Of Ahmedis, sects and blasphemy

When university educated Pakistanis who are social media savvy have this need to kill in order to homogenise and fit everyone into their personally preferred lifestyle, religion or sect, it is no wonder we are where we are

Understanding has its own benefits and gratification. For years, in various newspaper columns and increasingly lately on blogs and social media, I have expressed my inability to understand the seemingly irrational and barbaric actions of fellow citizens. This inability to understand extends to the actions of the government too. Not to pinpoint any government but a cursory glance at our history would show that there is very little governance and a lot of institutionalised discrimination spearheaded by each successive government.
I could start off a list of institutionalised discriminations here through history but former Supreme Court Bar President Mr Hamid Khan has detailed them in his book, The Constitutional History of Pakistan. However, even after laboriously reading through the book, I could not address the nagging question: why? Why are we barbaric? I found the answer this week and in the most unlikely places — at the University of Sargodha. The University of Sargodha has a Facebook page, which, in my case, served to be quite enlightening. The official post was that Ahmedis are non-Muslims and, therefore, need to be killed. It further went on to elaborate that this pure and holy country, Pakistan, needs to be purged of them. Although not one to put much stock in Facebook posts and ‘likes’ as people even like status updates such as “My father died this morning”, it bears considering that the post received quite a few comments. All of the comments that I have seen agreed with the original post of killing all Ahmedis plus added their own rhetoric to it. All accept one young man who pleaded not to spread hatred, but he was largely ignored. After the killing of Rashid Rehman, I think that being ignored is the best thing that can happen to this young dissenting voice.
Going through all the comments, given what has been recently described as my “pseudo-liberal mindset”, was certainly not pleasant. However, it was enlightening. I now know the reason for our societal and institutionalised barbarism. When university educated Pakistanis who are social media savvy have this need to kill in order to homogenise and fit everyone into their personally preferred lifestyle, religion or sect, it is no wonder we are where we are. In fact, it would be surprising if we become tolerant, diverse and pluralistic.
This week, having gained this enlightenment, I no longer shook my head while reading the morning papers. In Gujrat, a young man confessed to killing homosexuals as “he abhorred this practice”. Therefore, he played God and, after having sex with the men, he killed them. He did not mention whether or not he was inspired by yet another man-God who used to kill homosexuals in Lahore but apparently it is catching on. I certainly disagree with this man-God but I do not ask why he was compelled to do it. The society around him and certainly his education have taught him that there is virtue in this.

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