Source: The Asian Age
THE ASIAN AGE. | BHOPINDER SINGH
This perforce ensures that the Ahmadiyyas do not sign it and therefore are debarred from visiting Mecca to perform the Haj.
Pakistan’s fate hangs precariously on the edge of earning Donald Trump’s executive ire, owing to the incontrovertible record of harbouring terror nurseries. The patent Pakistani ploy of designating such elements as, “non-state-actors”, when cornered or exposed, is unsustainable as Donald Trump had shown his mind on the subject during his campaign trail, when he had alluded to Pakistani duplicity with the tweet, “When will Pakistan apologize to us for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden for 6 years?! Some ‘ally’.”
As Pakistanis join the global chorus of calling the US immigration ban to be a “Muslim ban”, and rightfully question the intolerance in the US executive action, they overlook the similar officially-sanctified intolerance in Jinnah’s Pakistan. The retrogressions of Pakistani society go beyond the traditional strains of the sectarian Sunni-Shia divide and the more expected animus towards minorities like the Hindus, Christians, Parsis – it is deliberately formalised persecution of the ostensible, “Non-Muslim” Ahmadiyyas (approx. 4 to 5 million adherents), that is particularly pertinent.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto betrayed his supposedly “secular” moorings when he initiated the excommunication of the Ahmadiyyas in a bid to solidify himself amongst the reactionary forces with the passing of the parliamentary bill that declared them to be “Non-Muslims”, in 1974. Later, these same retrograde forces consumed Bhutto himself and naturally aligned themselves with the openly puritanical instincts of Zia-ul-Haq. The revanchist Zia-ul-Haq further institutionalized the intolerance against the Ahmadiyyas, by criminalizing their usage in Islamic texts or titles that bridged their identity with the majority Sunni sect. The ordinance detailed severe penalties to any potential attempt at identifying Ahmadiyyas to mainstream Islam (hence, the place of worship could no longer be called a “mosque”), and their ostracisation was given the sovereign stamp.
This official intolerance is so steeped that Pakistan never really accepted the first Muslim Nobel laureate in the field of science, Dr Abdus Salam, whose grave had to face the indignity of the Pakistan government removing the word “Muslim” from the epitaph that originally read, “First Muslim Nobel Laureate”. Similarly, Pakistani military folklore with the likes of Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik in the 1965 war and the inspirational leadership of the senior-most Pakistani officer to have died in Military Operations, Major General Iftikhar Khan Janjua, in the 1971 Indo-Pak war are relegated to the historians to muse, as the official narrative plays down the heroics of these Ahmadiyya-officers, as that could legitimize their first-class citizenship.