On a beautiful clear summer evening in July, our boat left the embankment of River Thames in Windsor, for a round trip. We had gathered for a tribute to our time together as a team, before we set out our respective ways. There was a brilliant Indian doctor, known for speaking her mind. Between the two of us, it did not take long for to discuss the growing intolerance across the world, the Indian subcontinent in particular. She said she clearly could not relate to the present-day India, despite having left her home land just 4 years back. The right-wing populist leader in India has brought his own flavor of intolerance. An example is a rise in mob-lynching incidents, especially of Muslims, since coming to power of Modi Government. When the 28-year-old Akbar Khan was tortured to death by one such mob in Alwar District of Rajasthan each member of the mob must have been very clear in his head that he is performing a righteous act. A justification of righteousness that enables a human to perform acts that are unthinkable otherwise. As voiced by RSS leader Indresh Kumar, “if killing of cows stops, lynching will automatically stop”. In just between May and July this year 25 incidents of lynching by several vigilante groups for various other reasons have been reported. It is hard to argue when someone believes he has the mandate of heaven. Across the border in the boiling pot of religious intolerance, we saw Pakistani government succumb to religious bigotry, in the sacking of Dr. Atif Mian from Economic Advisory Council based on his religion. Imran Khan’s first month in power has been overly scrutinized and they have little grounds to shift the blame to anyone other than themselves. After all, the general rise in vigilantism and parochialism is a direct result of their politics of agitation and intolerance. Current state of partisans is like an agitated atom, which must release its energy. This may lead to radioactive decay or may trigger a chain reaction. While I wish for former, I fear the latter. Under ordinary circumstances, the appointments to Economic advisory council, including Dr Atif Mian, would have been a routine matter. Nonetheless, even if government was criticized or pressurized, the actions it has taken have only strengthened religious bigotry and divide. I am failing to justify the grounds on which the said person was asked to step down when Article 27 of the constitution of Pakistan safeguards all citizens from discrimination. Has the government failed to protect the rights of its citizen? While I am yet again failing to find an answer everyone else seems to have found one including the so called literates, even those living abroad. What surprises me is that how a literate person, living in a western society, enjoying and observing the values of equality and diversity, can still have such moral relativism. While I want my son to be treated equally and not discriminated against in school, how can I justify such actions against minorities back home? In the spring of 2012, passenger buses were stopped on a bridge in Chilas, Gilgit by religious fanatics. From the passengers, Shia Muslims were isolated and murdered in cold blood. The video of the incident gives the impression of them celebrating the bloodshed; the murderer’s faces content with their just actions and mandate of righteousness Moral relativism is acquired, in a way not much different from learning a language as a child. By observing a limited number of behaviours and actions and from those, constructing in one’s mind, a set of values and beliefs. While we share pictures of Jinnah, thanking him for the gift that is Pakistan every time there is news of mob-lynching incident in India, the stark contrast in reaction on Lahore Massacre of 2010, where 94 were killed and 120 injured in an attack on Ahmadiyya Mosque during Friday prayer, baffles me. “Every duck killed, is a point scored” said a literate doctor, while we were sitting on the stairs across the boys hostel canteen of King Edward Medical University, sipping a cup of tea, on a warm summer evening. I took an empty bite, as the biscuit I was dunking, had fragmented and sunk to the bottom of the cup. If we speak of the west, it should be clarified that these values of equality, are neither absolutely observed, evidenced by frequent incidents of racial violence, nor have these been established for very long. The rapid development in this respect has been in the last 30 to 40 years and not without struggleor bloodshed. Not too long ago, women had no right to vote. Even for slavery, justifications were found. One such argument during the American civil war by industrialists in the southern parts of America was that as we own our workers, take good care of them as you would of all your belongings while the Northern industrialists treat their workers badly because their workers are rented. Or the Ku Klux Klan member saying to Tom Holland in an interview “How can they have rights as a human, as they are not human”. If your moral compass is flawed, you will find an argument for anything. But being a Muslim in Pakistan does not protect one from religious extremism. As I found out in 2013, when I started working as a relief doctor in Baltistan. People there were all praise for my predecessor Dr Abbas, which made me, enquire about his current whereabouts. My assistant replied, “He was on that bus last year, which was stopped in Chilas”. With that he paused. “He was travelling with his family to Rawalpindi. But you and your family are safe, you are Sunni”. To his credit he said that without showing any bitterness. In the spring of 2012, passenger buses were stopped on a bridge in Chilas, Gilgitby religious fanatics. From the passengers, Shia Muslim were isolated and murdered in cold blood, 14 in one bus, 18 in the other, children and women all included. The video of the incident, gives the impression of celebration of bloodshed. The murderer’s faces content with their just action and mandate of righteousness. Despite this being not the only or the largest in scale atrocity, suffered by that community, the warmth and the welcome I received in that community, remains unparalleled to this day. Within the year and half of the Chilas incidence, 200 incidents of sectarian violence were reported, which lead to 1800 casualties. Shias alone were subjected to 77 attacks, 54 were also against Ahmadis. But why do I mention Ahmadiyya, the case with Ahmadis is different, or they say. My friend from Kerala, was saddened by the extremist element in Indian society, and similar sentiments are voiced by many of my Indian friends. On the eve of India taking a major step towards openness and globalization, Pakistan sacked someone purely on the basis of religion and justifications to the action are countless. It did not take us long to ignore the vision of our founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who time and again shared his perception of Pakistan as a state for all religious affiliations. The writer is based in Oxford University Hospitals Oxford, UK Published in Daily Times, September 16th 2018.