Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Are they becoming the Klu Klux Klan of Pakistan?

by Salman Hameed

Yes, Ahmadis have already been declared non-Muslim in Pakistan via a constitutional change in the 1970s. Abdus Salam - Pakistan's only Nobel laureate and who made contributions toward the prediction of the Higgs Boson - has been shunned because of his Ahmadi faith. And to get a Pakistani passport as a Muslim, one has to declare that Ahmadis are not Muslims (see an earlier post here).

But this not enough. Now the Khatme Nabuwat Conference wants more restrictions on this particular community, and is asking for the release of the guy who assassinated the Governor of Punjab for his critical views on Pakistan's blasphemy law. Here is the news from the Express Tribune:
The Khatme Nabuwat Conference ended here on Monday with speakers calling for various measures against the members of the Ahmadi community. 
A resolution, proposed by Justice(r) Nazeer Ahmed – member of Islamic Ideology Council, was passed during the Tajdar Khatame Nabuwat Conference, organised by Fidayane Khatame Nabuwat at Aiwan-e-Iqbal on Monday. 
The participants of the conference also stated that Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, has not committed any offence by killing him and should be released. 

Demanding amendments in the country’s laws, the participants said that the religious activities of the Ahmadi community should be banned in Pakistan and their social activities should be monitored. 
Those who attended the conference include Ruet-e-Hilal committee chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, MNA Haji Fazal Karim, MNA Captain Safdar, Maulana Syed Irfan Mashhadi, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Akhtar, Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, Shah Ahmed Awais Norani, Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri, Dr Raghib Naeemi, Mumtaz Qadri’s father Malik Bashir and his brother Dilpazir Ahmed.
Read the full article here.

This is not about race. But what prompted me to think about the KKK in the early 20th century American South is that fact that this group of people is openly advocating discrimination and has been tolerant of violence against minorities. Oh and judging from the list of people above - two are the members of the National Assembly and one holds a prominent post on the lunar sighting committee - they are already entrenched in the political system. What if an outfit like this get even more political clout? I can easily imagine them openly calling for violence against Ahmadis (see an earlier post here) - and this is the reason I thought about the KKK.

The religious parties, however, have never really gained much traction in polls in Pakistan. But more recently, some clerical groups are exerting an increasing level of influence in matters of public sphere. For example, the Pakistan Ulema Council, have recently made prominent statements on the matter of lunar calendar as well as the ongoing blasphemy case against a young Christian girl. Their positions on both matters are not completely insane - but still are very conservative. In the presence of many extreme voices, however, they appear moderate - and have been getting prominent news coverage. I think they are positioning themselves to be a major voice in Pakistani politics for the coming years. And that is some bad news for the hopes of a building an increasingly tolerant society.


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