Breeding hate against the Ahmedis

A local Urdu newspaper in Lahore has been printing an advertisement for the Khatam-e-Nabuwat Conference that was to be held on March 22. The sponsors of the advertisement and the organisers of the event are all revealed in it yet no one from the authorities is willing to take note of the conference

Persecution in Pakistan is the culmination of stewing hate speech that has been growing unchecked in our society. Religious minorities here are the worst ones anywhere in the world to suffer the brunt of hate crimes. But what makes the persecution of Ahmedis unique is that they consider themselves Muslim but are made to sign a statement that they are non-Muslims before taking up their citizenship. This was defined in the Constitution when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in 1974, declared Ahmedis to be non-Muslims, a move demanded and hailed by the orthodox clergy. This was further strengthened and enacted into an Ordinance later by General Ziaul Haq, which criminalised Ahmedis for practicing normal rituals that ordinary Muslims would do like greeting each other with the term “Asaalamualaikum”. Ridiculous laws set precedents for general intolerance and hate crimes. Politically, Ahmedis are unrepresented and denounced in public. The chairman of the PTI, Imran Khan, during his election campaign in 2013, alienated himself from the Ahmedis, who had initially been supporting him for change. The ‘honourable’ Khan had to make a special television appearance to clarify his stance on the issue on how the laws that are discriminatory to this particular segment of the population are synchronised with his beliefs.

 

In 2014, 11 members belonging to the Ahmedi sect were killed for their faith. The increase in crimes against Ahmedis is becoming a reason behind why many of them are opting to leave Pakistan for the sake of living dignified lives in countries that ensure religious freedom and security. There are about three million Ahmedis residing in Pakistan at present and most of them are resiliently living here despite the fact that the authorities deliberately ignore the many dangers and threats they face here. Many perpetrators are set free whereas the Ahmedis, by the discretion of the law, are taken in and persecuted at the smallest instance of practicing their beliefs in public. This not only gives a negative image of Pakistan to the world, it is shameful on every level of humanism of how the state has given in to the whims of the extremist mullahs here.

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