What kind of Pakistan did the founder, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, want? Did he want a liberal democratic Muslim state or a fundamentalist Islamic State? Raja of Mahmudabad, a renowned League member, once probed Mr. Jinnah whether Pakistan was an Islamic State that would run according to Sunnah and Shariah. Quaid-i-Azam turned red and said, “We shall not be an Islamic State”. He justified that there were more than seventy sects of Muslims having differences in religious opinions and faith matters with a variety in practices. The statement depicts the eagerness and vision of Mr Jinnah to prevent Pakistan from radicalisation so that all the communities live in harmony as Pakistanis in the newborn State. Historically, the formation of Pakistan in 1947 was a clear dreadful defeat of the ideologies of anti-Pakistan Islamic forces. Later, these entities adopted various standpoints to mark their acceptance in public. Particularly, pro-Congress ‘Majlis-i-Ahrar’ of Ataullah Shah Bukhari was the worst example for its weightage in Pakistani society. He addressed the Ahmadia issue in order to install hatred among general Muslim masses to fit in and restore their leadership. In this regard, Justice Munir Report of 1954 on Punjab Disturbance disclosed, “it may indeed be said that the Ahrar took their birth in the hatred of the Ahmadis”. Political entities endorsed and supported them for their own political agendas and benefits. Moreover, Objective Resolution and the stern Islamic Provisions in all three Constitutions strengthened the religious stratums for their strong hold on politics, religion as well as the society of Pakistan. Last year the government took action in Hafeez Centre, Lahore against hateful stickers that said “Qadianis are not allowed”, but later surrendered because of huge agitation by the shopkeepers. The social and economic boycott of Ahmadis continues to increase their sufferings History of Pakistan divulges that in any difficult political situation, political parties used ‘Ahmadia Issue’ card to ignite religious forces to get their socio-political benefits wrapped in ‘sacred’ sentiments. Regrettably, 1953’s ‘Anti-Ahmadia Movement’ by Ahrar was allegedly buttressed by Punjab Government Mian Mumtaz Doltana Chief Minister of Punjab was chasing prime minister Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din in a run to replace him peddling Ahmadia Issue. The history paints these egotistical leaders practising their politics in the name of religion audaciously. Consequently, the authoritarian rulers also maintained religious classes to fortify and prolong their powers. The Islamic ideological Advisory and Research Councils have mostly been consisted of rigid, fanatical religious scholars and Mullahs to oblige. In September 1974, ZA Bhutto led Parliament of Pakistan declared Ahmadis in Pakistan as ‘Non-Muslims’. Bhutto regime initiated the procedure under Saudi Arabian hegemony, which made orthodox Mullahs jubilant for solving 90 years old ‘Issue’. Above all, State shall have no concern with the religion of an individual, group or community. Therefore, any State has no right to dictate one’s religion, faith, practice or sentimentalities. For example, if Indian Parliament decide and declare the Indian Muslims ‘Hindu’, would the Muslims agree on the decision? In addition, if we consider it as ‘Ijtihad’ (an interpretation of a religious that has no rich reference in the scriptures) by Pakistani Parliament to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims, do the Pakistani Parliamentarians fulfill the merits of ‘Ijtihad’? Dr Mubashir Hasan, the friend and the Finance Minister of ZA Bhutto accepted that it was a compromise by Bhutto for his power politics. He entitled it a ‘unanimous parliamentary decision’. Instead, it was a mere outcome of Saudi pressure to strengthen their desired perception of sole worldwide Muslim leadership. General-cum-President Zia, who attempted to impersonate ‘Amir-ul-Mominin’, beat Bhutto giving the issue an intensive hype with Anti-Ahmadia Ordinance (No XX in 1984). He somehow succeeded to attract extremist Mullahs and orthodox religious attitudes in order to fill in as agreed leader addressing their anti-Ahmadia sentiments in Pakistani society. The 11-years Zia regime targeted Ahmadis in Pakistan to win fanatic religious stratums in form of persecution, riots, looting and robbing them of their possessions. According to the Anti Ahmadia Ordinance of 1984 section 298B, every Ahmadi is restricted “of call to prayers followed by his faith on ‘Azan’ or recite Azan as used by the Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment… which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine”. Furthermore, the section 298C of the Ordinance declares an Ahmadi ‘who, directly or indirectly, poses himself as Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preach or propagates his faith, or initiatives other 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 descriptions for a term of which many extend to three and shall also be liable to fine’. History of Pakistan divulges that in any difficult political situation, political parties used the ‘Ahmadia’ card to ignite religious forces to get their socio-political benefits wrapped in ‘sacred’ sentiments Instead, constitution of Pakistan 1973 section 20 provided the freedom of practise and propagation of his religion to every Pakistani. Likewise, article 25 guarantees that ‘all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection law’ while article 26 of the same constitution ensures Non-Discrimination in respect of access to public places and elaborate that ‘there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth’. Regrettably, such legislations have ever been fuelling the frustrated fanatics of the society leaving no choice for Ahmadis except to be the victims. Foreign dictated regimes, anti-Ahmadia legislations and sentiments, radicalised ‘Mulaeyat’ culture and illiteracy could have been the ingredients for this social bomb. Disappointingly, no regime ever tried to eliminate the anti-Ahmadia biased laws of the Ordinance XX of 1984 that intensified animosity and discrimination against Ahmadis in Pakistan. After the commencement of anti-Ahmadia Ordinance of 1984, Ahmadis are restricted to use Islamic titles, epithets and descriptions. From promulgation of the ordinance to October 2017, 161 Ahmadis have been booked for using Islamic epithets, 93 offering prayers and 28 for calling Azan. What is more, from 1984 to October 2017, 39 Ahmadis’ bodies exhumed after burial and 65 burials of Ahmadis were denied in common cemetery. According to the reports, Kalima has been removed from 43 Ahmadis’ houses/shops and 103 Ahmadia mosques. “The Government of Punjab has banned the entire written works of the founder of Ahmadiat as also the publishing of the Qur’an and its translations by Ahmadis”. Rabwah, currently known as Chenab Nagar, is the Centre of Ahmadia community in Pakistan with about 98 percent Ahmadi population. Sadar Anjuman Ahmadia bought 1034 acres of land in 1948, adding 275 acres later, for Ahmadis and named it ‘Rabwah’ (a Quranic word meaning a high place). Nevertheless, in 1999, a Resolution moved and passed in Punjab Assembly by an anti-Ahmadia cleric Molana Manzoor Chinioti against the consent of its population changing its name to Chenab Nagar because Rabwah is a Quranic word and Ahmadis being “approved non-Muslims” cannot use a word from Quran. In addition, District Development Authority Jhung acquired Rabwah’s more than 37.5 acres residential land near Chenab River bank and sold it to non-Ahmadis (who named the area as Muslim Colony). In spite of Lahore High Court’s stay order, the sale and purchase of this disputed land continues and Courts decision is “delayed” for decades. Rabwah, with more than 70,000 Ahmadi populations, has 100% literacy rate, maximum population is taxpayer and adding up handsomely in the foreign reserves of the Country. However, Punjab Government as well as the local public administration does not facilitate the inhabitants with sewerage system, public health, educational institutes, and proper infrastructure. Public offices do not entertain locals without bribes because local Ahmadis have no political enrolments and affiliations. Many Ahmadia educational institutes including Talim-ul-Islam School, Talim-ul-Islam College, Degree College and Jamia Nusrat were also taken by Bhutto Government. in 1970s. These educational institutes portray miseries of fanatic mullahs and their ideology in the governing bodies. The government is still reluctant to return the institutes to Ahmadis while many Christian institutes have been returned. Furthermore, ‘Rade Qadianiyat’ Courses and anti-Ahmadia literature by fundamental religious bodies fan the hatred in Pakistani society against Ahmadis. Awkwardly, in Khatm-i-Nabuwat Conferences and in the processions of Eid Milad-ul-Nabi, Mullahs deliver anti Ahmadia speeches; openly abuse the Ahmadis particularly marching through Rabwah (the center of the community). Anti-Ahmadia hate material is easily available on streets, mosques, bookstalls, and social media as well as on walls all over the country. On the other hand, Ahmadis are not even allowed to