Could this mean a change in Pakistani attitude towards Ahmadis?


by Sunny
8th June, 2010 at 9:02 am    

Express India reports (via @afpakchannel):

Former Pakistan Prime Minister and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has created ripples in Pakistan’s political and religious circles by saying that the members of the minority Ahmedi sect are his brothers and sisters and that militants should be flushed out wherever they are active.

Speaking a week after 95 Ahmedis were killed during terrorist attacks on two mosques of the sect that has been declared “non-Muslim” under Pakistani laws, Sharif said the Ahmedis too are citizens of the country.

Excellent and brave stance, in a country where militants have always been allowed to get away with massacring Ahmadis for decades without any blowback. Some extremists have inevitably attacked him, but I wonder if this marks a turning point in the debate. I can’t see this being an electoral stunt given it’s more likely to lose him votes than gain any. Although the extremists are suggesting Obama put pressure on him to say that… Say what, Pakistan watchers?


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blog post:: Could this mean a change in Pakistani attitude towards Ahmadis? http://bit.ly/9zixfU


  2. earwicga

    RT @sunny_hundal Pickled Politics » Could this mean a change in Pakistani attitude towards Ahmadis? http://bit.ly/a1RXWd


  3. Bob Connors

    #homeland Could this mean a change in Pakistani attitude towards Ahmadis?: 10 hrs ago >> Christian fundos get mad … http://bit.ly/9ImmuS




  1. Sofia — on 8th June, 2010 at 9:15 am  

    Even if he was leant on to say that, it’s probably not going to win him any new support or even lose him any of his core support. Having said that, he has very close ties with saudi arabia so not sure how they’ll take it.

  2. fugstar — on 8th June, 2010 at 12:20 pm  

    i dont see this having much traction with the murderers.

    He is not making a theological claim. more a civic one.

  3. Jai — on 8th June, 2010 at 12:21 pm  

    The Lahore-based journalist Raza Rumi, a policy analyst and the editor of Lahore’s Friday Times publication, has written a number of excellent articles about this on one of his own blogs, offering an inside perspective from the liberal section of urban Pakistani society :

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/05/29/lahore%e2%80%99s-now-the-latest-target-of-taliban/

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/05/29/lahore-%e2%80%93-a-nightmare-that-is-still-not-over/

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/05/29/al-jazeera-deaths-in-pakistan-mosques-raids/

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/05/30/is-this-jinnahs-pakistan/

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/06/04/bleak-prospects/

    Raza Rumi has some very strong views about the persecution of Ahmadis and the attempts by extremist Islamist groups to “Talibanise” Pakistan. He’s also mentioned in the Al Jazeera article quoted in the 3rd URL link above.

  4. Jai — on 8th June, 2010 at 12:27 pm  

    The Lahore-based journalist Raza Rumi, a policy analyst and the editor of Lahore’s Friday Times publication, has written a number of excellent articles about this on one of his own blogs, offering an inside perspective from the liberal section of urban Pakistani society :

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/05/29/lahore%e2%80%99s-now-the-latest-target-of-taliban/

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/05/29/lahore-%e2%80%93-a-nightmare-that-is-still-not-over/

  5. Jai — on 8th June, 2010 at 12:29 pm  

    (continued)

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/05/30/is-this-jinnahs-pakistan/

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/06/04/bleak-prospects/

    Raza Rumi has some very strong views about the persecution of Ahmadis and the attempts by extremist Islamist groups to “Talibanise” Pakistan. He’s also quoted in this article originally from Al Jazeera :

    http://www.razarumi.com/2010/05/29/al-jazeera-deaths-in-pakistan-mosques-raids/

  6. Hasan — on 8th June, 2010 at 7:48 pm  

    Actually Nawaz Sharif seems to have backtracked on his words after Mullahs lodged a campaign. His spokesperson says he meant all minorities are brothers and should live like brother among them. For anyone who can read Urdu here is the link to news;

    http://www.express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1100963249&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20100608&sms_ss=email

  7. Hasan — on 8th June, 2010 at 7:51 pm  

    Leading Urdu dailies are already spreading venom declaring Ahmadis blasphemers (worthy of killing in Muslim speak) with Punjab government taking no action.
    http://www.express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1100963423&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20100608&sms_ss=email

    Not much change on ground.

