VIEW : No peace, even in the grave — Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

A country that still lacks an effective anti-terrorism law cannot complain about such incidents

When an individual comes to the end of his/her journey in this world, he/she is buried in a grave with an inscription marking his/her last resting place. But is a grave really the last resting place for the dead? Perhaps not. Pakistan is a country where being part of the Ahmadi community means you are not allowed to rest in peace even after you are dead. I am referring to the most recent incident in which tombstones of more than 100 graves were razed by 12-15 armed men during the wee hours of December 4, 2012. The graveyard belonged to the Ahmadi community and the verdict given by the terrorists was the use of verses of the Quran on tombstones by Ahmadis, who are considered as heretics, and even entitled to murder by extremist groups in the country. It is not just extremists, but a large majority of Muslims in the country believes in a similar ideology. The only difference is that extremists actually kill and persecute members of the Ahmadi community, and the rest of the people make sure that members of this community are socially excluded in every possible manner.

The most alarming fact about this incident was that it did not occur in a far-flung village, but right in the middle of Lahore in one of its most posh areas. Another alarming or interesting fact is that the graveyard is very near the residences of the Sharif family and many other dignitaries and politicians. So keeping in view that fact, one can easily ascertain the level of security in the locality and the possibility of such an incident. Yet more than a dozen armed men with digging and excavation tools entered the graveyard, kept the caretakers hostages and completed their mission, as explained by a caretaker who was referring to the conversation of the leader of the group with someone over the phone. Phew. It is very much like a scene from a Hollywood movie. Yet the denial syndrome persists and perhaps more than ever before.

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