One day, a bottle of ink is thrown on Khawaja Asif, the foreign minister of Pakistan; the very next day, a shoe is thrown on the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. If someone thinks that there is some political party’s hand behind these acts, he is wrong. And if someone thinks that no other political party is involved in it, he is equally wrong. Here is how people are wrong when they say that the people who threw a bottle of ink and shoe at major political figures were instigated by opposing forces to be on a mission. Every political party knows that if a precedent is set allowing any such act to happen to another political party, the next time it can be their party or their leader being targeted as well. So no political party would want it happening to their own beloved selves because no party, in their conscious state, would love to be politically or publically disgraced and humiliated. The fear of facing the same scenario in return sometimes discourages the thought process of doing it to someone else. And when elections were nearby, no party would want the opposition to be able to take any sympathy votes. And here is how people are also wrong when they say that no political party instigated culprits to do such humiliating acts in open public. In the literal sense, they might be correct to make this statement. But metaphorically speaking, it is absolutely incorrect to say that no party was involved. This is not a single isolated act — it is the psychology that works behind it. Yes, the culprits were intolerant, but the real question is how this intolerance developed in our society. It is important to understand when political parties use abusive language or make allegations on purpose to demean other political figures or parties on digital and social media, at rallies, protests and sit-ins, it ultimately has terrible effects. While abusive language or allegations do not do much other than firing back, it creates extreme frustration. And in order to escape from the frustration, one keeps using the same procedure; but in its worst form, that eventually instils the seed of hatred into the minds of their followers for their political rivals. The purpose of politics should be to serve and contribute to the society positively, and not to demean the profession by indulging in selfish practices If we look specifically at the last four years of politics of Pakistan, we get to know that it has not accomplished anything other than spreading hatred, intolerance and extremism in the very minds of our citizens. Intolerance has spread so much that we now feel hesitant and insecure to share any of our political views with our own family members. How does hatred gain social traction and eventually transform into practical policy? First comes thought, and then comes action. The starting point is the development of any thinking process, and if this reaches a climax, we eventually try to convert those thoughts into action. The process of anger starts when we are sitting alone, we think and try to make “if-then” situations in our mind of releasing our anger in practical ways. Next, when any “if” is somehow created in reality, “then” is produced consequently. The subsequent negative action has its own dangerous repercussions on society. The ultimate solution is to address the point from where our collective minds get directions to initiate certain thought processes. All the political leaders need to work on creating tolerance in themselves as well as in their followers. Politics should be done for the purpose of bettering and contributing positively to our society, not for the sake of demeaning it. The whole thinking process has escalated to the extent that culprits now take junky pride after carrying out such demeaning actions. This also calls into question the international image of our country. Of course, any international figure coming to Pakistan would remain conscious of being dealt with in the same way — the unwanted impetus falls on us now to take this unnecessary burden off their shoulders. Condemning the acts with mere words will not improve the situation; this mentality needs to be addressed from a grass-roots level. Hatred and false allegations need to be eliminated from our speech patterns and thought processes. All our political, social and religious leaders need to take charge of eradicating any such acts in future and changing the course of our history; the first critical step is to stop spreading wrong, negative, hateful and intolerant thoughts to their followers. The writer is a consultant psychologist; Twitter: @Ahmed_Bilal01 Published in Daily Times, March 23rd 2018.