas
Chishti (Physics) Govt. Post Graduate College Layyah./ Deobandi & Shias
FIR No.81/13, dated 04.02.2013 u/s
3 24.01.13 Pamphlet,“MarwajaJashn-e-EidMilad un NabiBralvi Alma ki Nazar Ma”,(How
the Prophet’s pbuh birthday is celebrated)
Mashook Ali s/o MuhamamdAshiqChak No.87/JB
4 Bhakkar 26.01.13 SMS,Against
Hazrat Umar Farooq
From a Mobile
No. /,Brelvi
FIR No.6, dated 29.01.2013 u/s 295/A PPC 25D
Tele Graph Act
5 Sheikhupura 31.01.13 Pamphlet Ar-Rehman Computer./ Brelvi FIR
No.27/13, dated 31.01.2013 u/s 295/A
6 Sargodha 15.02.13 Booklet,Istaghasa Faisla ap ki jie,(A
case-Decide yourself)
Passdaran Sahaba / Ahl-e-Bait Pakistan./ Shias
7 27.02.13 Pamphlet,IslamiAkeeda,(Islamic
Dar ul And lusMarkaz Khaiber Nishat Abad Pul
Faisalabad./ Brelvi
8 Mianwali 06.03.13 Pamphlet (03),Mohabat K, Daway Imam Hussain K sath, yari Yazeed K
can follower of Imam Hussain befriend Yazeed, his tormentor)
Mufti AmanUllah Mohtamim
Madrassa Fatima tu Zahara, Chakrala./,QariIlim Din
MohtimimMadrissaIbne-Abbas MohallahFarooq Abad Chakrala
FIR No.13, dated 06.03.2013 u/s 9 ATA
9 Attock 19.03.13 Booklets,“Shea KafaryaMuslmanfasilaApKarian&
Muslim Pocket Book”,(Is
shia Muslim or infidel)
Unknown./ Shias FIR No.33, dated 19.03.2013 u/s 295-A
10 11.03.1326.05.2013 Distribution
of Pamphlet
Kot Abdul Malik./ Qadiani
11 Gujrat 02.06.13 Pamphlet,Kya Rasool Allah (S.A.W) Hanfi Shafi, Hanbli, Malki,
Sunni, Shia, Deobandi, Brelvi, Ahl-e-Hadith the ?,(What
was the sect of the Prophet pbuh)
Jamat-ul-Muslimeen, ShakhManglia Tehsil Kharian
District Gujrat. /Nil
12 17.06.13 Pamphlet,KhulaKhat,(Open
Sunni Group./ Shias FIR No.212 dated 17.06.2013 u/s 295-A, 16 MPO


The table indicates the diversity of sectarian and religious pricking of rival sects and religious minorities through published material. Column 5 shows that it was not an underground or surreptitious activity as the names addresses or mobile phones of the doers have been given on the pamphlets. Out of twelve reported incidents the police registered cases against six only. It shows that the persons behind these activities do not seem to be fearful of legal action and actually the action seems quite selective and sparse.





FROM 01.01.2014 to 31.12.2014



Sr. No. District TOTAL FIR
Lahore 07 0
Sheikhupura 07 01
Nankana 0 0
Kasur 01 0
Gujranwala 02 02
Sialkot 05 0
Gujrat 04 03
Narowal 0 0
M.B. Din 01 01
Hafizabad 0 0
Rawalpindi 04 02
Attock 04 02
Jhelum 0 0
Chakwal 0 0
Faisalabad 01 01
Jhang 02 0
Chiniot 03 02
T.T.Singh 0 0
Sargodha 05 05
Khushab 02 02
Mianwali 02 01
Bhakkar 04 04
Multan 10 06
Khanewal 03 02
Vehari 03 03
Lodhran 02 01
Sahiwal 01 0
Pakpattan 02 02
Okara 02 01
D.G.Khan 0 0
Muzaffargarh 02 0
Rajanpur 01 0
Layyah 02 0
Bahawalpur 02 0
Bahawalnagar 01 0
R.Y.Khan 04 03
TOTAL 89 44


Punjab Police Report



A round of any city of Pakistan would reveal umpteen ugly scenes of provocative graffiti generating hatred and violence on walls, back of rickshaws, hoardings, etc. A slogan urging to behead a blasphemer can be seen quite often on the walls and the rickshaws. Strong messages for introduction of Khilafat (Caliphate) instead of democracy, that according to them has failed to deliver, challenge the very basis of the system.

