Dated: June 21, 2008
Expelled students have still not been restored
There is no news yet of restoration of the 23 Ahmadi students expelled from the PMC, Faisalabad. The principal, advised by higher authorities, appointed a fresh 5-member committee to look into the case. The committee sent for Ahmadi students and recorded their verbal and written statements.
As the expulsion of all Ahmadi students was arbitrary and highly improper, the appropriate action should have been to first restore all the students. Any fresh committee should have comprised of fair and high-level professors from outside the PMC, so that it could function without pressure from local students and the staff who were the aggressive party in the dispute and its subsequent handling. The committee should have critically examined militant and criminal conduct of the agitating students and held them accountable. During the latest questioning, the committee asked Ahmadi students written statements on their religion, and warned them of being legally responsible for what they write. There are indications that the present committee is finding it convenient to be partial and even hostile to the victims.
Some elements are demanding rustication and prosecution of some Ahmadi students under the Ahmadi-specific laws. In that eventuality, it is only fair to expect that authorities would charge a large number of the violent non-Ahmadi students under the appropriate laws for outraging religious feelings of any class, as they prepared and posted highly slanderous posters against the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya community, in the college and the hostel on 28th May, and also for undertaking wrongful confinement and criminal force on June 4, 2008.
This college has the dubious distinction of having a malicious religion column in its ’admission form’ that restricts the applicants to declare themselves either Muslim or Non-Muslim (no option of conveying that one is an Ahmadi). It is well-known that no Ahmadi would call himself a non-Muslim. Now some Ahmadis are being questioned for writing themselves Muslim.
In a statement to the press, the prestigious and representative Pakistan Medical Association, Faisalabad, through its General Secretary Dr. Rai Qamar uz Zaman, members Executive Committee Dr. Akmal Hussain, Dr. Azhar Awan and Dr. Saeed Akhtar Tariq, termed PMC Principal’s decision to rusticate all Ahmadi students extremely regrettable (Daily Express of June 18, 2008).
Sectarian and politico-religious organizations are being given undue coverage in the vernacular press for their anti-Ahmadi propaganda. Some of these bodies are extremists who are essentially only a few, while others exist only on paper. They have demanded rather unabashedly:
Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), the Jamaat Islami, Anjuman Talaba Islam, Shaban Ahrar, Khatme Nabuwwat organization etc would like to make some political capital out of the situation. A firm response from the authorities should defuse the issue, as happened at the Punjab University last month.
The miscreants of IJT have tried to spread the unrest to other colleges. Agitation was reported at the Rawalpindi Medical College, where three Ahmadi female students were locked up after mid-night in their rooms. The next day Ahmadi students residing in the hostel had to spend the night outside to remain safe and secure against the mischief of miscreants. Even Ahmadi professors were advised by the administration to stay away from the campus. Some unrest was reported at UET Taxila. There were disconcerting news from Nishtar Medical College, Multan, as well.
As some student bodies and their political mentors plan and threaten a law and order situation, it is only reasonable and practical for the authorities to deal with them as a ’law and order issue’ and not a religious issue. A firm response would cool them down faster than some weak-hearted unprincipled seniors imagine and fear.
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