Amaar Ahmad has sent this exclusive post for PTH. We are publishing it to enrich the debate on the recent events and the larger issue of Islamism in Pakistan. Raza Rumi
The attacks on Ahmadi mosques in Lahore is another reminder of where
the exploitation of religion for personal or political goals
ultimately leads to.
Bhutto and Zia are are the original architects of popularizing among
Pakistani politicians, generals and intelligentsia the trend to
pretentiously drag religion everywhere and to demonstrate their
Islamic credentials. Pandering to fanatics and bigots, they have
displayed their allegiance to the faith by imposing laws against
Ahmadis and by sitting idly as the flames of hatred slowly engulfed
the whole country. The elite class has ever since appeased parties
like Jamaat-i-Islami and Jamiat-i-ulema-i-Islam which were
historically opposed to the creation of Pakistan and whose teachings
have ultimately created outfits like Taliban and Lashkari groups.
What happened in Lahore was a natural outcome of our leader’s
tolerance of intolerance and their promotion of bigotry. The most
outrageous aspect is that all this has been carried out this in the
name of Islam which literally means peace, which openly professes
inter-communal harmony and which declares its Prophet to be a mercy
for all humankind.
Apart from pulling up their socks and improving their professionalism,
law-enforcing agencies can play only a secondary role in improving the
overall law and order situation. The primary responsibility is that
for the government to promote laws which inhibit prejudice and take
actions which stem the tide of obscurantism in its roots. Thus if they
truly want to fulfill their duties, rather than pandering to ‘Islamic’
parties the government officials must follow simple tenets of Islam on
tolerance and responsibility. Instead of paying lip service to the
religion of peace, this would include for them to take practical
measures by :
(1) Stop paying visits to functionaries of sectarian groups for
election support (as Punjab Law minister Rana Sanallah did).
(2) Ban and prosecute those who propagate hate material against any
minority especially Ahmadis.
(3) Outlaw hate-mongers (such as Amir Liaqat) from public media unless
they repent and retract their statements.
(4) Get the ulema for once to openly declare that the life and
property of all minorities including Ahmadis are inviolable and all
Muslims must leave them in peace.
(5) Repeal blasphemy laws since the Sunnah of the Prophet (sw) amply
demonstrates forbearance even for those who abused him. If that is too
much for Pakistani establishment, then they must, at minimum, amend
the procedure of these laws.
(6) Repeal the Anti-Qadiyani ordinance as this is also a complete
abuse and distortion of Islam. Again if the officials cannot do so
under current circumstances, then they can at least devise ways to no
longer apply the laws.
(7) Release all Non-Muslim and Muslim detainees for ‘crimes’ such as
declaring the Muslim kalima or for alleged blasphemy cases which are
almost always false.
In my view, following the above steps is the only meaningful long-term
process to steer the country away from its current course.
If the so-called Islamic leaders of Pakistan do not get their act
together now they they would have indeed failed their faith in every