Standing up for the Ahmadis

In our land the people have the right to differ with the Ahmadis and to consider them wrong. Persecution is, however, not their right

In the context of the continued persecution of the Ahmadis in Pakistan this scribe recently wrote a column titled “Who will stand for Ahmadis in Pakistan?” Since then I am trying to find the answer.

Have I heard some strong voices in their support denouncing their persecution? With Imran Khan chickening out just before the elections, are these the voices of some brave young politicians and intellectuals? With some others too aspiring for the extremists’ support, are Bilawal Bhutto and Fatima Bhutto responding in the affirmative? Perhaps they have realised that faith is the relationship between man and God, and their liberal grandfather erred when he allowed the state to determine a person’s religion in contradiction to that person’s proclaimed beliefs. Perhaps they have realised that the judgment of faith being the prerogative of God, it was wrong to have succumbed to pressure from the clerics in 1974 in letting them have that one of a kind amendment in the constitution that had declared “Ahmadis as not Muslims for the purposes of constitution and law.” Perhaps they have realised that this single piece of legislation later paved the way for the ascendency of clerics in Pakistan and threw open the unbridled rise of religious intolerance and extremism that has eaten up our social fabric. Perhaps they have realised that what is manifesting as violence against Shiites is an extension of this mindset. Perhaps they have realised that this later paved the way for the military dictator General Ziaul Haq to promulgate laws that made the country most receptive to extremist ideology, and that in turn made pseudo-religious terrorists of the world converge in our area when the time was opportune. Perhaps they have somehow mustered courage from somewhere to say no to the unending quest for innocent blood that a category of mullahs had since developed. Perhaps they have concluded that enough is enough and that the time for the showdown with repressive ideologies has come. Then it all fizzled away as it was just a dream.

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