Source: Indian Express
Arguably, Pakistan’s original sin is its construction and treatment of Ahmadis. The treatment of this small community has, in many ways, defined the nature of the Pakistani state more profoundly than anything else. Anti-Indianism is a strong undercurrent in Pakistan. But anti-Ahmadism, arguably, cuts even deeper than anti-Indianism in more intimate and existential ways. It has become more central to Pakistan’s identity as a state. It is almost as if peace with India is at least theoretically possible; peace with Ahmadism, under the current structure, is not. In fact, it could be argued that anxiety over Ahmadism is the core original sin Pakistan needs to overcome. If it can overcome that anxiety, it will liberate itself on so many other fronts.
The current crisis in Pakistan is not simply another instance of the military caving in to assorted radical groups and mobs as helpless politicians watch on. The ostensible issue that triggered the current round of protests was an apparent change in an oath Pakistanis are required to swear if they are running for office or getting passports. The oath requires declaring that Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani (the founder of the Ahmadi sect) is a pretender and his followers are non-Muslims. The protest was triggered by the fact that changes in the election law modified the oath. Instead of saying “I solemnly declare,” the oath now said “I believe”. The change from objective declaration of fact to subjective affirmation of belief, ostensibly due to a clerical error, sparked the current protests.