By Declan Walsh
Reproduced from www.guardian.co.uk
I often find myself defending Pakistan against the unbidden prejudices of the outside world. No, Islam is not the cause of terrorism. Yes, the Taliban is a complex phenomenon. No, Imran Khan is not a major political figure.
This past week, though, I am silent. The massacre of 94 members of the minority Ahmadi community on May 28 has exposed something ugly at the heart of Pakistan – its laws, its rulers, its society.
It’s not the violence that disturbs most, gut-churning as it was. During Friday prayers two teams of attackers stormed Ahmadi mosques in the eastern city of Lahore. They fired Kalashnikovs from minarets, chucked grenades into the crowds, exploded their suicide vests.
As the massacre unfolded, a friend called – his father-in-law, a devout Ahmadi, was inside one of the besieged mosques. The family, glued to live television coverage, were sick with worry.
Two hours later, my friend’s relative emerged alive. But many of his friends – old men, including a retired general and former judge – were dead.