A guide to growing up Ahmadi in Pakistan

Dawn: Welcome, to the beautiful land of the pure. Here, we are blessed with four wondrous seasons and the geographical features are aplenty.

This is a land hard won through the sacrifices of many and now, you too, are a part of this nation of the free.

There is only one small hitch. You are Ahmadi, and life will be slightly more difficult for you than it is for the rest of the citizens of this country.

Though, if we are being honest, it’s not exactly a joy ride for everyone else either.

But never fear, this handy guide will tell you how to navigate through the typically awkward moments of a minority life. Let us begin:

School

Before your first day, your parents will have a serious talk with you which, at the time, may seem a bit odd. They will tell you that people are not nice to Ahmadis, so don’t go about telling everyone you are one. If anyone asks, tell them the truth, but don’t advertise it.

This is for your own good, unless you have been admitted to one of those posh schools in the country. Odds are that some, or many or the children around you are already receiving some kind of training at home to identify minorities and treat them differently. You will find out soon enough.

Also read: My daughter and Kainat

One day you will hear that the girl in section 2B is telling everyone that her father says you are not a Muslim and that no one should be friends with you.

Being gregarious will help you here; since you have a large circle of friends, you can ignore her even though you are trembling inside with fear of the fact that everyone will take her word for it and turn you into a social pariah.

Luckily, seven-year-olds don’t really care that much and you survive with nothing but the belief that your parents were right.

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