Editor’s Pick “Aftermath of Ahmadi Attacks”

15 Jun 2010 by Sahar, 3 Comments »

News and opinions, inside and outside Islamabad on a culture of bigotry and intolerance. The deafening silence in most of Pakistan’s media and officialdom, after a hundred worshipers were brutally gunned down in Lahore highlighted a monster that is eating Pakistan from within. Here is a compilation of some of the brave voices that dared to discuss cruelty and barbarity of the May 28th attacks on Ahmadis in Lahore.

Dawn: In the line of fire
HELLO, and a very good morning to you. I wish I could begin by saying “may peace be on you” in Arabic but unfortunately, I’d risk being thrown into jail besides having to pay a very heavy fine. So we’ll drop that idea for now. Within the boundaries of this land, as per the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, I am not by any definition a Muslim. I am a member of the community that came under intense attack by armed zealots on Friday, May 28. And yes, I witnessed the entire tragic episode firsthand.

Dawn: In the line of fire — 2: An intolerant society
The underlying questions that remain to be answered are: why was it the Ahmadi community that was targeted in particular and who is responsible for these attacks? As to the first part, to say the least we’re considered heretics; even worse than kuffaar, as the so-called journalist, who has since denied it was him, on the leaked audiotape put it. Dr Aamir Liaqat Hussain declared us wajib-ul-qatl on his television show because of our beliefs relating specifically to prophethood.

Dawn: Pakistan’s mosques, media and intolerance
Pakistan has been fighting militants for years, but tough measures are needed to overturn a system breeding religious intolerance after the long failure of authorities to confront mullahs and hardline groups. Analysts say the notion of religious mistrust is deeply entrenched in the predominatly Muslim country – even in the school system – and it is now up to leaders to mobilise public.

Dawn: NA condemns killing of Ahmadis
It was after an apparent hesitation and a bold initiative by some women that the National Assembly unanimously condemned the “barbaric massacre” of Ahmadis in Lahore.

Dawn OP-ED: Five steps to sanity-I A Rehman
The priority demands of sanity (dictionary meaning: reasonable and rational behaviour) are determined by the challenges a society faces. Today Pakistan’s supreme need is the adoption of a rational response to the menace of extremist elements operating, without due sanction, under the banner of belief.

Express Tribune: I am terrorist – and so are you–Naveen Naqvi

However, if I do not write of these attacks, I will become more complicit than I already am, for isn’t it true that every time I renew my passport I am complicit as are you? Every minute that I hold my national identity card, I may as well be holding a gun to the head of any minority in Pakistan.

Express Tribune: Dear Israel… thank you–Sami Shah
The killing of aid workers on the way to Gaza by typically over-zealous, kill-hungry Israeli forces is a tragedy. It is an act of heinous cruelty by a nation that has worked hard towards innovating in the field of heinous cruelty. And most importantly, it distracted attention away from us. Because right now, we are looking pretty heinous and cruel ourselves. Almost 100 innocent Pakistanis killed in a single act of terrorism, perpetrated on the basis of religion, condoned by a government that is conspicuously silent in regards to criticism of the event and sanctioned by a nation that never once raised a voice of protest against such repugnant discrimination.

Dawn OP-ED: Culture of bigotry-Huma Yusuf
What kind of sick democracy do we live in, where the declaration of equality of all citizens of the state can be deemed unconstitutional? This twisted logic was deployed by the JUI-F in its criticism of Nawaz Sharif’s comments describing Ahmadis as ‘brothers and sisters’ who are an ‘asset to the country’.

Dawn OP-ED: A sad place, indeed-Kamran Shafi
In the interim Pakistan was made to look like a foolish country with foolish people who did not have any idea about what was good for them and what was not. But surely, some of them will know what is going about on the Internet, particularly from bloggers from Sindh and Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about the ethnic makeup of the Supreme Court.

Dawn Blog: Blackened-Nadeem Paracha
Not a single leading member of the ruling cabinet and the opposition (except Interior Minister Rehman Malik) bothered to visit some of the injured Ahmadi men, women and children at a hospital in Lahore. But interestingly, prominent ruling functionaries and their counterparts in the opposition were ready with rose garlands and flying accolades for the returning three Pakistanis (yes, that many) from the tribulations on the Turkish ship.

Dawn OP-ED: What the eye did not see-Cowasjee
We have seen over the past three decades how impossible it is for the minorities to truly ‘freely’ practise their religion. How many minority citizens of Pakistan have been killed or persecuted, through bigotry, intolerance and Zia’s iniquitous blasphemy laws. And on May 28 of this year, how many members of the minority Ahmadi community were massacred in cold blood by the ‘student’ fraternity upholding their version of the religion of the majority? The official reaction: silence. Unforgivable!

Dawn OP-ED: Hate and horror in Lahore-Irfan Hussain
At the heart of this indifference to the fate of our fellow citizens is a deeply rooted intolerance. Somehow, the fact that they follow beliefs other than the majority faith makes them unworthy of full and equal citizenship. Many mullahs fulminate regularly and openly against Ahmadis from the pulpit after Friday prayers. Many have called for their expulsion from the country. One has even demanded that they be given the choice between conversion or death.

Dawn OP-ED: Whose turn next?-Irfan Hussain
Apart from the Punjab government, large sections of the media are in denial about this threat. Indeed, home-grown terrorist groups have many cheerleaders among our TV chat show hosts. Until we all wake up to this threat, it will continue to grow. It won’t be long before those of us who do not sport long beards will become targets.

Chappati Mystery Blog: We Are All Ahmadis IV: A History
Ahmadi missions began to appear in Britain and Europe (early 1910s), USA (1920 to Michigan and Ohio), Central Asia (1921), Iraq (1922), Syria (1925), Egypt (1924), Indonesia (1926), , Nigeria and Ghana (post 1918) – alongside came persecution. The first deaths came in 1901 and 1903 when two Ahmadis were stoned to death in Kabul. The next wave of anti-Ahmadi violence came in 1924-5, again starting in Afghanistan during the reign of Amir Amanullah Khan (1919-1929) when he ordered the arrest and execution of Ahmadis specifically on the grounds of apostasy. He also made being an Ahmadi a capital offense under the penal code.

Chappati Mystery Blog: We Are All Ahmadi IX: Two Poems

I have tried to comprehend the massacre in the context of who we are, as a community, as a “diaspora” and as individuals. And the gentle, noble people we have produced. I do not doubt the love many feel for their homeland, regardless of how it may feel towards them. I sadly, do not share in this love as I have never been, nor is it likely that I will ever be, part of that larger (and exclusive) narrative of belonging that so many take for granted. Instead, I have always tried to focus on the things that I admire about Pakistani culture in order to position myself in the world. It was the beauty of the Urdu language that kept me from feeling alienated. If we (Pakistan and I) had nothing else in common then at least there was this contested language to bridge that gap. Urdu was adopted as the lingua franca of the Ahmadi community a long time ago. It is also the official language of Pakistan. That was my link.

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