One year after attack on Ahmadis

Published: May 29, 2011
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Local residents and rescue workers take cover during an attack on an Ahmadi worship centre in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu neighborhood on May 28, 2010. PHOTO: FILE

Local residents and rescue workers take cover during an attack on an Ahmadi worship centre in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu neighborhood on May 28, 2010. PHOTO: FILE

Ahmadis across the country remember the horror that struck Lahore a year ago on May 28th, 2010. At least 88 Ahmadis died that day in coordinated gun and bomb attacks on two places of worship used by the community in Lahore. Ahmadis are, of course, not permitted under special laws directed towards them, to call these places ‘mosques’. We wonder how many other citizens remain concerned about the terrible events that took place that day or the fact that even now no justice has been obtained for those killed by the unknown attackers. There seems to have been no determined effort on the part of authorities in Punjab to track down those responsible or to ensure that such an incident never takes place again.

In the current environment, it is more than likely that this will happen. Ahmadis in our society have been pushed to the very sidelines, and little has been done to protect them from ferocious clerics who dub them as infidels or worse on the basis of their beliefs. As a result of this the four million or so Ahmadis in the country continue to feel threatened and insecure. Dozens are killed each year in attacks based on belief. In 2010, this number stood at 99. They are also persecuted by other means. For instance, discrimination against Ahmadis in matters of employment or even admission to schools is no longer uncommon. In some communities, they have been declared outcasts, banished from marriage functions or other events.

There is only one way to change this. In the first place an example must be set by drawing the Ahmadis back into the mainstream of the population. This can best be done by removing from the statute books the specific laws that give them a diminished status. As part of the same process, it is also vital that those behind the attacks in Lahore be tracked down and brought to book. This is the only way to ensure that an example is set which prevents others from adopting a similar course of action and offers a community that has remained under siege almost since the creation of Pakistan some measure of safety.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Adnan
    May 29, 2011 - 9:03AM

    “This can best be done by removing from the statute books the specific laws that give them a diminished status”??….
    Do you want them to be declared muslims?? Not to be called as Murtidds what they actually are! I am sorry for what happened to them last year was not right but that solution of yours is not in the least implementable.
    do you forget the incidence of bomb blasts in muslim mosques? you know the condition of justice system in the country better than i do. All the terrorists who are arrested have to be released by courts becuase of no solid proofs. The politicians only care for themselves. they care the public damn!Recommend

  • M M Malik
    May 29, 2011 - 10:36AM

    The stifling and specific laws for Ahmadis have forced them into an environment very similar to early days of Islam in Mecca. Recommend

  • Zion
    May 29, 2011 - 6:30PM

    @Adnan: my friend my only advice to you is if you don’t have a constructive solution then don’t commit yourself into saying things you apparently have no idea of. You are talking the language of mullah, whose bread and butter is creating dissension, Sunni, Shia, wahabai, deyo bandi, who respects who is very obvious to everyone? It is the lack of moral courage of general masses, and the nuisance value of the mullah, that people have learnt to live like this. Can you see the results of that now in the society at large, the actions and daily lives of the so called ‘constitutional muslims’ – is it according to the teachings of Islam? Can you find me examples of such treatment during the times of Holy Prophet (saw)? I think you won’t be able to. Don’t commit yourself to Allah’s justice system.Recommend

  • mahmood
    May 29, 2011 - 6:45PM

    This massacre is one more example of how xenophobic extremism is not only tolerated but often encouraged in Pakistan — I still recall how your so called “religious leaders” blamed the victims after this attack — shame on you.Recommend

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