Table-2 shows that mostly such sacrilegious squiggle targets the rival sects and minorities like Ahmedis (Qadianis).


Table-2 Sectarian Wall Chalking in Punjab

01.01.2013 to 31.07.2013

Sr. No. District Date Text of Walk Chalking Organization involved/Targeted Police Action, if any
1 Lahore 27.5.13 QadiyaniKajoyarhai, GadaarhaiGadaarhai(A friend of Qadianis is a traitor) AnjmanMohban-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat/ Qadiani Nil
2 Rawalpindi 03.6.13 MoaviaKutta(Muavia is a dog) Chalked by unknown persons./Deobandi FIR No.462 dated 03.06.2013 u/s 295-A/298-A P.S. Sadiqabad against unknown persons
3 Faisalabad 22.6.13 KafirKafir Shia Kafir(Shias are infidels) Unknown-/Shias FIR No.327 dated 24.06.2013 u/s 295-A
4 11.7.13 Jo Dashman-e- SahabaHaywoDushman-e-Rasool Hay. HamainSahabakiGhulami per Fakhar Hay.(Enemies of the friends of Prophet Muhammmad are enemy of the Prophet)Ghalba Islam DeobandMoulviManwarSajjadUsmani of Chak No.89/JB, Ratna./ Shias
5 23.07.13 DukhiInsaniatkiKhadmitMasbeenZadaAlaqonkibahataurHurmatRasoolKay DafakayliaMujahideenJamatDawakoapni Zakat, Sadqat, Fatrana, AtiatDeen, Mara RizaqMarayNazaykiNok Kay Neechay Hay(Appeal by JuD for charity in the name of Islam) Massool Muhammad Tufail s/o Muhammad Din r/o St. No.5, Islam PuraChakJhumra
6 Jhang 29.01.13 Bara Imam Per lanat be Shumar(Curses on the Shia’s Imam) Unknown-/Shias FIR No.63, dated 29.01.2013 u/s 295-A PPC
7 16.04.13 KafirKafir Shia Kafir(Shias are infidel) FIR No.105 dated 16.14.2013 u/s 295-C
8 28 / 29.04.13 Ahl-e-Hadith aurDeoband is kainatkabadtareenKafirhai(Ahlehadis and Deobandis are worst kind of infidels) Unknown- Ahl-e-hadith and Deoband
9 29 / 30.04.13 KafirKafirAhl-e-Hadith Kafir(Ahle Hadith are infidels) Unknown- Ahl-e-Hadith
10 Chiniot 11.03.13 “Mai te Shaba NokarPanjtan de” BY SAP(We are servants of the friends of Prophet Muhammad) Organization namely SAP,/Ahl-e-SunnatWalJamat
11 20.07.13 KafarKafar Shia Kafar(Shias are infidels) Deoband/Ahl-e-Tashi
12 Bhakkar 11.02.13 Against Pious Caliphs Shias/Deoband FIR No.27, dated 11.02.2013 u/s 295-A PPC 16 MPO
13 Rajanpur 29.05.13 Kafir Kafir Shia
Kafir Jo Na Manay wo Kafir,(Shias are infidel; who does not believe in this
theme he is also an infidel)
14 R.Y. Khan 30.01.13 i.
Kafir, KafirShia Kafir,ii. Jo na mane wobhiKafir,iii. Main nokarSahaba da,(Shias are infidel; who does not believe in this
theme he is also an infidel)
SSP/LJ./ Shias

Table 2-WALL CHALKING 2014[18]

