The Ahmedis of Pakistan

While the mind remains boggled with religious onslaughts and vigilante mob tyranny, it gets even harder to understand what drove our society to excommunicate an entire community

The seeds of contention lie in a misplaced sense of justice where the aggressor goes scot-free and the victim is further oppressed. The government, on the other hand, fails to deliver protection and security to those who do not fall into the mainstream and are being further oppressed by society and the clergy at large.  The word ‘Qadiani’ does not come easy because of its existential uncertainty in Pakistan. Despite what the constitution says about Ahmedis in derogatory terms, they are determined to stay in this country against all odds.
Ahmedis were constitutionally declared non-Muslims 40 years ago by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government, who succumbed to the pressures of the clergy, thus opening the gates for their further discrimination and public persecution. Even more appalling is that the citizens of Pakistan cannot be givem their identity cards unless they sign a statement declaring Ahmedis to be non-Muslims, a clause that is derogatory for them. Imagine the social humiliation an Ahmedi actually goes through every time he/she sees someone signing the piece of paper condemning him or her in order to be a citizen of Pakistan! As if our righteous Muslims have not screamed “discrimination” whenever they have to queue up for special registration at US airports.
While the mind remains boggled with religious onslaughts and vigilante mob tyranny, it gets even harder to understand what drove our society to excommunicate an entire community, calling them kafirs (infidels) and relegating them to the status of a minority. “We do not like to be called a minority,” says Tabinda*, a defiant young Ahmedi woman and scholar with whom I made initial contact for my research on minorities, “The state has endorsed us with this title and, as a protest, we refrain from voting in general elections.” Imagine that: an entire segment of society is not casting its vote and still no one feels bothered by their dismay at a state that calls itself democratic.

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