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Pakistan: Ahmadis | A sub class of second class citizens — I

A number of Ahmadis have been implicated in charges under the blasphemy law, while their defence, which lies in their faith, is denied under sections 298 A, 298 B and 298 C of the PPC.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: Daily Times | Pakistan
By Mohammed Ahmad | November 19, 2012  

VIEW: Second class citizens — I — Mohammed Ahmad

Ethnic and religious communities that are in a minority in our country are having a torrid time. Hazaras, Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis and Ismailis all are at the receiving end of harassment, discrimination and hatred. All have been relegated to the status of second-class citizens and are systematically discriminated against despite their nominal status as citizens. While not being termed outlaws or criminals, they have limited civil and economic rights and are often subject to mistreatment and violence at the hands of the radicals within the country. Their recourse to legal action is also undermined by the fear that the forces of terror succeed in instilling in the minds of those who matter.

The status of Ahmadis amongst these communities is the worst. The law discriminates against them and is actually used to harass them. Typical impediments facing them include but are not limited to disenfranchisement, limitations on civil or military service, restrictions on religion, harassment at work place, restricted economic opportunity and outright murder. While differing with their viewpoint is the fundamental right of the individual or a community, the treatment that is meted out to them by the radicals and the state, which is hostage to their terror, is inhuman.

While all the voters have their names on a common list, the state has intentionally continued with a separate list for Ahmadis although voting is carried out on the basis of a joint electorate. Knowing that their moral sensibility restricts them from voting on a separate list, the state itself acts in a partisan and discriminatory manner to deny them virtually the right to vote. Considering the fact that the community is generally well educated and socially active, any positive influence has been intentionally kept out to appease the intolerant radicals who, albeit represent a small section of society, want to keep a stranglehold on all major decisions. Thanks to the religious profiling under NADRA, the credit report issued against the Ahmadis’ NICs ensures that their religious identity is disclosed to the officials seeking these reports and restricts the issuance of credit to them in an environment where the radicals have succeeded in polluting the minds of the unsuspecting. Concocted beliefs have been systematically attributed to them to fan hatred and the boycott of products of enterprises with Ahmadi ownership is promoted. There have been reports of some businesses being warned of consequences if they continue displaying such products.

There exists a directive whereby Ahmadis in the armed forces are not accorded intelligence clearance for war courses. The system of promotions is such that each assignment/achievement carries weight. This denial of the right to take a war course effectively takes away the right to rise above the rank of a brigadier in the fighting arm of the Pakistan army, commodore in the Pakistan Navy or an air commodore in the Pakistan air force from all Ahmadi officers. While there may not be any intelligence-related directive there, even the civil services offer no different treatment and the number of Ahmadis in the civil services of the federation and the provinces is reflective of this. Ahamdis are not inducted to certain institutions although the Nobel Laureate, the Ahmadi scientist, Dr Abdus Salam was the moving figure for their development when these were set up. In the private sector too, there have been reports of Ahmadis being fired from service when their faith came to be known to the employers. A number of Ahmadis have been implicated in charges under the blasphemy law, while their defence, which lies in their faith, is denied under sections 298 A, 298 B and 298 C of the PPC. It has been reported that this year, the radical religious activists with the assistance of the police raided some Ahmadi homes and took away the offerings of goats and cows on which they could lay their hands on the occasion of the remembrance of Prophet Abraham’s offering. The same laws were used as the tool of harassment. Though Abraham was a prophet from the pre-Islam period, the so-called guardians of the faith denied the Ahmadis the right to practice their faith.

There are streets in Punjab where graffiti on the street walls abuses Ahmadis and their leader, attributes wrong beliefs to them and incites hatred. Imagine the pain of those who have to live in the same street and see the graffiti daily with no one to wipe it from the wall. While it is unlawful to incite hatred, the police of the area who have knowledge about it, do nothing while they know that tens of Ahmadis have been target-killed in many areas of Pakistan and letting such graffiti stay only makes them more prone to being murdered. Imagine the environment when in the garb of imparting education countering the Ahmadiyya doctrine, the participants are incited to physically harm them through fanning hatred by attributing beliefs to the Ahmadis that they might not even have. While learning reason and logic to counter a doctrine is good, the inaction of the administration tolerating the use of such opportunities to spread radical and violent action is nothing but abetting a crime.

(To be continued)

The writer can be reached at thelogicalguy@yahoo.com

Read original post here: VIEW : Second class citizens — I — Mohammed Ahmad

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