Ahmadis have recently come under threat again, with five having been shot in separate incidents around Punjab. While the phenomenon of Ahmadi persecution is not new, what is alarming is the recent judicial decision that may have led to anti-Ahmadi elements becoming more brave to carry out their actions.
In a historic judgment, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has decided to create more space for the anti-Ahmadi sentiment in the country. This has been done by a verdict regarding a clause in the Election Act 2017
According to Justice Siddiqui, it is necessary for all the civil servants (bureaucracy, judiciary, military, naval, and air forces and other sensitive and important institutions) to declare their faith
This is because he believes for many years, Ahmadis have been occupying lucrative positions in the state without declaring their faith. The amendment in the Khatam-e-Nabuwat clause was done to facilitate them, according to him, and that has now been reversed with this judgment.
What this means in actuality is that these people with a different set of beliefs should be highlighted, purely because of their belief and that should be able to come in the way of the work that they want to do. It does not matter how qualified they are, they cannot attain the top positions as civil servants because if they get these positions, they will work against the “actual” Muslims of the nation.
The judgment according to many is neither as a sign of bigotry nor a way to target an already persecuted community in the country, which is the sad reality. We tend to close our eyes to the harsh reality that we target segments of our own society, we demonize our own people and refuse to call it a genocide.
Journalist Gul Bukhari has drawn a very apt parallel of this development to the setting of Nazi Germany. In her tweet she says
The IHC judgment today on the Khatme Nabooat case… disallows Muslim names, or the forced addition of Marzai as last name; documentation of each Ahmadi, much like the Jews in Nazi Germany, to deny them ‘dignified’ jobs. What is this country coming to..
— Gul Bukhari (@GulBukhari) July 5, 2018
If the state itself gets involved in the marginalization of a community despite promises of freedom to practice their religion and not sidelining them because of it – then we should not be surprised when people take matters into their own hands and either end up ruthlessly murdering Ahmadis or destroying their worship places.
There are countless examples of the two scenarios mentioned above.
Peace loving, Tolerant and followers of the religion of peace and religious freedom just destroyed the religious place of Ahmadis in Sialkot. This is a routine practice that mob attacks the minority and they get away with it.#Ahmadi #Sialkot
— P Pe Yaqeen (@emad_arshad) May 24, 2018
BREAKING: Sunni extremist mob sorrounds homes of Ahmadi Muslims in Chak 368 (near Layyah, Punjab), threatens violence. To appease mob, police have arrested local President of Ahmadiyya community. Share to condemn this religious extremism & stand with the Ahmadis. #AhmadiApartheid pic.twitter.com/btaBxQt9Dt
— Kashif N Chaudhry (@KashifMD) July 1, 2018
If we decode the verdict further, it says that every Pakistani has the right to know the faith of the people who are devising their policies
This means that in order to ensure that the decision of the Pakistani state is in the right hands and the right decisions are being made, we need to know the faith of the individuals involved.
The irony is that a high court judge fails to recognize that faith never stopped anyone from indulging in wrongdoings. We have several cases pending in the accountability courts, and the individuals involved are not necessarily “non-Muslims”. The idea itself is inherently flawed and based on a deeply-rooted disregard for a particular group of people.
Decisions of the court are never and should never be marred by personal biases, especially when this takes place at the expense of the lives of the citizens of our own country.
This decision is rightly being questioned by the citizens of the country, who believe that such blatant marginalization at the hands of the state needs to be ended.
Next declaration by IHC:
Ahmadis should not call themselves Human beings. This will be punishable by three years in prison! https://t.co/Hv2WPVlywR
— Mansoor Qureshi MD (@man_qureshi) July 6, 2018
Several have also pointed out this bigotry of the state to just label them as anti-nationalists
We are talking about an entire group being labeled as anti-nationalists. The same phenomenon when takes place in the West, we criticize them for being racists.
In a nutshell: Ahmadis are Zionist imperialists planted by British and cannot be trusted to hold sensitive positions in any govt body. So people must declare their religious affiliation in form of an affidavit while getting an ID card or while getting a govt job. v @theRealYLH https://t.co/BtUGGHn0KL
— beena sarwar (@beenasarwar) July 5, 2018
Many have alerted the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which Pakistan is a part of because it believes in upholding the rights of people regardless of who they are and what they believe in
We also have examples of state ministers saying that since the constitution mentions giving rights to minorities, that makes Pakistan a very tolerant nation. However, the dilemma that our legislature is very strong but its implementation is equally poor is not lost on everyone. If only our laws started being implemented, the majority of the problems of the country would cease to exist.
Look! The real mindset of ruling elite. Fed. Info Minister Barrister @SyedAliZafar1 says, the constitutional rights given to religious #Minorities is an example of #tolerance in Islamic Pakistan. Such biased statement is much Condemnable! @Razarumi @mazdaki @theRealYLH @AyazGul64 pic.twitter.com/wivFUlKhL6
— (((Ben-Hur Gill))) (@Benhur_Gill) July 5, 2018
Such sentiments and legislature are bound to affect the Ahmadi community. And when they express resentment, they are labeled as anti-state
Here is what the problem is
When you actively start demonizing your own people within their own country, they are bound to not only feel alienated but also develop feelings of resentment for the laws and rules which should be protecting them. By passing such laws you are justifying the acts of the many who take law into their own hands and take lives as a result. You are teaching an entire generation that they cannot get lucrative positions in their own country because at every step their qualification and dedication to the country is challenged.
cover image via pakistantoday.com.pk