One little incident in Pakistan must have caused of more jubilation for the ruling party of India, BJP and its allies the RSS, than all those favours ousted Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif, is often accused of having conferred upon them. The cause of this jubilation was the desecration of a centuries old worship site of the Ahmadi community in Sialkot by a mob led by a local leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This is the first time a member of a mainstream political party has been involved in the destruction and desecration of a religious community’s place of worship. Naya Pakistan indeed.On December 6, 1992, the leaders of BJP, RSS, and VHP had gathered at the Babri Masjid, apparently to perform religious worship. What it later turned out to be was a ploy to instigate a mob to attack on the mosque for the purpose of its demolition. Though the objective remained unachievable, the communal violence that erupted across India cost hundreds of human lives and triggered repercussions in the neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan as well. While this act of desecration was very damaging to India, the outcome was very encouraging for the BJP. From a bottom tier political party that bagged only two seats in the 1984 election, it became the largest political party of India in the 1996 election — only four years after leading an act of desecration that had no legal or religious provision in India. In politics, the principles quite often become secondary to the objectives, and the cost a nation pays for it at a later stage is usually human suffering. Pakistan’s involvement in the 1980’s Afghan Jihad is another example. Interestingly, India has a lead over Pakistan in motivating one of its political parties to use the blasphemy issue for its march towards glory. What the BJP did in 1992, PTI has begun to pursue now. BJP used religious extremism to elevate itself from a lower level to the top one while PTI is using this strategy to push itself up by one notch only — from second largest party to become the top one. Although PTI has always refuted accusations of extremism, its deeds prove the allegations correct.While terrorist attacks are luckily declining, religiously-motivated crimes are taking a new lead both. This is a scenario which is no different than what we have been hearing about happening in IndiaPTI led government in KP provided a hefty fund to the Darul Uloom Haqqania, which is run by the ‘Father of Taliban’, Maulana Samiul Haq and for the upcoming elections the first ally PTI has chosen is Maulana Sami’s JUI-S. Taking this into account, can the Sialkot incident be considered an accidental case of extremism wherein PTI’s official was found involved without the go-ahead of senior party leaders? Going back a year, we find PTI councillor, Mohammad Arif, warning a crowd not to name Mashal Khan’s murderer. This man had committed the most heinous crime of leading a mob to beat Mashal Khan to death over false blasphemy accusations. The spokesman of PTI, Naeemul Haq, is another person from the same political party who owes his popularity to different acts of notoriety he has been found engaged in. Recently he slapped Danial Aziz of the PMLN in a live TV show and remained unaplogetic. A couple of years ago, he was equally adamant about calling the Afghan Taliban’s chief, Mullah Mansour, a martyr who was killed in a drone attack — a gesture not very different from Maulana Samiul Haq’s admission that the Taliban are his sons. PTI has strongly condemned the desecration of Ahmadis’ holy places in Sialkot and demanded severe action against the perpetrators. This condemnation came along with a lack of knowledge about the perpetrator being PTI member. Soon after this play of innocence, a number of photographs went viral showing the perpetrator, Hamid Raza, sitting with Imran Khan and taking part in different PTI activities. It wasn’t the first time the PTI has come out with such condemnation. In Mashal Khan’s case, their stance was no different.They strongly condemned the incident and demanded action against the perpetrators but, to my knowledge, they have never condemned or expelled their councilor, Mohammed Arif, from the party. Mysteriously, Arif was able to sneak out of the country soon after the Mashal Khan incident and remained at large until the court awarded a death sentence to the prime suspect. Could this mysterious disappearance and reappearance be possible without the connivance of the local police? The same police Imran Khan never tires of speaking? While terrorist attacks are luckily declining, religiously-motivated crimes are taking a new lead both. This is a scenario which is no different than what we have been hearing about happening in India. The only exception is that the majority of the victims of such crimes in India are either non-Hindus or Dalits, the lower caste Hindus.In Pakistan no discrimination (not practiced in any other field) between Muslims and non-Muslims is noticeable other than the percentage of the victims based on their population. The Ahmadis were once part of the Muslim community in the undivided India but now they are legally excluded from Pakistan’s Muslim community and are barred from committing any act or gesture that carries any semblance to Muslims. However, the law doesn’t allow anybody to go ahead and desecrate their religious sites or kill them extra-judicially over a blasphemy accusation — a crime that has been quite often committed against them by some zealots in the country. Of the 79 extra-judicial killings of blasphemy accused in the country, nine were Ahmadis (1992-Jan 2018). The struggle for a separate homeland was basically carried out to save the Muslim minority from the suspected hegemony and brutality of Hindu majority. We have achieved a separate homeland and assumingly saved ourselves from the atrocities of a majority, but the monster still continues to haunt us in different shapes and forms. The victims have changed but not the nature of the crime. The writer is a Senior Research Fellow, Center for Research and Security StudiesPublished in Daily Times, May 29th 2018.