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Home Media Reports 2002 Which country?
Which country?

The Friday Times

September 13-19, 2002
Vol XIV No.29


Which country?


A few months ago you wrote on the plight of women in Pakistan which I read with a lump in my throat “Women and honour” (TFT July 12-18). May I urge you to write in the same refrain on the Ahmadis? Here is a sample run:

In which other country is a man prosecuted, imprisoned and faces the death penalty, or murder on the streets, for reciting “there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is his Messenger”? In which other country is a man arrested for living in a house which carries the above inscription (as many houses Pakistan do), then is prosecuted while saying his prayers in a police lock-up, is tried on both counts and convicted after a 11 year long trial. At its end a “merciful” judge orders that his incarceration during the trial should be counted towards his sentence. (Case Details) My friend, and your friend, Ardeshir Cowasjee calculated that in traveling between his home, police station and the court all the while, he went round the world twice. And he is just a peasant-proprietor.

In which other country despite joint electorate in which the religion of voters is of no relevance, are separate lists for Ahmadis maintained just because some ferocious mullahs intimidated a general president into doing it even as he rebuked protesting national leaders to “go to court, do not shout”.

In which other country is a minister accused of blasphemy and tried for it (punishable with death) for receiving an advice on assumption of office from his spiritual mentor: “help ye one another in righteousness and piety but not in sin and transgression” as it is so ordained by the holy Quran.

In which other country do thousands upon thousands of people suffer incarceration, boycott, even lynching on the streets, and discrimination in their professional careers just because of their religious belief? A community which once gave to Pakistan soldiers like Gen.Nazir Ahmad, Gen. Bashir Ahmad, Gen. Iftikhar Janjua (the hero of Runn of Kutch and the only general to die in action on the frontline), Air Marshal Zafar Chaudhry, Gen. Abdul Ali Malik (ask Khalid Hassan more about this hero of Chawinda), Gen. Mahmudul Hassan (one of the country's most skilful surgeons) and then, arguably, the best general the Pakistan Army has produced, Akhtar Maik. Ever since Ziaul Haq let loose his Islamic wave of terror no Ahmadi has risen beyond the rank of brigadier and hardly a youth now enters the armed forces.

In which other country does a prime minister visiting his alma mater (as Nawaz Sharif did Lahore's Government College) recall its distinguished old students failing to name Abdus Salam, Pakistan's only Nobel Laureate and, in addition, the first winner of the Nobel Prize from the Muslim world in physical sciences? Nawaz Sharif didn't mention Zafrulla Khan either. Perhaps he didn't know that in its formative years Pakistan, after Jinnah, was recognized in the world through Zafrulla. Perhaps no statesmen of the world has the distinction of having been the President of the UN and President of the International Court of Justice. He brought great distinction to both offices.

The government of Pakistan has no right to patent a faith as it does a beverage in trade. I wish your remarkable journal greater circulation and influence.

Kunwar Idris,

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