Mr Prime Minister, do you support religious bigotry?

Dear Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am sure you are busy; so let me cut to the chase.

You know well that Pakistan’s Ahmadi community has long faced the wrath of extremist religious clerics. Despite succeeding in hijacking Jinnah’s vision, and pressurising the state into incorporating anti-Ahmadi bigotry into the Constitution and law, these clerics have continued to demonise, spread hate and incite violence against the Ahmadis. The group currently at the forefront of this witch-hunt is Pakistan’s Khatam-e-Nabuwat organisation. Whereas this organisation claims to uphold the honour of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it does everything under the sky against his teachings of peace, tolerance and respectful difference of opinion.

Ahmadis are already denied their freedom of speech, worship, assembly, and even identity in Pakistan. The Khatam-e-Nabuwat group, however, is not pleased with just this. It holds conferences on a regular basis, calling on governments and the public to banish and boycott Ahmadis even further. Through these forums, extremist Mullahs also call for increased violence against the Ahmadis, some even issuing death edicts against them.

Sir, it is very disappointing to note that your party has consistently aided these radical clerics in their bigoted anti-Ahmadi agenda. When mullahs demanded that the name of my hometown – Rabwah – be forcibly changed to Chenab Nagar against the wishes of its residents, the then Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, immediately appeased the Mullahs. In 2008, when all 23 Ahmadi students from Punjab Medical College were rusticated due to their faith, the Punjab government under Mr Sharif turned a blind eye again. Fearful of upsetting the radical right, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has always participated in, and even sponsored, anti-Ahmadi hate conferences across the country.

In January of 2012, leaders of your political party attended an anti-Ahmadi rally demanding Ahmadis evict their place of worship in Rawalpindi.

“That time is near when Muslims will kick out all Qadianis from Pakistan”, was the popular call from clerics at this rally.

Mr Prime Minister, you are well aware of your party’s role in abetting sectarian hate. You have personally been guilty of this crime. In 1989, you sent a message to a similar anti-Ahmadi hate conference in Chicago, boasting about your government’s role in suppressing the civil rights of the Ahmadis.

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