As Pakistanis prepare for the end of Ramazan and the arrival of Eid, we come across the news that an Ahmadi residence was set on fire by a mob, killing a mother and her two daughters, five-year-old Kainat and eight-month-old Hira. As are most religious crimes of vengeance, this incident also has roots in our archaic notion of blasphemy.
People are only too keen to take justice into their own hands when it comes to religious sentiments, as this incident shows. Minorities bear the brunt of such accusations, although blasphemy laws have been used against Sunni Muslims as well to settle land and financial disputes, Ahmadis are not the only ones being targeted – Shias and even Barelvis have been accused for not being “true” to Islam.
The blame for such hate rests not only with the extremist elements in our society who have hijacked religion for their degenerate purposes but also with the state. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government adopted a law in the early 1970s, which declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. What was politically expedient for Bhutto then, and Ziaul Haq later, is a crisis for Pakistan today.