Discriminates against Ahmadi's Turkey
"Naya Pakistan" new pakistan was the slogan of Imran Khan during his election campaign in 2018. He wanted to liberate the country from the corrupt elites and the political family clans that had sucked Pakistan like leeches for decades.
The populist election promises of more justice, tolerance and better participation raised high hopes among the young population. At the end of 2018, Khan won the elections and became prime minister, albeit with a little help from the powerful "establishment", the military.
After his inauguration, he once again swore that he wanted to continue the fight against corruption and extremism in society. After almost two years in office, little of the promised changes can be felt. Recently, Khan's close confidante got caught up in corruption scandals and Pakistani society has certainly not become more tolerant.
Ahmadiya Muslims excluded
This is exemplified by the example of the National Commission for Minorities. In 2014, the Constitutional Court instructed the government after a wave of attacks on religious minorities a "National Commission for Minorities" to bring into being. The commission is supposed to monitor the observance of the constitutional rights of minorities and to advise the cabinet on minority issues. The government recently commissioned the Ministry of Religious Affairs to set up such a forum, whereupon the Minister of Religions Noor-ul-Haq Qadri presented a commission in the cabinet with representatives of all religious minorities, with the exception of the Ahmadiya Muslims.
When some cabinet members expressed their displeasure and asked the Ahmadis to give a representation in the commission, it sparked a heated controversy. Islamist parties, politicians, scholars, government ministers and also the common people unleashed their anger and hatred over the participation of the "Qadianis" - pejorative term for Ahmadis - in a government body.
Calls for murder and boycott were made on social media, and the hashtags "Qadianis the worst infidels in the world" and "Qadianis the worst traitors" trended for several days. The Minister for Religious Affairs, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, said in a television interview a few days later: "Anyone who shows sympathy or compassion for the Qadianis cannot be loyal to Islam and Pakistan."
Imran Khan's "U-Turn"
The Khan government gave in to pressure and categorically ruled out Ahmadis' participation in the commission, claiming that the Ahmadiyya issue was a "religiously and historically sensitive" matter.
Actually, that was foreseeable. The first U-turn, known as the "U-Turn" in Pakistan, was made by Imran Khan in late 2018 shortly after his inauguration. His Economic Advisory Council (EAC) was made up of renowned experts, including the world-famous economist and professor at Princeton University Atif Mian, an Ahmadi. Atif Mian is ranked among the top 25 economists in the world by the IMF. News of Mian's appointment quickly caught religious hardliners, who demanded his immediate removal. Khan then bowed to the pressure and forced the scientist to resign from the EAC.
Pakistan's dealings with the Ahmadis and the obsession with religious identity are symptomatic of the radicalization of society that pervades all areas of life and is reflected in national legislation. In 1974 the Ahmadis were declared a non-Muslim minority because they saw their founder Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the expected Messiah and one ummati nabi consider an intra-Islamic prophet.
Since 1984, in addition to the notorious blasphemy laws, the so-called Anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX has criminalized practically all religious acts of the religious community. It is forbidden for them to call themselves Muslims, to call their mosques a mosque or to "pose like a Muslim" to behave like a Muslim, whatever that means. Therefore, for example, the simple greeting "Assalamu alaykum" (peace be upon you) can be a violation. In fact, Ahmadis have landed in prison for these "offenses".
Despite repeated criticism from the UN, HRW, Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, medieval justice remains in force. Criticism of this legislation can be fatal, as in the case of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab.
Taseer had stood up for Christian Asia Bibi, who was accused of blasphemy, and the blasphemy laws "kala qanoon" ("Black Law") called. For this he was shot by his own bodyguard in broad daylight. The murderer of Taseer, who has since been hanged, is venerated like a saint by a prepared section of the population.
The outlawed minority
The Ahmadis belong to the most persecuted and ostracized minority in the South Asian country. In Pakistan, it is easy to put pressure on political opponents and rivals by accusing them "qadiani nawaaz"Qadiani-friendly or worse, the same one Qadiani to be.
The accusation alone forces the accused on the defensive and they must first and foremost testify to their "correct" beliefs. Even the powerful army chief Bajwa was not spared that. In bazaars and shops there are often posters hanging in public with the words "Qadians are not allowed to enter" or "Qadianis should first enter Islam and then my shop". "Qadiani" products such as the popular Shezan mango juice are warned as if mango juices also had a religion.
Daily calls for murder from scholars like "qadiani wajib ul qatal hen" (the Qadianis must be punished with death) have no legal consequences. When in 2010 the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after two devastating terrorist attacks on Ahmadi mosques with over 80 dead, the marginalized minority withour siblings addressed, he received severe criticism from the mullahs, because "Qadianis" could never be siblings of Muslims.
Meanwhile, the agitation in the social networks continues unabashedly and in the endless TV talk shows all kinds of politicians and scholars talk about the minority. But those who never have a say are the Ahmadi Muslims themselves. They are not asked for their point of view by any mainstream medium. And Ahmadi publications have been subject to a state ban for years. A discussion on equal terms is impossible and accordingly the one-sided anti-Ahmadiyya narrative dominates the discourse.
The Ahmadis are mere spectators in a drama where they have been charged, convicted and already punished without anyone ever hearing them.
© Qantara.de 2020
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