response as all the Ahmadia journals and periodicals are banned by the government. Such policies cause brain drainage leaving no choice for thousands of Ahmadi doctors, engineers, lawyers, professors and professionals except to migrate to Europe, USA, Canada and Australia, which is a drawback for socio-political and economic uplift of the Pakistan. Last year, 80 years old bookstore-keeper Ahmadi Abdul Shakoor prisoned under Anti-Terrorist Act for selling Ahmadia books only to Ahmadis. On this, “Chairman USCIRF, Daniel Mark advocated on behalf of Mr Abdul Shakoor, Ahmadi book store-keeper of Rabwah and his Shia shop assistant, both suffering long imprisonment under Anti-terrorism clauses etc. He has done that as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project which highlights individuals imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief, as well as the dedicated advocacy of USCIRF Commissioners working for their release”. In August 2017, UN demanded to abolish blasphemy laws and separate voter list of Ahmadis, which increased sufferings of Ahmadis in various parts of Pakistan. JUI(S) took pre-emptive action to keep Pakistan Islamist. In 2016, Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) raided on Ahmadia offices and Zia-ul-Islam Press in Rabwah banning all Ahmadia publications and periodicals is the worst of all even though nothing controversial recovered. During last six months, three cases against Ahmadi mosques and constructions of community centres, 6 events of work place and general harassment, 4 cases of hostility in Bazar/shopping, 3 cases of alleged blasphemy and harassment by Mullahs, police as well as CTD. In January 2018, case of refusal to join mainstream to Ahmadi job while article 27 of the Constriction provided the safeguard against discrimination in services’ and 6 cases faith based cases/assault against Ahmadis also reported during last six months. Moreover, in August September 2017 on Eid-ul-Adha, many events of violence against Ahmadis due to Qurbani (animal slaughter) reported particularly in Punjab. Ahmadis have been facing many neighbourhood issues (mainly in Lahore and all big cities of Punjab) during last six months; supported by fanatic Mullahs in different localities. In October 2017, an Ahmdi Mr Mubashir Ahmad in Bhoiwal district Sheiphupura sentenced to death only ‘for tearing anti-Ahmadia stickers/pamphlets’. In October 2017, anti-Ahmadia activists captured Ahmadia cemetery in District Faisalabad. Local Ahmadis protested peacefully in response, yet 20 Ahmadis ended up in prison under PPC 407/451. Anti Ahmadia stickers and posters are pasted in Public places, markets of small and big cities commonly. Last year government took action in Hafeez Centre Lahore against these hateful stickers (Qadianis/Marzais are not allowed), but later surrendered because of huge agitation by the shopkeepers. Moreover, social and economic boycott of Ahmadis is intensely increasing their sufferings. Governments have banned the annual games, jalsas/ijtimas (gatherings) conferences, educational and support competitions as well to contain them. The extremist Mullahs violate the National Action Plan on daily basis with harsh statements in conferences and gatherings against Ahmadis but Government. do not take any stern action against this extremism. The State supported persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan, is no doubt a question mark on the integrity, prosperity and harmony of the Nation. In February 2018, PML-N led regime of Azad Kashmir proudly caught up Pakistan declaring Ahmadis ‘Non-Muslims’ through an amendment in the Constitution. PM Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider anticipated that ‘his government was taken pride by bringing this amendment in the Constitution’. Instead of educating public with sympathy and kindness, these politicians are striving to win public and religious classes by inciting them of Ahmadia issue. The column for ‘Religion’ in official documents, anti-Ahmadia laws and behaviour of religious and political parties towards Ahmadis are certainly effecting the national integration and reputation of Pakistan internationally. Whereas Ahmadis have never been involved in anti-state activity but perceived as traitors. On the other hand, Ahmadis ever remained loyal to the motherland participating in the development of their beloved Pakistan regardless of any acknowledgement at any level. What they demand, are their legitimate rights as independent citizens according to the Constitution of Pakistan. The writer can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, March 13th 2018.