New York: Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam’s family had communicated to the Prime Minister’s Office in writing its reservations over the renaming of Quid-e-Azam University’s Physics Centre in December last year. But the reservations fell on deaf ears as the family has yet to receive any response from the PM’s Office. Meanwhile, far from lessening the troubles of the persecuted community, the goodwill gesture has effectively led to further persecution and hate speech. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the renaming of QAU Physics Centre to the Professor Abdus Salam Centre for Physics on December 5, 2016. Under the Professor Abdus Salam Fellowship Programme, Sharif also approved a grant for five annual fellowships for Pakistani citizens for doctoral studies in the field of Physics at reputable universities across the globe. These measures to recognise Dr Salam’s contributions had come 38 years after these had been recognised by the international community in the form of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics. On December 6, just a day after the renaming of the Physics Centre, the Ahmadia community of the country was reminded that not much had changed for them in terms of the state-sanctioned persecution of the community. The Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab raided the community’s headquarters in Rabwa, arresting four people and sealing a printing press at the premises. Soon the federal government’s decision came under criticism by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a public-sector advisory body. It issued a statement condemning the decision on December 10. Following that, religious parties also got active and started issuing statements against the decision. In the letter sent from his London residence to the PM’s House in Islamabad on December 10, 2016, Ahmad Salam, son of Dr Abdus Salam, has expressed his reservations over the decision to rename the Physics Centre. “I write on behalf of the entire Salam family, in order to record our appreciation of your gesture to recognise one of Pakistan’s most accomplished heroes. At the same time, we are at a loss to understand why, 20 years after his death, Abdus Salam has only now earned the respect of the Government in his homeland?” asked Ahmad Salam, in the letter a copy of which is available with Daily Times. He has also expressed his grave concerns over raids on headquarters of Ahmadi community’s headquarters. “The government’s facilitation and enforcement of anti-Ahmadi and anti-blasphemy laws and the ensuing sectarian violence has resulted in over 300 Ahmadis being killed in Pakistan, with many scores injured; and to date, not a single person has ever been held accountable for these atrocities,” he said. Ahmad Salam said that the Parliament’s decision, during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ‘s government, to declare Ahmadi community as non-Muslims in 1974 was tantamount to passing a sentence against Dr Salam as well as all members of the Ahmadi community. “I recall vividly the intense pain and suffering this caused to my father, ultimately leaving him with no option but to resign from his official government position,” Ahmad Salam added in the letter. “In spite of this gross miscarriage of justice against all Ahmadis, my father remained loyal to Pakistan. He never relinquished his nationality, nor did he accept the numerous offers of citizenship from other nations, including Great Britain, Italy and India. Yet whenever he was approached by the Government of Pakistan for help, always in an unofficial capacity, he unfailingly and readily offered his services, his passion for Pakistan and for serving humanity taking precedence over all else,” the letter said. In the letter, Ahmad Salam further said, “You may or may not be aware that when the position of Director General of the UNESCO became available in 1987, virtually every UNESCO member state including Great Britain, the USA, the USSR, France, Germany and Italy, favoured that my father assume the role. As he had retained his Pakistani citizenship, nomination rules required that only his homeland could formally propose his name. But Pakistan refused to do so. I was with my father when he met then Prime Minister Junejo in London to present and to plead his case.” Ahmed Salam said that Mr. Junejo informed his father that whilst his case was compelling, his name could not be proposed by the Government of Pakistan because he was an Ahmadi. “Mr. Prime Minister, it would be the Salam family’s greatest wish to see Abdus Salam finally and deservedly recognised by the land he loved. But it is impossible for us to fully accept this hypocritical gesture at face value. Unless and until Pakistan is willing to uphold and defend the rights of all minorities with integrity, equality, and justice, the Salam family must and will disassociate itself and Abdus Salam’s memory from this belated gesture”, he said on behalf of his whole family. He also said, “May I humbly suggest a critical step forward: restore the word ‘Muslim’ on his (Salam’s) gravestone, from where it was so dishonourably erased.” When contacted through email on Thursday, Ahmed Salam told Daily Times that he had yet to receive any response from the PM’s Office. The receipt of the letter had not even been acknowledged, he said. PM House deputy secretary (press) Sarfaraz Hussain was contacted but he said he was not the appropriate person to talk on the matter. He said the query should be referred to Dr Musadiq Malik, special assistant and spokesperson to the PM. However, Dr Malik did not reply to questions sent to him in a Whatsapp message that had been read by the time this report was sent to print. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.