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. Continue reading
The attack sparked a gun battle between security forces and the attackers in Garhi Shahu [AFP]
Pakistan is hunting members of an armed gang who killed at least 80 people in a double attack on two mosques belonging to the minority Ahmadiyya sect in the eastern city of Lahore.
Security forces battled the assailants for several hours in the aftermath of the co-ordinated suicide and grenade attacks on Friday, but some escaped.
The attacks targeted the Ahmadiyya sect, whose interpretation of Islam is rejected by many in Pakistan and who have been singled out by attackers before. Continue reading
We are grateful to Raza Habib Raja to have authored this post for PTH. Today’s horrific events demonstrate that the threat of terrorism and Talibanisation is real and not imagined. Raza Rumi
The Attack on Ahmedis Today
As I write these sentences, the details of the most shameful attack on the religious sites of Ahmedis in Lahore are unfolding. However, this is not new as Pakistan has been the victim of this brazen behavior repeatedly. The thirty years of state sponsored “true” Islam is showing its colors. In Pakistan all the minorities are constantly harassed and state’s protection has often proved completely ineffective when a serious attack occurs. Although the counterargument can also be made that state is not also able to protect even when Muslims are attacked.
In case of Ahmedis it is a well known fact that they have been victims of state induced discrimination also apart from being openly hated by the public. In fact even today as this most in human barbarity was unfolding I had the opportunity to actually hear people in my office saying that though terrorism is bad Ahmedis deserved it. Muslims are an extremely intolerant group and yet extremely sensitive when it comes to their own religious sensitivities. And when such minorities are under attack the state protection has often been particularly inadequate and public condemnation virtually absent. After all we all remember Gojra where the government was completely unable to provide protection to the Christians when attackers attacked their houses and literally burnt people alive. In that incidence, there was no “sudden’ attack but mob actually first assembled after being provoked by the religious clergy and then systematically executed the attack. But even much more horrific was the aftermath where instead of widespread condemnation, the public response was apologetic. That incidence was not a political failure alone. It was national shame and depicted weakness at every level of our society’s moral fabric. Continue reading