From 01.01.2014 to 31.12.2014


Sr. No. District TOTAL FIR
Lahore 04 01
Sheikhupura 09 01
Nankana 0 0
Kasur 01 01
Gujranwala 04 02
Sialkot 01 0
Gujrat 0 0
Narowal 0 0
M.B. Din 01 0
Hafizabad 0 0
Rawalpindi 01 01
Attock 02 0
Jhelum 05 0
Chakwal 0 0
Faisalabad 08 0
Jhang 07 03
Chiniot 06 05
T.T.Singh 01 01
Sargodha 0 0
Khushab 02 02
Mianwali 0 0
Bhakkar 01 01
Multan 05 03
Khanewal 04 0
Vehari 02 0
Lodhran 0 0
Sahiwal 03 02
Pakpattan 03 02
Okara 0 0
D.G.Khan 04 01
Muzaffargarh 01 0
Rajanpur 01 0
Layyah 0 0
Bahawalpur 05 01
Bahawalnagar 04 01
R.Y.Khan 01 01
TOTAL                       86           29


It is the glimpse of the persistence and tenacity of perpetrators and matching apathy of the administrators to control such a propensity.


Similarly during the current year, from 18th to 25th October 2013 forty-four mosques and madrassas in nineteen cities of Punjab came to notice of the civil administration where provocative sectarian speeches were delivered and slogans like ‘KafirKafir Shia Kafir’ (Shias are undoubtedly infidels) were chanted.[19]



The hate and instigation spread by graffiti and wall chalking are reinforced by toxic sermons andspeeches which are not only directed at the rival sects but the religious minorities too. A mob brainwashed by such persistent calls to violence torched more than 100 houses of Christian slum dwellers at Joseph Colony, BadamiBagh area of Lahore.[20]A trivial brawl between two drunkard youngsters triggered the idea to settle the score on pretext of blasphemy.Even if blasphemy had been committed the alleged offender was arrested and booked by the police which was enough to pacify the complainants.But the instigators cajoled the multitude of ostensibly peaceful labour, mostly Pathansand Afghanis, to rise and rush to avenge the alleged blasphemous act of one of the hundreds of families residing at Joseph Colony. Inciting announcements were made from the loud speakers of the mosque of the area.[21]Even provocative banners were displayed openly. Thus, the result was insensitive burning down of more than 100 houses, along with their households.

The murder of Governor Punjab Salman Taseeron 4th January 2011 at the Kohsar Market, Islamabad, at the hands of his police guard is a case in point. The radicalized police guard namely MumtazHussainQadri, had only heard that the Governor had committed a blasphemy so he decided to give him a befitting punishment. He was deeply radicalized by clergymen who had declared the governor a blasphemer therefore an outcast infidel liable to be murdered.[22]It was a license to kill that was actually used for that purpose. Ironically, the assassin, MumtazQadriis on death rowbut he has become a divisive figure in the society as the extremist religious parties portray him as a hero.[23]Dozens of lawyers also offered to defend the assassin for free.[24] In a blatant display of support to MumtazQadri a mosque in Islamabad was named after him at Ghori Town. Pakistan People Party (PPP) Senator Farhatullah Babar commented, “ A mosque has been named after a self-confessed murderer. This will not promote peace and harmony in society, only deepens divisions.[25]

During the month ofMoharram, when Shias commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, sectarian rhetoric triggers sectarian strife at many places. The extremist Shia and Sunni clergy who have tendency to resort to controversial speeches, termed as fiery speakers by the police and law enforcement agencies, are gagged or banned from entering into other districts. But many manage to defy the bans and keep igniting the sectarian sensibilities of the faithful with their contemptuous and insolent sermons. They are given fat fee for these services.


The religious edict (Fatwa) of expulsion from the religion has become a weapon in the hands of reckless so-called religious scholars. It is a convenient way of demonizing and tormenting the opponent sect.[26]Thetakfeeri(to declare one an infidel) approach paves the way for the ultra extremists to resort to killing in the name of religion.[27] So the process of killing can start from some sort of labeling by insignificant mullah’s fiery speech.

