Looking at the history of Pakistan, it seems society here was a bit open-minded with respect to religious and social class differences. No one makes much fuss about a person being religious or secular, 5 times prayer person or a full party person, Mr. or Mullah etc. It was the same Pakistan where Sheikh Mujeeb and Maulana Maududi both Sunni men (one secular and other religious) supported a Shia Lady Fatimah Jinnah against a Sunni Male dictator (Ayub Khan).
People blame Afghan-Soviet War, Iranian Revolution and attempts to replicate it in Pakistan or traditional Red/Green blocks struggle for current intolerance. But the main thing which I see is the gradual tight grip of centralized power structure over the lives and business affairs of the people. The tight grip of ruling elite consisting of Military and Feudal class, supported time to time by so-called liberals in the name of centralized secularism or so-called theocratic mindsets in the name of religion, made it clear to various groups in society that only method of honorable survival is to capture the center and control the lives of others.
The philosophy of centralist control of power is a gift of continuous martial laws, rise of socialism and resulting drives to counter the first two through theocratic ideology. If we look at Islam, its doctrine is based on rule of law not rule of government or central authority. Supremacy belongs only to God means no one else has supremacy and everyone is equal before law. Sharia cannot be imposed on non-Muslims as there is no compulsion in religion. One cannot simply make people pious or secular by law. It’s a matter of freewill which should be respected for mutual existence with peace and harmony.
Even Sharia is limited to very few things where state can interfere and so there is a distinction between Sin and Crime. Similarly the unnecessary control of state in the name of illicit taxes (taxes like income or sales tax can only be right if extortion is a right thing), semi-socialist economic and power structure, and unjust regulatory authorities also contribute to this problem of strong center and power struggle to control the center. Neither centralized secularism nor theocracy represent the freedom of choice given to a person by Islam for deciding his ways to achieve piety as long as those choices don’t inversely impact others in a clear way. Even the adultery laws (part of Muslim sharia law and being a Muslim is a choice not compulsion according to Quranic teachings) requires 4 willing witnesses giving credible evidence which shows that specific acts of adultery were happening so openly that they were harming society which can include kids and other groups which can get negative influences.
Even in that room is given for other religions and state has to respect the laws and values of other religions (see example Meesaq e Madina). But now it seems people have a habit into poking in the affairs of others that what they are doing in their houses, hotel rooms, mosques etc. This is not just limited to so-called religious people but our so-called self-righteous pseudo liberals have a similar issues of poking in other issues and labeling others with different names because of their religious practices. Labeling someone a terrorist because of beard or other religious symbolism. It seems in Pakistan pseudo liberal breed has mutated into pro-imperialism and pro-war sectarian and social class fascists. Many so called religious groups have considered to be something related to putting nose in the lives of others.
We need to realize that we are too diversified to have a centralized system. Our cultures, values and ways differ from province to province, city to city or event town to town. We cannot make Karachi and Khyber culturally same by force nor we can force people to follow one ideology. One size fits all simply is not a solution for our diversified society. We need decentralization of legislation, economy and governance with minimum(or no) involvement of state in personal affairs and business of the people. Dispute resolution requirements, defense and some other issues might require us to make some common arrangements but they can be made more transparent, flexible and accountable based on the principles of justice, freedom and equality before law. It is high time for the state to give up its authoritarian control over the lives and businesses of its people for a more breathable environment.