In a country which has suffered many bombings, the killing of more than 80 people in two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore last week has unleashed a particularly anguished bout of soul-searching in Pakistan, going right to the heart of its identity as an Islamic nation.
When he heard the news, wrote Kamran Shafi in Dawn, "I ran home and put on the TV and burst into tears, first of rage and a seething anger; and then of complete and utter helplessness and sadness. Shame on us."
"Tell me – is this a country that we can be proud of?," wrote Kalsoom on the blog Changing up Pakistan. "Pakistan was supposedly established as a homeland for Muslims, to free them of discrimination. This same country now allows persecution to continue not just unabated but often by the writ of the state."
"I am ashamed and disgusted."
As always happens at times of crisis, commentators called on the spirit of Pakistan's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who in his first address to parliament in 1947 appealed for religious tolerance. "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this state of Pakistan," he said. "You may belong to any religion or caste or creed. That has nothing to do with the business of the state."
"Is this Jinnah’s Pakistan? No," wrote Raza Rumi on his blog. "We have gone too far and pessimists are now saying that the process of destroying Pakistani society is irreversible. There is still hope that we shall overcome this menace if Pakistani public opinion is fashioned to look a little deeper inside and not find all sources of evil in Washington or Delhi. The electronic media has a critical role to play but lack of self-regulation and introspection is missing. If anything, we find more and more analysts and commentators siding with the militants."