It is a well-known fact that Pakistan has never shown any respect or tolerance towards any other religions except Islam which is quite evident from how the country’s minorities are hounded, vilified and forcefully converted to Islam. Under the tenure of Imran Khan, Pakistan is witnessing a rapid descent into radicalism as the country is fast becoming another Taliban state. Copying from the playbook of Taliban who destroyed the historical Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, on the orders of a Pakistani Maulvi, locals destroyed an 1800-year-old ancient Buddha statue as it was ‘unIslamic’.
In yet another example of rising intolerance in Pakistan, an ancient Buddhist relic was shattered into pieces as it was labelled as ‘unIslamic’ by a local Maulvi. While digging the foundation of a house in Pakistan’s Mardan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a life-size statue of Buddha was discovered.
The statue which is believed to belong to the Gandhara civilisation was shattered into pieces by construction workers through a sledgehammer on the orders of a local Maulvi.
During digging, a giant statue of Buddha was discovered in Takhtbhai, Mardaan, KPK, 🍌Pakistan.
Molbi came and said that break it. If you do not, you will burn in hell.
Therefore people found short cut to heavens. Breaking heritage, ashamed of origin. Society of such hypocrites. pic.twitter.com/lPk4ts9kK2
— Arif Aajakia (@arifaajakia) July 18, 2020
The Maulvi hoodwinked the workers to destroy the state or risk being burned in hell and the workers duly obliged before the Archaeology department could even arrive at the scene. After carbon dating, it was found that the relic is 1800 years old.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (erstwhile name Gandhara) is a revered place for the followers of Buddhism. Just a couple of years ago, two rare Buddha statues were unearthed at an archaeological site in Hariput district where one statue depicted the death of Buddha while the other one was a Buddha with a double halo.
This incident reminds of how the Taliban destroyed Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. The Bamiyan Buddhas, made of ancient sandstone carvings, were once the world’s tallest Buddhas, before being destroyed by Taliban which shook the world.
“First they fired at the Buddhas with tanks and artillery shells. But when that was ineffective, they planted explosives to try to destroy them,” said Mirza Hussain a Taliban prisoner who was ordered to plant explosives on the Bamiyan statues in 2001.
Bamiyan was a holy Buddhist site built in the 6th-century beside Chinese traveller Xuanzang in 629 AD describing Bamiyan as a bustling centre with tens of thousands of monks.
Such was the Taliban’s determination to destroy the statues that it took them 25 days to completely destroy the statues.
There are eerie similarities between what happened in Bamiyan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The only difference is that on paper, Pakistan has a civilian government where in reality, it is fast becoming a rogue state with radical elements who feel threatened with the existence of other religions.