Pulpits are used to heap curse on others and to instigate the loyal worshippersas they feel free to express whatever they deem fit in the name of religion. The law prohibits the use of amplifier at a mosque except for relaying ‘Aaazan’(Call for prayers) five times a day. But hardened clergy keep violating the law and resort to speeches and announcements etc. Especially on Fridays they feel free to deliver sermons, at times provocative, at the deafening decibels.

Table-3 shows the propensity to defy the ban on misuse of loud-speakers from the mosques and other places. The incidents quoted in the list are just a tip of the iceberg because many go unreported.





Table 3- Misuse of Loudspeaker during Friday Prayers in Punjab

04.01.2013 to 11.10.2013


Sr. No. District Ahl-e-Hadith Ahl-e-Tashi Bralvi Deoband TOTAL FIR
Lahore 21 01 46 36 104 0
Sheikhupura 42 0 72 06 120 05
Nankana 22 01 32 01 56 01
Kasur 43 0 76 12 131 18
Gujranwala 84 01 152 41 278 0
Sialkot 52 0 112 24 188 0
Gujrat 01 01 113 16 131 0
Narowal 17 0 35 13 65 0
M.B. Din 02 0 45 11 58 10
Hafizabad 11 0 49 09 69 0
Rawalpindi 01 0 40 155 196 0
Attock 02 0 07 05 14 0
Jhelum 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chakwal 0 0 0 0 0 0
Faisalabad 37 02 115 17 171 159
Jhang 01 0 07 03 11 03
Chiniot 01 0 09 0 10 02
T.T.Singh 02 0 12 07 21 05
Sargodha 03 0 35 11 49 48
Khushab 0 0 13 02 15 15
Mianwali 0 0 13 06 19 19
Bhakkar 0 0 04 0 04 04
Multan 20 0 89 35 144 0
Khanewal 08 01 37 18 64 02
Vehari 16 01 18 08 43 03
Lodhran 03 0 46 13 62 25
Sahiwal 03 0 68 08 79 78
Pakpattan 07 0 20 04 31 31
Okara 0 0 0 0 0 0
D.G.Khan 05 0 24 11 40 38
Muzaffargarh 01 0 31 12 44 24
Layyah 04 0 42 09 55 49
Rajanpur 12 01 49 28 90 84
Bahawalpur 01 01 11 0 13 06
Bahawalnagar 04 0 24 12 40 24
R.Y.Khan 10 0 99 50 159 133
TOTAL 436 10 1545 583 2574 786




Table 4- Misuse Of Loudspeaker During Friday Prayers

From 01.01.2014 To 31.12.2014


Sr. No. District Ahl-e-Hadith Ahl-e-Tashi Bralvi Deoband TOTAL FIR
Lahore         26 02 105 56 189 33
Sheikhupura 43 02 99 12 156 25
Nankana 15 01 75 05 96 48
Kasur 26 0 46 12 84 49
Gujranwala 74 0 130 35 239 44
Sialkot 54 0 153 27 234 49
Gujrat 10 01 123 34 168 10
Narowal 14 01 63 15 93 34
M.B. Din 03 01 40 07 51 23
Hafizabad 05 0 33 02 40 03
Rawalpindi 24 0 215 174 413 28
Attock 02 01 32 31 66 04
Jhelum 05 01 68 15 89 17
Chakwal 04 05 70 43 122 10
Faisalabad 35 0 92 17 144 138
Jhang 05 04 49 05 63 50
Chiniot 0 0 21 06 27 21
T.T.Singh 08 0 63 21 92 88
Sargodha 01 0 17 01 19 17
Khushab 01 01 12 04 18 16
Mianwali 01 0 19 03 23 18
Bhakkar 02 02 33 16 53 44
Multan 16 03 220 71 310 168
Khanewal 08 01 58 29 96 71
Vehari 40 0 129 51 220 165
Lodhran 02 0 44 14 60 50
Sahiwal 21 0 93 15 129 121
Pakpattan 14 0 70 06 90 90
Okara 08 0 27 13 48 41
D.G.Khan 05 02 27 10 44 44
Muzaffargarh 03 0 50 43 96 70
Rajanpur 08 05 67 38 118 116
Layyah 05 03 38 12 58 52
Bahawalpur 03 0 21 06 30 14
Bahawalnagar 09 0 63 20 92 68
R.Y.Khan 08 0 110 65 183 132
TOTAL 508 36 2575 934 4053 1971


The above data shows that legal action taken against the violators is quite low as compared to the cases reported.




