I have had my fair share of accusations of apostasy and qadiyaniat for being a secular Pakistani citizen and demanding that there should be no further discrimination against our fellow patriotic countrymen, the Ahmedis. The anti-Ahmediyya movement of ’53 was perhaps an attempt by the JI to gain political ground in Pakistan, for it did not have any. Throughout our history, they have been discriminated, persecuted by the people, and for the past 3 decades prosecuted by the state as well.
Yesterday’s inhumane attack on Ahmedis was a staunch reminder of this brutal reality. Sectarian organizations work freely in Punjab. The Law Minister of Punjab has been caught dealing with the leader of a banned outfit. A banned outfit recently set up billboards and banners in Islamabad’s busy business district. There is no stopping these militant organizations and we are playing into their hands by indulging in finger pointing at our neighbours rather than introspecting the reasons for the existence and the necessary way to deal with this menace.
News headlines had to used the word “place of worship” (ibadatgah) for the Pakistan Penal Code 298-B(d) deprives them of the right to identify their places of worship as a a mosque (masjid). Can our laws be more discriminatory? How long will this utter intolerance, bigotry and prejudice exist? A leading tele-evangelist is known to have incited anti-Ahmedi sentiments on live television. How long will we tolerate this?
A fellow blog posted this recently:
“Tell me – is this a country that we can proud of? Pakistan was supposedly established as a homeland for Muslims, to free them of discrimination. This same country now allows persecution to continue not just unabated but often by the writ of the state. Intolerance and ignorance have a foothold in the fabric of this society, and today’s tragedy further highlights this horrific state of affairs. I am ashamed and disgusted.”
The following is a screenshot from the application form for a Pakistani Passport. What does religion and faith have to do with my travel documents? Why is my religion mentioned on my Passport?
It is time that the Federal Government does away with all discriminatory laws in Pakistan. Every citizen of Pakistan should have the freedom of religion and faith should be a personal matter. Article 20 provides the freedom of religion but the article 260(3) of that very constitution sets down discrimination against Ahmedis. It is an hour of reckoning for us.