  8. Vikrant — on 8th June, 2010 at 9:23 pm  

    Excellent and brave stance, in a country where militants have always been allowed to get away with massacring Ahmadis for decades without any blowback.

    This is laughable… Nawaz Sharif… Anybody with cursory knowledge of Pak politics will know that his party PML-N has been bedfellows with Punjabi Taliban (precisely the punters who massacred the Ahmedis) in a bid to gain power in Pakistan. Wonder how this goes down with his core constituency…

  9. nasir jan — on 8th June, 2010 at 10:27 pm  

    brave man to say that – why cant all other politicians follow in his footsteps

  10. Hasan — on 11th June, 2010 at 11:51 am  
  11. Hasan — on 11th June, 2010 at 3:59 pm  
  12. Hasan — on 15th June, 2010 at 1:06 pm  
  13. Arif — on 15th June, 2010 at 1:45 pm  

    Hasan, thanks for your links, through them I came to learn of thes positive developments:

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/21432/crisis-hotline-for-minorities-on-the-table/

    Let’s hope the hint of repealing anti-minority laws is made into a firm commitment soon.

  14. Hasan — on 15th June, 2010 at 1:50 pm  

    Nawaz Sharif backtracks…back to square one almost

    Statement about Ahmadis misinterpreted, says Nawaz

    PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif has said that the constitution guarantees the rights of minorities and it is their obligation to show respect to the sentiments of the majority.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=244866

  15. Hasan — on 15th June, 2010 at 2:21 pm  

    @Arif:

    May be the first few calls to government hotline can be for persecution under government’s own apartheid laws such as this one;

    ORDINANCE NO. XX OF 1984 PART II – AMENDMENT OF THE PAKISTAN PENAL CODE (ACT XLV OF 1860) (3) 298C… Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who … invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

    ..or against government financed and sponsored hate conferences;
    http://criticalppp.org/lubp/archives/11797

    Problem is not that government does not know but that government itself leads the persecution.

  16. Hasan — on 15th June, 2010 at 2:59 pm  

    @Arif:

    Pakistan is an apartheid state with similarities with Israel. Even some in Pakistan realise that;

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/19048/is-pakistan-like-israel-or-north-korea/
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/20809/is-pakistan-like-israel/

    It’s just that we hear a lot about one apartheid state but not much about the other.

  17. Arif — on 15th June, 2010 at 5:55 pm  

    Hi Hasan, this is a slightly different topic – but in terms of comparisons with Israel, I think there are some comparisons and differences that can be made, and I’m ambivalent towards the ones made in the articles you linked to, especially, Ayesha Siddiqa’s.

    For me the most pertinent comparison is not the role of the military (I think they are very different, as the military is much more integrated in Israeli civil society, partly due to compulsory military service, while in Pakistan it seems more like a “deep state”).

    Nor do I think that Pakistan’s fixation on military solutions is very analogous to Israel’s as the Pakistani military is used to losing wars and territory – but its status is maintained as the last bulwark given the periodic failure of the politicians and civil service to keep Pakistan together. Israel’s military also seems to differ in terms of being an occupying force (placing certain burdens on it), which has fought wars on many fronts and is relatively closely aligned itself with the short and long term strategies of the political class.

    I also think that the weakness of liberal discourses in both countries is due to very different dynamics, and what liberalism might constitute in both countries is probably very different.

    The further comparison with North Korea only makes sense to me in terms of Pakistan’s loss of position as a US client after the Russians left Afghanistan, while Israel’s client status has remained. This has had important repercussions for how Pakistan has to formulate its policies, concentrating on meeting US interests in order to avoid being treated as a rogue state. But is slightly beside the point.

    But I do think the final part of the discussion – on the position of Ahmadis – can be usefully compared to that of Palestinian Israelis. In some ways Israel is perhaps only catching up in terms of Jamaat-e-Islami hysteria about creating loyalty tests.

    The second article is more to the point. Pakistan’s creation has been ambiguous in a similar way to that of Israel (are they legitimising themselves as secular states for the safety of otherwise threatened Jews/Muslims – or are they religious states for the expression of Jewish/Muslim identity) and some of the ongoing political dynamics are related to that. Ahmadis have been easy for both Pakistani sides to target because they have been accused of somehow being a colonial creation to promote divide and rule by others. I think the counter-discourse has to target this lazy perception as an important step.