Undoubtedly, freedom of expression is one of the fundamental principles of democracy. But hate speech and hate literature are exceptions to this principle. Criminalizing hate speech and graffiti is an effective way of bridling this propensity that is undermining the serenity of the society.

In Canada, a variety of laws prohibit hate speech like Charter of Rights and Freedom.[29] The scholars, majority of the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada, and the general opinion, agree that hate speech should be regulated in a democratic society.Hate propaganda against identifiable groups is a crime, and those who speak it are criminals. Germany, Sri Lanka, Australia, UK, US, France, Netherlands, South Africa and India all have well-articulated laws against hate speech and literature. [30]

In UK and other countries, the expression of racist views is restricted by the criminal codes and by federal and provincial human rights codes. In the United States the Supreme Court declared in the well-known 1993 decision Wisconsin v. Mitchell that state legislation permitting tougher sentencing for offence motivated by racial or religious hatred are constitutional.[31]

Unfortunately, over years, the police and public have become so used to jingoist jargon splattered and spread everywhere that they look the other way and hardly an action is taken against it.  Police has capacity issues too. It is too overworked and avoids additional work.[32] Violators are booked but violation never ends or even ebbs away. In most cases police hesitates to take stern action against the violators due to fear of popular backlash of the faithful.[33] The intelligence agencies’ role in this regard is restricted to occasional reporting about such matters, which usually goes unnoticed because law enforcement agencies have their hands full with other trivialities. There are instances when isolated actions were taken to curtail the blasphemous literature.[34] In 1997 Intelligence Bureau recommended banning 114 sacrilegious books authored by extremist sectarian scholars. The Home Department Punjab actually complied but it was not known how far the police implemented the ban.

In Pakistan there are adequate laws and rules to regulate and control the misuse of expression, but implementation of these laws is not effective enough to arrest the propensity. The following laws and ordinances seem comprehensive to cover all aspects of misuse of various forms of expressions:-

  1. Punjab Regulations and Control of Loud-Speakers and Sound Amplifiers Ordinance 1965. Punishment 1 month and fine (Rs 200/- only)
  2. West Pakistan Press And Publication Ordinance 1963 (Sec 23 deals with unauthorized publishing)
  • West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960- imprisonment which may extend to three years or fine or both.
  1. Indecent Advertisement Prohibition Act 1962- first time 6 months imprisonment, second time 1 year imprisonment and fine.
  2. The Punjab Prohibition of Expressing Matters on Walls Act, 1995- six months imprisonment and fine which may extend to Rs 5000/-.
  3. The Anti-Terrorism Act 1997- Section 8. Prohibition of acts intended or likely to stir up sectarian hatred- Imprisonment which may extend to seven years and with fine.
  • Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) 2014. It has clauses to deal with sectarian killing and the organizations that preach hate. The government had extended the life of the PPO by another 120 days through a resolution passed in the National Assembly. Most opposition parties do not support it.

The saga of lackadaisical implementation of these laws starts from absence of zeal of over worked police that not only avoids takingproactive preemptive actions but also avoids registering cases on reported incidents. The senior police officers at times feel safe to stay away from picking up row with influential clergy who can cause law order situation and also affect their careers too. If a case is registered the investigation process is usually insipid and prosecution is placid which enables the accused to get benefit of doubt and avoid punishment.The absence of witness protection program also deterswitnesses to record evidence against perpetrators who usually belong to  dangerous organizations. These flaws and faults hamper the efficacy of laws.[35]




A persistent, deliberate and planned campaign of motivation to violence on religious basis has resulted in gradual inculcation of religious intolerance in the people.Axiomatically it has created propensity to react violently. Provocative literature and inflammatory sermons have spurred extremism to new heights. In the absence of official condemnation and control by the police and political leadership, virulent religious extremism has gained momentum. Despite enough laws to tackle this propensity the implementation has been dismal.It is high time to wield the laws of the land with full might and vigour to bridle the rising tide of intolerance and violence. After massacre of children and teachers at Army Public School Peshawar Political on 16th December 2014, the political and military leadership have agreed that hate propaganda and incitement to violence is a crime and those who speak it are criminals not clergy. National Action Plan is a ray of hope in this regard.


