Posts Tagged ‘ Ahmadi ’

Fear and silence

Mohsin Hamid in Dawn:

Why are Ahmadis persecuted so ferociously in Pakistan?

The reason can’t be that their large numbers pose some sort of ‘threat from within’. After all, Ahmadis are a relatively small minority in Pakistan. They make up somewhere between 0.25 per cent (according to the last census) and 2.5 per cent (according to the Economist) of our population.

Nor can the reason be that Ahmadis are non-Muslims. Pakistani Christians and Pakistani Hindus are non-Muslims, and similar in numbers to Pakistani Ahmadis. Yet Christians and Hindus, while undeniably discriminated against, face nothing like the vitriol directed towards Ahmadis in our country.

To understand what the persecution of Ahmadis achieves, we have to see how it works. Its first step is to say that Ahmadis are non-Muslims. And its second is to say that Ahmadis are not just non-Muslims, but apostates: non-Muslims who claim to be Muslims. These two steps are easy to take: any individual Pakistani citizen has the right to believe whatever they want about Ahmadis and their faith.

But the process goes further. Step three is to say that because Ahmadis are apostates, they should be victimised, or even killed. We are now beyond the realm of personal opinion. We are in the realm of group punishment and incitement to murder. Nor does it stop here. There is a fourth step. And step four is this: any Muslim who says Ahmadis should not be victimised or killed, should themselves be victimised or killed.

In other words, even if they are not themselves Ahmadi, any policeman, doctor, politician, or passerby who tries to prevent, or just publicly opposes, the killing of an Ahmadi, deserves to die. Why? Because anyone who defends an apostate is themselves an apostate.

Aha.

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In our beginning is our end

Ardeshir Cowasjee in DAWN:

We must read to remember. The early days of Pakistan were far from halcyon, though those of us who lived through them look back with some nostalgia. Whatever progress we have made in this country’s 63 years of life has been, as it turns out, on the negative side.

Where have we progressed in leaps and bounds? Well, in the scale of wholesale corruption, political and administrative ineptitude, and bigotry and intolerance and their accompanying violence — they were all there at the beginning which was in itself violent.

Perhaps the presence of founder-maker Mohammad Ali Jinnah for the first year of Pakistan’s life kept things somewhat in check, though his loyal lieutenants did take advantage of his state of health. His exhortations of Aug 11, 1947 to his constituent assembly were in vain.

All that he laid down — tolerance, equality of citizenship, the shunning of corruption, nepotism and jobbery, and above all that law and order was the first priority of any government — was all lost. It was never digested, the quality of manpower saw to that.

Having dipped into an OUP 2010 publication, The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan 1947-2008 by Ilhan Niazi, it has sadly dawned upon me how misplaced was the early enthusiasm for the new country and the belief that the words and teachings of Jinnah would prevail.

In January 1949, governor of the Punjab Francis Mudie sent a note to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan complaining that Punjab Chief Minister Mamdot was one up on the centre and even Jinnah “every time that they have intervened and the feeling is growing that the centre is powerless even when the government is hopelessly corrupt and the administration paralysed … no questions of policy are even contemplated”.

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Whose turn next?

Irfan Husain in DAWN:

I was going to write about something else this week, but when I read the reaction of sundry clerics to Nawaz Sharif’s statement that “Ahmadis were my brothers and sisters and were assets to Pakistan”, I thought I should salute him for his political courage.

Showing solidarity for the oppressed is a sign of decency, a commodity in short supply in today’s Pakistan.

Among other things, the spokesman for the Wafaqul Madaris asked the Muslim League leader not to “defy religion for petty political gains”. Some Deobandi clerics said that the recent Lahore attack on Ahmadis was a plot to undo anti-Ahmadi laws. So are they accusing some Ahmadis of killing their own people?

In many cases, police have found a link between various terrorist groups and mosques, but we are never told if the mullahs in charge have been interrogated. It is all too possible, however, that the police back off due to the connections these clerics have with religious groups and parties.

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