Inhuman acts

Emergencies are a time when the best of man – and the very worst – comes out into the open.

Editorial August 19, 2010

Emergencies are a time when the best of man – and the very worst – comes out into the open. In southern Punjab, where leaders of the Ahmadi community say relief goods or a place in camps was denied to flood victims from their faith, the worst has been on display. The treatment of Ahmadis as sub-human is a consequence of years of discrimination stemming from that fateful decision in the 1970s to declare them ‘non-Muslim’. The result of the state’s decision to determine what belief people practice, regardless of their own assertions, has been catastrophic. The massacre of Ahmadis we saw earlier this year in Lahore is one outcome of this. The increasingly vicious campaigns they have faced have obviously had an influence on poisoning minds and influencing the kind of disgraceful behaviour we have seen following the floods.

But sadly, this is not the only example of such conduct. Humanitarian workers out in the field report many examples of bias. In some cases aid has been denied to those from specific castes or clans; in other instances the weakest and most vulnerable have been pushed aside. Christians in the Punjab are reported to have complained about discrimination and it is possible other minority communities have faced similar experiences. While most international and all UN organisations are bound by their own charter to ensure equitable distribution of aid, and usually attempt to follow them, local organisations may not have rules that are as stringent. Some reports already speak of groups affiliated to religious parties being behind some of the worst acts of deprivation on the basis of belief.

So, what does this say about us as a people? As a society? Do we even deserve the distinction of calling ourselves civilised human beings? It is true that the government for now has a lot on its plate. But despite this, an effort must be made to investigate the incidents in Muzaffargarh and elsewhere. It seems obvious they could not have taken place without the connivance of local authorities, who must be made to answer for their acts.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2010.


Tauseef Khan | 11 years ago | Reply It shows that Pakistan has been taken hostage by the hate mongering mullahs. Instead of instilling love, through their Friday sermons they have filled every Pakistani with hatred for others: Ahmadis, Christians, Shia, Americans etc. Justice Munir rightly warned in the '50s that if the leadership bows to the mullahs then no one will be safe and this country will become a hotbed of hatred and violence. The irony is that the Ahmadis, who were the most staunch supporters of the creation of Pakistan and have consistently laid their lives for its protection, have now been ostracized from the society. The treatment meted to them is so horrific that even some animals probably live a better life in Pakistan. When will Pakistan learn! Anyhow I congratulate Express Tribune for bringing this issue into light as Ahmadi persecution coverage is systematically censored from the vernacular press.
Anwar Ahmad | 11 years ago | Reply It is very unfortunate that at this time of great disaster and calamity when nearly half of country’s population is affected in one way or other, bigots and hate mongers have not forgotten their outrageous agenda. Not only denying shelter and relief to displaced Ahmadis, their killing machinery is in full swing. An Ahmadi Doctor was targeted in Karachi on 17th only for his faith and today another prominent Ahmadi has been gunned down in Sanghar. Fanatics have converted Pakistan into a shameless butchery.
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