Source/Credit: The Express Tribune / By Editorial : Published: September 5, 2011
Ahmadis may be killed with impunity because their persecution by a significant segment of society is ignored by the state and the government of the day. PHOTO: REUTERS
The All-Pakistan Students Khatam-e-Nabuwwat Federation haskilled another Ahmadi in Faisalabad, the city where the Barelvi school of thought has been allowing itself to become dangerously aggressive. Naseem Ahmad Butt was shot to death by four youths calling himwajibul qatl (worthy of being killed). The wajibul qatl verdict was given in a pamphlet distributed in the city earlier by the authoritative-sounding Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatam-e-Nabuwwat and the All-Pakistan Students Khatam-e-Nabuwwat Federation, Faisalabad. The police were informed but they did nothing, feeling safe behind their routine categorisation of the crime as ‘blind murder’.
The state of Pakistan must look carefully at this pattern of behaviour. Ahmadis may be killed with impunity because their persecution by a significant segment of society is ignored by the state and the government of the day. Then comes the turn of the Shias and other sects who are not considered outside the pale of faith but who are still, nonetheless, target by extremist fellow Muslims who consider their views heretical. Faisalabad has been dominated for a long time by the Ahle Hadith and Deobandi schools of thought but the the Barelvis are also gaining in influence, and they are not to be left behind in their persecution of the Ahmadi community. This is ironic since the Deobandis, for instance, don’t see eye-to-eye at all with the Barelvis on most faith-related matters and both hurl invective, and sometimes much more, at one another.
The Punjab government has to answer for the deaths that have happened under its rule and this includes not just Ahmadis, but also others, including several Christians, all killed by sectarian and jihadi outfits, primarily in Lahore last year. In the public eye, the view that the Punjab government may perhaps have a soft spot for jihadis is reinforced when its law minister meets and campaigns, prior to a by-election, with the leader of a banned sectarian outfit. This could be part of its strategy to gain a foothold in southern Punjab, since long a PPP stronghold, but such a tactic could be lethal for the province’s population of vulnerable people.
In the process, Pakistan and its social contract are dying a slow death. The pamphlet mentioned above lists 50 Ahmadis who have to be killed in order to “achieve entry into Paradise”. It says the killers will be given a place under the flag of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the chosen place of luxury in the hereafter. The youths of Faisalabad, blighted by loadshedding and religious hatred, will now betake themselves seriously to the transaction of achieving precisely this, while the state sits by and does nothing.