    Unlike in Israel, I think that Ahmadi rights can also be part of Pakistani nationalist narratives much more easily than Palestinian rights can be part of Israeli nationalist narratives. We could work on that.

    I don’t know if “apartheid state” makes so much sense in Pakistan’s case. Both States would be radically different if they reorganised on a human rights basis. I take the “Apartheid State” to relate more pointedly to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in occupied/besieged territories (like abntustans), for which the division between India and Pakistan is a very imperfect analogy given both sides in this conflict have sovereignty (and Pakistan is probably the weaker party). Nonetheless, in a human rights based discourse, I think those barriers should also be peacefully overcome in both regions.

  18. Hasan — on 17th June, 2010 at 10:26 am  

    I don’t know if “apartheid state” makes so much sense in Pakistan’s case. ”

    Read below article…may be it’ll help…or not…people hate to find themselves as bad as those they like to criticise…human nature

    Why Pakistan’s Ahmadi community is officially detested
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8744092.stm

  19. Arif — on 17th June, 2010 at 12:14 pm  

    Hasan, if you can explain in what sense you feel Pakistan is an Apartheid State, I’d find it easier to discuss this with you.

    In brief, the position I gave above based on comparisons with Israel is that I feel Ahmadi people are treated worse than Palestinian Israelis, but not worse than Palestinian refugees/living in occupied territories.

    If you wish to make the case for the label of Apartheid State, please explain in what sense you mean it. Is it in the sense that their are pass laws, bantustans, separation barriers, social segregation, economic segregation and exploitation, ghettos, limits on contacts as State policy…

    Those are the things I typically associate with apartheid in South Africa.

    It may be that there are these State policies in Pakistan and you need to raise my awareness of it.

    I am already aware of the official discrimination, stigmatisation and human rights violations, which I would characterise as state-supported bigotry. Is this the sense in which you use the term?

  20. Hasan — on 21st June, 2010 at 12:26 pm  

    Pakistan’s Medieval Constitution – Wall Street Journal
    http://tinyurl.com/3xqlt4y

    Unfortunately gone subscription only since yesterday.

  21. Hasan — on 21st June, 2010 at 12:31 pm  

    A strong case can be made against the JI leader for fomenting aggression and religious persecution under the country’s laws regarding hate speech and incitement to violence. – Photo on file

    The street power and political clout wielded by Pakistan’s religious right have resulted in the state and society being held hostage by extremist elements. The latter stop at nothing to further their agenda of inciting hatred, divisiveness and violence. The latest example is that of the Jamaat-i-Islami chief, Syed Munawwar Hasan, who during a sermon in Lahore on Friday threatened a fresh movement against the Ahmadi community if it “did not accept their minority status” and the government kept silent about “their blasphemous and unconstitutional activities”.

    Mr Hasan did not specify any particular instance substantiating his charges, leading one to read his comments as hate speech and also as an attempt to blackmail the government into further victimising an already persecuted community. Given the incendiary passions the issue arouses, any call by religious parties in this context is certain to be attended by violence. A strong case can be made against the JI leader for fomenting aggression and religious persecution under the country’s laws regarding hate speech and incitement to violence.

    Even beyond this particular case, it has now become a matter of urgency that the government show an active and uncompromising stance on the issue of hate speech and incitement to violence or other sorts of criminal activity. Pakistan’s polity is already rent by religious, ethnic and sectarian divisions. Allowing irresponsible and divisive opinions to be aired publicly will deepen these fissures. Once it begins, the process of religious, ethnic and other communities being pitted against one another will prove difficult to bring under control. Spiralling violence, particularly in view of other issues being faced by the country such as militancy and terrorism, can then be expected. It is in the interests of both the state and citizenry to take a stand against inflammatory hate speech and lobby for the prosecution of those who break the law.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/21-hate-speech-160-sk-04

  22. MixMatch — on 21st June, 2010 at 12:43 pm  

    “…or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims,”

    Good grief, that can include almost anything. Perpetual outrage and offendedness seems to be the natural state of Pakistani Muslims.

    I hope the Ahmadis get better treatment. Maybe that can be extended to Christians too, but as we know the western liberal left don’t really give a damn about them, so I won’t expect similar coverage of them here.

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