The Ahmadi population remains under what is a constant state of attack. Reports of assaults and murders are received frequently. Now, about two years after the attack in Lahore that killed some 100 Ahmadis while at prayer, a court in the city has ordered the police to act ‘under the law’ against one of the Baitul Zikrs that was fired upon and bombed. Ahmadi-specific laws enforced in the country, since the 1970s, prevent the community from “posing” as Muslims or calling their places of worship “mosques”. The plaintiff in the case had already demanded that the minaret and dome of the building be demolished and the Kalima, which is inscribed on the building, be removed. The police had in fact already boarded up the latter to hide it from sight. The Ahmadis have a different version where they state that the verse was not removed, as required under law, and has existed before such requirements were introduced.
The treatment meted out to the Ahmadi community is a very biased one, where they have faced year after year of persecution and abuse. Further disturbing is the reality that there is no sign that such practices will end soon. In fact, this will not happen until drastic change in policy and efforts to alter how things stand right now begin swiftly. There is another rather ironic aspect to all this. A state-of-the-art hospital in Chiniot district, in the city of Rabwah — renamed Chenab Nagar by the last PML-N government to rule Punjab in the 1990s — runs a service for patients of all beliefs and creed at an extremely nominal cost. People from across Punjab and other areas of the country flock to it in huge numbers. Yet, this humanitarianism is rarely spoken of or mentioned in what remains essentially a highly-biased media. Ahmadi leaders say that even those who use such services continue to vilify the community.
The latest ruling in Lahore shows the extent to which our forces can stoop to make the Ahmadis feel as though they are outcasts of society, conveniently ignoring the lack of similar prejudice from them, despite the Pakistani society’s many injustices towards them.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.
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