Is Pakistan for all

  • This is not cricket

The Sindh governor’s house opened its door to the public for the first time recently. Cute. All that equality and openness.

Now how about Pakistan opening its doors to its own citizens and treating them all equally? Too risky? Oh.

The above is actually a spot-on example of the hollow showiness with helicopters laid on that has suddenly become the trend. This, as opposed to real equality which needs a lot more courage, determination and planning. With the courage falling short right away as demonstrated by recent events surrounding appointments and resignations to the Economic Advisory Council, let’s see how the determination and planning shape up.

When this government elected members to its Economic Advisory Council and selected Atif Mian as one of them, there was a ray of hope for the first time since it came into power, that perhaps the PM was living up to his claims and to what people appear – for some reason – to expect from him. One hoped that maybe he did have some courage, that he was feeling his way forward given the challenges and electing the right persons regardless of their religious affiliation, that after this he would move on to other, larger reform. But no. He does not seem to have the guts to stand up to the extreme right, unlike lone, defenseless women such as (all of them now late) Sabeen Mahmud, Perveen Rehman, and Asma Jehangir.

The prime minister apologised when he retracted Atif Mian’s name as his Cabinet’s finance minister. ‘I didn’t know he belonged to the Ahmadiyya community’ is what he said. That was before he nominated Mian as an office holder to the EEC, and then caved in to pressure and withdrew that nomination as well. This is not cricket, Mr Khan. Like most other persons in government, it is obvious that your exalted position is all that is worth hanging on to, and that you too tend to the extreme right. God help this country. And welcome to the same old ghissa pitta Pakistan, with added scars of shame.

Anyone who wants to bring about real change must show, first and foremost, that the reins they have been handed following elections really are in their own hands

It was an extremely pertinent question that someone on social media posed recently:

Would this dam be halal if overseas Ahmadi Pakistanis also fund this dam?

I mean if later we find out that Ahmadis money was used in this dam too?

Asking so we should make Imran Khan say “everyone except Ahmadis should donate”….

Oh, and also, is Pakistan itself halal, seeing that one of its founding fathers was Ahmadi? Sir Zafarullah Khan, if you remember, was author of the Lahore Resolution, chief negotiator of the Radcliffe Line, and the first foreign minister of Pakistan.

Any comments?

There is an argument that since this is (supposedly) a democracy, and most persons do not wish to include the Ahmadiyya community in matters pertaining to the country (so the argument runs), then the government must accede to the wishes of the majority.

The Ahmadiyya community managed to coexist with the mainstream – after all it is in the Quran 2:257 ‘La Ikraaha fiddeen (there is no compulsion in religion) aside from some incidents. It was not until ZA Bhutto declared the members of this community non-Muslim in 1974 that the real persecution started and gained momentum when ten years after that Gen Zia came up with Ordinance XX which made it illegal for members of the Ahmadiyya community to call themselves Muslim. They must now declare their affiliation and are not, for example, allowed to vote. Or hold public office, it appears.

Both the actions, Bhutto’s and Zia’s took place without any official, objective reference to the sentiments of the majority. The sentiment taken into account belonged to the popular fist pumping segment of society which is the most visible and also the most violent. There has been no attempt to ascertain numbers since either. Therefore, the argument about democracy and what most people want does not stand.

Despite the fact that the majority of people in this country is uneducated, and has had the misfortune of being brainwashed by extremists and other uneducated persons, Pakistan also has the great good fortune of counting among its citizens many, many persons of compassion, basic decency and an understanding of religion. For these people the persecution of a community despite injunctions to the contrary in Islam goes against their nature and good sense.

Anyone who wants to bring about real change must show, first and foremost, that the reins they have been handed following elections really are in their own hands. If anyone else pulls them, that in itself is contradictory to democracy since the rulers the people elected, the visible ones, are not the real rulers. It also goes against democracy if the rulers lack the courage to stand up to threats against loss of life and power. No one else after all is surrounded by as much security, security that the country pays for. What then is it being used for?

The biggest factor is that going against the constitution of a country is a grievous offence. Here is what the Constitution of Pakistan has to say about this matter. This is Article 27 of the Constitution:

“No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.’

This means that ZA Bhutto, our illustrious military ruler after him, and whoever else after him I don’t care to name, have committed treason.

Will anyone stand up against this and against this event in the EAC? Hats off to the two other appointees to the EAC who already did.