N.Elahi. Honorary Director Centre for Peace and Security Studies, Punjab University Lahore.

[1]Extremism here can be classified into interfaith extremism and sectarian extremism.

[2]Unfortunate Exception: Trouble in Rawalpindi, DAWN, 19 November, 2013

The 10th of Moharram is commemorated as a day to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet of Islam, who was killed by the forces of then Caliph Yazid in Karbala, Iraq. Shias observe this day and entire month with solemnity whereas the Sunnis also show respect to Imam Hussain. But both differ in the degree and modus operandi to observe it. Extremists of both sects differ in basic beliefs. Therefore sectarian tension prevails during Moharram.

[3]Nawaz orders action against ‘hatemongers’, The Daily Times, 21 November 2013

[4]Punjab Police report.

[5]Unfortunate Exception: Trouble in Rawalpindi, DAWN, 19 November, 2013.

[6]Reports by National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC), Ministry of Interior, Islamabad.

[7]Extremism and Policing Challenges in Pakistan, ZulfiqarHameed, Asia Pacific Human Resource Centre, June 2013, Vol. 72. Retrieved from

[8]Religious extremism increases in Pakistan: Poll, Aaj News channel, 4th September 2013,

[9]Moore, John. The Evolution of Islamic Terrorism: an overview. Frontline. Retrieved from

[10]Riaz Mohammad Khan, Afghanistan and Pakistan: Conflict, Extremism, and Resistance to Modernity, (Oxford, Karachi, 2011)


[11]Steps listed to fight sectarian strife, KhawarGhumman, DAWN Islamabad, 18 May 2014.

[12]Why the Sectarian Extremism is getting Bloodier.  Babar Ayaz, December 3, 2012, the Daily Times. Retrieved from

[13]Sectarianism in Pakistan: The Radicalization of Shia and Sunni Identities. Muhammad QasimZaman, Modern Asian Studies 32, 3 (1998), pp. 689±716. 1998 Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from

[14] Interrogation Report of Joint Investigation Team (JIT), Lahore

[15]Reported by investigators who questioned him in Multan Jail.


[17] Punjab Police Report

[18] Punjab Police report


[20]Alleged blasphemy: Mob burns scores of Christian homes in Lahore,Web Desk / RanaTanveer The Express Tribune, March 9, 2013.

[21]Interview with the residents of the area around Joseph Colony, Lahore

[22]An Assassination in Pakistan, 6 January 2011. The New York Times. Retrieved from





[23] In the wake of SalmaanTaseer’s assassination, 12 January  2011. The News International. Retrieved from

[24]Extremism and Mainstream Pakistan, December 17, 2012. The Retrieved from

[25]Suburban mosque named after Salman Taseer’s assassin, AamirYasin, DAWN Islamabad, 30th April 2014.

[26] Hate Speech, Mullahs and the Pakistani Public, Masood Raja, March 7, 2011, the Pakistani Bloggers. Retrieved from

[27]  Halt Hate Speech Now, The Express Tribune, January 8, 2013. Retrieved from

[28]Punjab Police Report

[29] Hate Speech Regulation In Canada ,Richard Moon, P.83,

[30]Striking a Balance, Hate Speech, Freedom of Expression and Non-discrimination, Sandra Coliver, Article 19, International Centre against Censorship Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. 1992

[31]Is there a right to hate speech? Natan Lerner,

[32]Extremism and Policing Challenges in Pakistan, ZulfiqarHameed, Asia Pacific Human Resource Centre, June 2013, Vol. 72. Retrieved from



[34] Ibid

[35] Extremism and Policing Challenges in Pakistan, ZulfiqarHameed, Asia Pacific Human Resource Centre, June 2013, Vol. 72. Retrieved from


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