KARACHI: The recent news of an Ahmadi charged with the ‘crime’ of posing to be a Muslim highlights our national confusion on democracy and ignorance of the rights of minority communities. Many political parties claiming to be saviours of democracy have failed to uphold one of the most fundamental principle of democracy i.e., freedom to practise one’s religion. I remember many Muslim scholars preaching that one can learn even from bitter enemies. Look at our so-called traditional foe India, termed by some extremists a ‘kafir’ country, where Muslims get to be presidents and occupy important government positions. The US, probably the most hated country in Pakistan, gives equal rights to all Muslims living within its shores. On the other hand, the treatment meted out to minority communities in Pakistan is shocking.
If a country wants to prosper, it needs to focus on provision of basic human rights to all its citizens. Punishing a 12-year-old Christian boy for blasphemy just does not make sense, neither does punishing a non-Muslim who put verses of the Holy Quran on the wall of his shop. What we need is a revision of laws meant to protect minority communities and sects on an urgent basis, as well as a mechanism that ensures that they are implemented in letter and in spirit.
Akbar Ali Khaliqdina
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.