by Usman Ahmed
I have with me, at the time of writing, a number of bumper stickers, leaflets and pamphlets regarding Ahmadis (or Qadianis as they are more derogatively referred to). According to the material at my disposal Ahmadis are traitors, criminals and the very worst kind of heretics. One leaflet is telling me in the most hideously bold type that even if Ahmadis flee to the moon it is the obligation of all Muslims to hunt them down and make their life as miserable there as it has been made on earth. Of course, it fails to mention how this costly venture might be undertaken or tackle the logistical problem of how hundreds and thousands of zealous Muslims, pitchforks, dandas and other fiendish accoutrements in hand, might actually get there. But hey! Forget the feasibility issues, surely it is worth going all the way to the moon to…wait…to…well I don’t know what exactly but I am sure it will be fun once the party gets started– although I suppose not so much fun if you’re an Ahmadi. Continue reading
An exclusive post by Aamenah Yusafzai for PTH
The recent attacks on two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore demonstrate the urgent need to strengthen the rights of Pakistani minorities. Pakistan is not a country inhabited by Muslims only, or even Sunni Muslims. This is represented by the green and white of the Pakistani flag, a fact often taken for granted. The three quarter green represents the majority Muslim population, while the one quarter white represents non-Muslim minorities.
The preamble to the Constitution provides that provisions be made for “minorities freely to profess and practice their religion and develop their cultures.” Furthermore, it provides for guarantees to “fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality.” Article 36 further reiterates the security of minorities by the state by stating that “the State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities.”
The state is required to protect sectarian and religious minorities. Yet it is doing the complete opposite. Section 295B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) calls for life imprisonment for anyone who “willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the holy Quran”. Section 295C imposes the death penalty or life imprisonment on anyone who defiles the Prophet Muhammad. Although not enacted to undermine the rights of minorities, unfortunately, that is what Section 295 is often used for. 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
The Neo ‘Iron Curtain’ and the loud marching steps of televangelistas.
The latest cultural trend is the sensational rise of televangelist channels in U.K, using tactics which can only be described as ‘emotional and religious blackmail’ and premium rate phone charges to raise funds from devotees, most of these are Nigerian Pentecostal ‘Witchdoctor’ (faith healer potions and exorcisms) TV channels operating from London. Generally the term ‘televangelist’ refers to American evangelical splinter churches propagating to solicit donations for converting poor Africans. This concoction of ideologies is being beamed back to Africa and Asia through satellite. Continue reading
Filed under Activism, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Citizens, culture, Democracy, dynasties, Elections, Europe, FATA, Heritage, History, human rights, Identity, Images, India, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, journalism, Kashmir, Labour, Languages, Media, men, minorities, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Palestine-israel, Partition, Politics, poverty, Religion, Rights, Society, south asia, Sufism, Taliban, Terrorism, Travel, Urdu, USA, violence, war, Women, youth
By a Pakistani
The events in Punjab Medical College in Faisalabad recently have brought to the forefront once again a very important and yet neglected issue which continues to blacken our collective conscience as a nation. The expulsion of 23 students for allegedly preaching their faith underscored the sickness that has crept into the majority in this country bringing bad name to the country and the faith of Islam as well. There is need for serious inquiry as to whether this pathetic state of affairs will be allowed to continue and will the Ahmadis continue to be the victims of Pakistan’s version of Jim Crow Laws aided and abetted by a PC0-ed judiciary passing numerous “Dredd Scott” like decisions.
The persecution of Ahmadis even under the present mangled constitution is patently unconstitutional. A fair court of law would have noticed and pounced on the Ahmadi-specific legislation that has crept into our statute books for every single one of these laws violate a couple dozen fundamental rights accorded to the citizens of Pakistan not the least Article 20 which gives every citizen the right to practice and propagate his or her religion without any caveats. The rot however began with Bhutto’s 2nd Amendment which declared Ahmadis Non-Muslim. His law minister, Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, proved himself to be a poor constitutional lawyer when he declared that the National Assembly was sovereign and could take such a step. The correct legal position was that of Sir Zafrullah Khan, erstwhile Pakistani foreign minister and one of the authors of the Lahore Resolution, who argued that it was beyond the scope of the National Assembly to determine the faith of an individual especially under the Constitution of 1973. Even the Islamic provisions of the constitution of 1973 were to be interpreted according to each sect’s understanding and Ahmadis being an established Muslim sect in 1973 were entitled to their own interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. Continue reading
We are publishing this open letter by Shaheryar Ali on the plight of these students who happened to be born in the ‘wrong’ families. As Pakistanis, the Constitution and the laws of the land guarantee equal rights to these students; and there is nothing that can prevent them to attend schools and colleges. If anything, the mob mentality and unruly hordes of puritan brigades need to be contained. They are eating into the body politic – who needs external enemies when divisive forces are all set to unravel the Pakistani society – (RR-ed)
Ms. Sherry Rehman
Federal Minister of Information and Health
Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Dear madam minister, Ill like to draw your attention to the alarming situation which is developing in the Industrial hub of Pakistan. According to the reports published in the BBC Urdu website, the Punjab Medical College , Faisalabad has expelled all its Ahmedi Students. A total of 15 boys and girls have been expelled from the college, they were studying in different levels ranging from first year to those at the end of their academic carrier in the final year. Continue reading