Monday, May 31, 2010

The 28th May Ahmaddiya Massacre in Lahore; What Minorities, what rights in Pakistan?

The date 28th May will be written in innocent blood red in Pakistan. Previously the pro-violence, pronuclear bomb fanatics were  devilishly celebrating the day that Pakistan exploded a nuclear device in 1998. For people like me, who do not believe in weapons of mass destruction at all, it was a sad day in any case.We the non-nuclear people are like pariahs in Pakistan and India, where most people believe in using and developing weapons of mass destruction , such as the most hateful nuclear devices, as some kind of religious edicts. The violent and criminal Muslim lobby in Pakistan really loves the nuclear bomb against which the Muslim teachings are clearly against. Both the prophet of Islam, and the teachings based on Quran preach complete non-violence, in every possible way. The wars and use of weapons was used only during his life as a defence and not even as a ravenge as is crystal clear from the "Suleh-e- Hudaibiyya" , a pristine pact that the prophet of Islam made and conducted so skillfully and honestly. The other bright, shining example of his non-violence, tolerance and utter greatness is his giving peace and complete amnesty to all Meccans when Muslims conquered Mecca. There can be no more clearer example of his conduct and character.
Keeping this in mind my head hangs in shame and my heart bleeds at the sheer rejection, the audacity of the criminals who massacred the 80 Ahmaddiya community innocent Pakistani who on the peaceful holy day of Friday were offering their prayers in their religious worship places. Nowhere in Muslim society this kind of violence is allowed ever. The sheer shamelessness of the perpetrators was evident from the fact that the man gunning freely from the minaret, how he was gunning all around brazenly. The surrounding people and the police were almost taken aback as the images on television, live coverage and newspaper reports and pictures  show. ( )
It is evident that all the militant groups are freely accessing Lahore, as shown in FIA building, Moon Market, Cantt area, and Manawan police academy and Sri Lanka team  attacks.The Punjab interior department is totally inept and the senior police officers are not willing to be posted in Lahore as they are not too comfortable with the chief minister. What will happen to Lahore only God knows. Meanwhile this episode will too be put on the back burner, the media will not follow up the case as was done in Gojra massacre and burning and looting case and the Karachi Ashura bomb blast and Karachi markets burning and arson cases.

The 1973 constitution of Pakistan does offer rights to minorities but there is no definition of minorities given. There has been implication that minorities are religious that is other than Muslims and sceduled castes. The definition is not even clear to government functionaries who also presumes minorities as religious other than Muslims. Muslims are defined as Sunnis, Shias, Bohras, Aga Khanis, Ismailis. Ahmadiyyas have been termed non- Muslims as they do not consider the prophet Muhammad as the last prophet.  They are declared non-Muslims in constitution.
There are multiple issues in Pakistan regarding the rights of the minorities as envisaged by the law and many issues which come in racism, intolerance, violence and hatred.
The Pakistan constitution does give some rights as simply religious minorities can practice their religion in places of worship that are seperate from Muslim places of worship. These places of worship come under government control and their allotment, authenticity and physical mainatinence has to be permitted and regulated by the government of Pakistan.The religious minorities have to register themselves as religious minorities , put entry in identity cards, passports, school and college and university admission forms. Many services also have the definition of Muslim applicant for many jobs in goverment civil burauecracy and military. The highest ranks in government, military cannot be non-Muslim. It is not enough to be Pakistani.The evidence in case of rape etc also takes as two adult Muslim males. What about non-Muslim males. There are thousands of such loop holes and deficiencies in law, which make the minorities' rights all the more controversial.
The Hudood ordinance (implemented by general Ziaul Haq to promote and achieve his own nefariuos designs in the name of Islam) also added a very dangerous side and angle to the issue of bieng a non-Muslim and even contradicting the mainstream, popular majority (Sunni) thought. This was the blasphemy law, in which any one bieng thought of saying or contradicting the teachings of Islam may be punishable by death. The sad application was seen in many cases where people were declared blasphemous by enemies and killed without even a trial or even in one case by a guard in lock up on his own whim and hatred. Many Christians have been violently murdered and their churches burnt as they were accused by some enemies as blasphemous. In a recent chuch burning the Muslim community said that the Christians had been living peacefully as neighbours and the village people were not involved.(This happened an year back in Punjab). In cases of blasphemy law the trial has to take place and a judicial process grants the punishment which may be life or death. This has to be  a judicial process. the sad part is that in Pakistan many people, mostly militant Sunni religious groups are killing and doing violence on non-Muslims on their own. This happened some two years back when a popular tv religious talk show host, Aamir Liaqat Hussain spat venom against Ahmadiyya community and some 11 people of this community were brutally massacred in Punjab in retaliation after that. No follow up of this was reported by media. The only thing that we came to know of this was that Mr Altaf Hussain ,leader of MQM dismissed Aamir Liaqat from his party and his ministership.
This kind of free violence is practiced in Pakistan in the name of Islam and even seemingly peaceful citizens tend to shy away and look away and not condemn this violence.The recent death gory drama against the Ahmaddiya community seems to be the same kind of mentality where the non-state actors are freely practicing violence and death penalty against law and without constitutional umbrella.There are at this time about 79 cases pending under blasphemy law in courts whose coverage and reporting is almost nil in media.
 Pakistanis are confused between Islam, democracy, civilised political behaviour and non-state actors' practice of violence under the garb of Sharia and Islamic behaviour. Democracy is defined as the rule of the people , by the people, for the people. it also has issues of proteceting the rights of the minorities against the majority. The US government ( definition of rights of minorities is the best, most exclusive and wide embracing. It guarantees the basic civil liberties in the form of freedom of speech and expression, freedom to belief, religion, practice therof, freedom to differ in views, culture, ethnicity, freedom to access justice.,freedom to address economic disparity, political views, non-discrimination if you are religiously, ethnically, racially, gender, culturally, economically different,or even if you have lost election and are politically in minority. Their all encompassing diverse tolerance creates a political will for a society where the basic qualification to be an American is to be a human. We, in Pakistan are at this day and age not even aware that even in democracy the rights of minority have to be safeguarded in various policy issues and set ups in order to reach a justifiable , egalitarian society.
Till such time that we condemn violence and hunt down and exterminate terrorists and killer groups, no matter what name or Islamic identity they are using, we will not be able to guarantee the religiuos minorities their basic rights of existence in Pakistan. The Ahmaddiya community had a contribution to Pakistan. Their peaceful existence is essential. And who wants a Sunni ( and what sect?) monolithic identity of Pakistan? I for one, dont even believe in majority and minority thing on basis of religion, so this is repulsive any way. We have to condemn the violence of non-state actors in anyway!If we want Pakistan to stay on Earth map, we have to let all Pakistanis be equal human biengs.

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