Ayesha N. Rashid has sent this exclusive piece for PTH. We are posting this in the interest of free speech and also to counter the negative, almost diabolical representation of Ahmadis in Pakistan’s mainstream media. Having said that PTH does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed below. Raza Rumi
Armed with grenades, machine guns and suicide vests, Pakistani terrorists killed 86 Ahmadi worshipers in a well organized affray in Lahore on May 28th. Although terrorism has become a routine activity in Pakistan, the Lahore attacks are anomalous in nature. While other attacks are state censured, the attacks on Ahmadi Muslims are state sanctioned. Decades ago, the Government of Pakistan passed laws against Ahmadis, clerics gave verdicts on their religious status and the public completely ostracized them as Pakistanis and as human beings. The police played their part by charging Ahmadis with false cases, subjecting them to torture and demolishing their mosques. The media then contributed through inciting hate speech against them. Thus, it was about time to “eradicate all infidels from Pakistan” as an assailant involved in Lahore attacks declared.
So on May 28th, the terrorists only had to tame a few unarmed young men providing security at the mosques. An unwilling police force arrived after an hour, and with limited ammunition. The terrorists, who were confirmed a direct flight to heaven and 72 virgins, religiously fulfilled their duty. They did not betray their masters nor their government, for they are only the religious hit men furthering state sanctioned terrorism.
Despite being the recipients of state sanctioned terrorism for nearly three decades, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community comes out as one of the most productive and peaceful communities in Pakistan and the world. This community has a track record of consistently establishing peace, regardless of second class treatment. In 1974, when the Pakistani Government violated their basic human rights and declared them non-Muslims, they did not violate the laws of the country. Rather, they accepted the decision to avoid bloodshed. In 1984, when they were denied the right to practice their religion, yet again they responded with steadfastness for the establishment of peace in Pakistan. In 1989, when the community arrived upon its golden jubilee, the Government of Pakistan denied them even this day, forbidding any form of celebration. In 2003, when the community was stricken with grief on the death of the head of their community, the clerics demanded to abjure his burial in Pakistan. Pakistani Ahmadis deprived of seeing their beloved for 19 long years were deprived once again of their chance to bid him farewell. Still, they did not protest, nor did they commit violence of any sort. They sufficed on seeing his funeral ceremony on television as he was buried in England with dignity.
While the enemies of this community carry out these atrocities under governmental acquiescence, Ahmadis always respond with dignity and honour. They struggle towards a better future for themselves and for Pakistan. The community boasts a 99% literacy rate both in men and women as compared to a 54% literacy rate in Pakistan. Of the 4 million Pakistani Ahmadis, not a single one is a burden on the Pakistani economy. Begging is unheard of in the community. Those living in Pakistan are contributing in the society through their services and those living abroad contribute in the foreign reserves of Pakistan. The community is serving as the ambassador of Pakistan all over the world. It also is the procurer of the only Nobel Laureate and the only judge of International court of Justice of Pakistani citizenship. The Ahmadiyya Community has given Pakistan a number of world renowned doctors, scientists, bankers, computer professionals, agriculturists, lawyers, military men and economists. Above all the community has a promising younger generation to serve the country. However all this has only earned them social boycott, the destruction of their mosques, imprisonment and death.
Had the Pakistani Government not resigned to the will of the religious clergy, things would have been different. The 1974 decision to mingle state with religion developed the country into an intolerant society which paved way for the 1984 legislation. Next in line was an army of religious hit men who considered it their God given duty to kill. The only way out of this purgatory is to reestablish Pakistan as a secular state per Jinnah’s vision. Or else the country will turn into a slaughtering house for there is no dearth of either religious hit men or “infidels” in Pakistan.