Stand up and be counted

In Satellite Town Rawalpindi, 'Ewan-e-Tawheed' is in place for the last 17 years. It is the property of Jama'at Ahmadiyya and is used as a place for prayers ever since. Some adventurists have decided to make it an issue and have started a false, baseless campaign of hatred to create problems. There are no concrete issues as such as the miscreants keep coming with new allegations one after another. 

The bottom line is that miscreants want to deprive the Ahmadis of their right to pray and congregate. The miscreants gave an open warning to demolish the 'Ewan-e-Tawheed' on January 29, 2012, also they will not allow this Friday prayers at 'Ewan-e-Tawheed'. 

Resurgence: In order to save our country from the military's follies, 
Pakistan nation must stand up to the military and its bigoted proxies, 
even if it means putting our lives at risk.

The [Ahmadiyya] community is under attack and there are known security threats to community members from these miscreants. Yet innocent and peaceful Ahmadis are not even allowed to defend or protect themselves," read a press release from the Ahmadiyya community.

January 29 is also the date of birth of Pakistan's only Nobel Laureate, Dr Abdus Salam, who was also an Ahmadi. It was tragic to see that on his birthday, a huge rally was organised to terrorise the Ahmadiyya community. We, in Pakistan, really do not know how to honour our heroes and we are not known for protecting our minorities either.

In 1974, Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in Pakistan through the Second Amendment under the Bhutto regime. When General Zia came to power, he brought about even more draconian anti-Ahmadi laws. For decades now, their persecution at the hands of bigots has largely been ignored because of these laws. Defending the rights of the Ahmadiyya community is considered an anathema in our society. 

On 28 May 2010, two Ahmadi mosques were attacked by terrorists in Lahore and 86 Ahmadis were martyred. Apart from a few politicians, nobody was willing to condemn the attacks in unequivocal terms. (Late) Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was the only politician who condoled with the Ahmadiyya community. Such is the state of affairs in Pakistan. Even after the 2010 attacks, many Ahmadis have been threatened and killed because of their faith. The seeds of religious extremism sown over the years now run deep in our polity. It is horrifying to see the way the peaceful Ahmadiyya community is targeted every single day. 

Amir Liaquat, a televangelist, spouted so much venom against the Ahmadiyya community in one of his programmes a few years ago that it led to the killings of Ahmadis; yet he was not held accountable. Anti-Ahmadi banners can be seen in many cities at the busiest of squares and yet no government official has ever dared to take them off despite the fact that hate speech is a criminal offence. It, of course, goes without saying that the state has no business to declare anyone a Muslim or a non-Muslim. Over the years, many Ahmadi families have been forced to flee the country. 

On the one hand, we see the Ahmadiyya community being targeted while on the other there is a Shia genocide going on in Pakistan. Banned terrorist outfits like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) operate freely inside the country with impunity. Shia intellectuals are being killed systematically all over the country. 

The people of the peaceful Hazara Shia community in Balochistan are being killed in throngs while our law enforcement agencies have turned a blind eye to the activities of these groups. The reason is simple: these groups are the proxies of the Pakistan Army. They were created and nurtured by the army for its own vested interests and this is why they are never indicted for their crimes. This is the same military that is carrying out a military operation in Balochistan -- thousands of Baloch are missing and hundreds of them have been found dead. The policies adopted by the Pakistan Army cost us half of our country back in 1971. Once again, due to its policies, we are on the brink of another disaster. 

The international community treats us like a pariah state due to state-sponsored terrorism. The biggest victims of this terrorism are Pakistanis themselves. It is high time that we put an end to the military's highhandedness. The military must go back to the barracks and never interfere in politics. In order to save our country from the military's follies, the Pakistani nation must stand up to the military and its bigoted proxies even if it means putting our lives at risk.

The writer is Op-Ed editor, Daily Times, Pakistan. Reach her at

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