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The extremists within: The radical ideology of PML-N
The day the Prime Minister was telling an audience in Karachi that “religion does not force anyone to do anything”, Punjab Minister for Higher Education was announcing that he had made the hijab compulsory for college going women.
“If your attendance falls below 60 pc then we will give 5 pc attendance to those girls who wear a hijab.” It is good that the Punjab government has dissociated itself from its Minister’s plans but the tell-tale statement reveals the thinking prevailing in the PML-N. Minister Ali Raza Gilani has not joined the ruling party recently.
The man won on PML-N’s ticket successively in 2008 and 2013 elections. Promoted by the party, he now heads a ministry which is supposed to play key a role in eradicating narrow-mindedness and extremism among the youth.
Despite repeated assertions on the part of civil and military leadership to rid the country of the twin menaces of terrorism and extremism the man in charge of Higher Education in Punjab remains wedded to extremist views.
There is a need to realise that unless extremist thinking that insists on imposing a narrow version of Islam through force and enticement is eradicated military operations alone will not achieve their targets.