Area 14/8

imagePakistan, a state built for Muslims but very much inclusive of other ‘minorities’ has on many occasions breached this notion which has led to the society now becoming increasingly intolerant of the ethno and religio-ethnic minorities present within Pakistan. News have been infiltrated with the wave of Shi’i genocides of the Hazara in Baluchistan, Shi’i targeted killings in Karachi and Lahore and now, incidents which are not alien to the past, the killings of the Ahmediyya community.

Pakistan’s ascension to the UN perpetrated the fact that it would adhere to the components laid out by the UN charter. It empowered a commitment to the UN’s human rights charter which suggests clearly the inclusion of the minorities in this present day of affairs and condemns the persecution carried against them. The Ahmeddiyah community set as an outcast during Bhutto’s time through a unanimous decision by the grand Mufti of Saudi who declared them as non-Muslim all together, faces condemnation and persecution frequently. Though they might not coincide with the general school of Sunni belief embedded in the form of a majority in Pakistan’s own soil, many forget the humanized element of their existence and are quick to accuse them of treachery and blasphemy as portrayed in the recent case in Gujranwala.

Three members of the same family were killed as an angry mob set alight their house in Arafat Colony. The mob hastened to committing the act when a young man namely Saqib allegedly posted something which was rendered blasphemous, on Facebook. With this crime being committed so openly, the Pakistan government and now Pakistanis as well, have been turning a blind eye to the massacre being carried out by the locals. This incident can be critically evaluated from many angles. The first and foremost being, that the reason why the angry mob was quick to jump to murder is from the historical concept of Ahmedi’s breaking away from the mainstream Muslim shaft which ultimately led to the declaration of them being outcasts from Islam. So naturally, incidents like that further cements them as outcasts to which the masses respond so violently and violate all sorts of racial abuse laws laid down by the UN which Pakistan has committed to adhering by.

Not only that, another question that then arises is, that; is our lack of tolerance to a people that have grown historically and do still exist now, lead us to create further divisions in the society? Are we then that quick enough to be ‘otherizing’ the masses present rather than embracing the diversity? The events that have occurred have suggested exactly the same and the murders that were committed have been poorly reported by the media.

Blasphemy laws, an area which has been criticized by ‘liberals’ in the country who have either been threatened later or seen their ultimate demise, is still put into question after incidents such as killing of innocents who weren’t even directly involved with the issue at hand. From this incident alone, it seems as if these laws whilst being put into practice has no method of verifying the crime, which has been an underlying element of the law when it came about. If death sentence is the prescribed punishment of one committing a blasphemous crime, then that has been manipulated by masses and instead of now going to specialists of this law, they hold the law in their own hands. Killing an Ahmedi a “non-muslim” or a figurehead such as Salman Taseer who was vocally against blasphemy laws, has now become easy.

The latest criticisms Pakistan has faced are on its support to the Gazans; a conflict that sees little humanity from the Israelis and other states all over the world. Although that is an issue that has seen deep rooted sentiments with the Palestinians and ones against the state of-many who have described as racist-Israel, one can easily look at the turf at home and apply the same model to the Pakistani state. Have we started committing the same crime as we kill citizens that were assimilated into the State since its creation? The racially incited crimes within the country speak in the affirmative. Has Gaza then come home? That is the question to be posed to the factions that incite not only anti-western sentiments but harbor anti-Ahmedi feelings at the same time. The state and the masses then should be able to look into its own faults; as the way Ahmedis have no recognition is almost along the lines of the racial crimes being committed upon the Palestinians.

Human rights have been barred in many issues of the sort. A religion- deeply embedded in Pakistan’s roots and followed by the masses on a large scale- which is to perpetuate peace amongst masses has been intensively manipulated in a way that killing of innocents has been legitimized. Does a phenomenon like that go against the fundamental principles of ‘thou shalt not kill’ completely? The irony of that when applied to masses applying the blasphemy laws, speaks volumes.