First they came... Rise of sectarian violence against Shia community

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Pakistan a country brutally dangerous for all its citizens alike due to growing terrorism and high crime rate due to emerging unemployed youth, but lately, perhaps minorities have become easy prey for extremist organizations working under the umbrella of extreme right-wing religious-political organizations.

In the recent wave of terror attacks, the heat has shifted from a more natural prey of Ahmadis to Shia living in Pakistan. Here, I prefer using 'natural' for Ahmadis as the state already endorses limited constitutional discrimination, and wouldn't mind if someone likes to take it one step further. However, Shia Muslims believe to be part of mainstream Islam in the interpretation of the majority of Muslims as well as the Pakistani constitution, but still, they have become the target of recent assassinations and bombings, which are the part of over 3 decades sectarian violence rooted under Zia regime. While looking over it from a historical perspective, the systematic attacks started during the end of the '80s when anti-Shia organizations like Sipah-e-Sahaba emerged over the violent political scene.

In a post-sectarian violent Pakistan, all collaborated enmity was focused on Ahmadis, whose religious views have an interpretative difference from the beliefs of mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims. This partnership of mainstream Muslims leads to the darkest time for human rights of one fraction of society when the state indulged in people's personal matter by defining 'Muslim' which paved the way for future discriminating laws in the name of religion. Here, this mainstream Muslim brotherhood between Shia and Sunni Muslims proved far from sustainable. As in statement of famous German theologian Martin-Niemöller 'First they came...', here Shia Muslims remained a part of the ant-Ahmadi constitutional amendments including Ordinance XX until there was no religious freedom was left for minority Ahmadis living in Pakistan. After these constitutional amendments, Ahmadis became the target of legal hunting in courts as well, and they became more distant from mixing in mainstream Muslim social circles. The fact that the Shia community never anticipated was, next in line, were they themselves. Once Zia initiated the Islamization of the country, we saw the emergence of the political movement of Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Fiqah-e-Jafari against the application of Sunni interpretation of Islam in Pakistan constitution. For centuries Shia-Sunni Muslims enjoyed relative peace in the sub-continental community due to the presence of a major counterforce of Hinduism. The society saw the worst ever sectarian-polarization with the Zia Islamization of the country. However, it would be irrational to ignore the geopolitical scenario of the region where at one side, religions fanaticism was much needed to keep up with the emotional support to the men at wars in Afghanistan. In contrast, on the other hand, after the Iranian revolution, the country has emerged as a conservative republic representing the Shia Muslims.

Pakistan, a historical anti-sectarian society, became a desirable place to start proxy wars of global powers. The foundation of anti-sectarianism was already laid with the definition of Muslims; all it needed was some resources, manpower and exploitations of emotions. Pakistani lawmakers, while restricting the life of minorities and dreaming of becoming a global player, taught us how to hate ourselves.

Imran Khan views on Ahmadis | Insafians who approve hatred and discrimination

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Imran Khan is one man who enjoys widespread support from both the progressive and traditional forces of society. This support naturally comes from the celebrity status he enjoys as a cricketer and philanthropist for his contributions towards humanity. However, the challenge is to keep up that balance between two conflicting opinions till the day of the election, which is why PTI also presents itself as a centrist political party and often finds itself defending the ever-fluctuating political views of the party leader.


Viral Video: Recently, in the annual Peace Symposium of 2013 organized by Ahmadiyya Community in London, Nadia Ramzan Chaudhry representing PTI requested the support of 2-5 million members of the Ahmadiyya community residing in Pakistan. Although Ahmadi's spiritual leader denied in assuring any assistance, it generated many agitations in Pakistani politics and particularity among PTI right-wing followers.


Ahmadiyya community voters: Ahmadiyya community votes are composed of urban voters that are highly concentrated in Lahore, Faisalabad, Jhang and Karachi. In Karachi, currently, MQM enjoys Ahmadi support as MQM leaders have repeatedly expressed, on many occasions, their policy to revive the rights of minorities of Pakistan [1][2][3]. However, in Punjab historically, Ahmadis have not voted to any political party since Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's government decided to 'play God' and label them as non-Muslims.


The PTI Responce: In response of this viral video clip on social networks, PTI Information Secretary Shireen Mazari initially responded by saying that "Imran Khan has categorically denied having passed on any such instructions to anyone on the party's behalf," further "Nadia Ramzan is the daughter of Imran Khan's friend." Even though Nadia Ramzan's name is written as Information Secretary for PTI London. Finally, Imran Khan's cleared his point of view on the fate of Ahmadis after Naya-Pakistan in the latest video. In this video, he assured his right-wing 'Insafians' that he would abide by Pakistan's constitutional policy to deny fundamental human rights to Pakistani Ahmadis. He did not show the decency to address Ahmadis with the proper term. Instead, he used the word "Qadiani," which is considered pejorative by the Ahmadiyya. While summing up his video, he did not shy away from declaring Ahmadis non-Muslim in light of his personal beliefs. Here one would argue if Imran Khan denies others (Maulana Fazul ur Rehmanthe right to label him and his kid's zionist or jew [4] and label other communities. non-Muslim does it not makes him a hypocrite! 


This was not the first time he had to respond over his policy on repealing the constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadi Muslim as non-Muslim. In 2010 he was particularly asked over this issue where he tried to escape this matter by giving a general response. However, being repeatedly asked the same question over and over again, Imran said"Any law that discriminates between human beings is unjust." He was further asked if he plans on repealing this law and Imran responce was 

"Inshallah Tahrek-e-Insaf will bring justice and protect everyone." 

Now, he has not only backed away from his own words but showed a lack of moral courage as a leader to bring "justice" in society. The most gloomy part of this whole episode is that Imran Khan has diminished the only hope among the minority communities of Pakistan by coming clean on his stance on Ahmadis.


He might have successfully countered the growing anger among his majority of voters, which are conservative. At the same time distancing himself from the mainstream liberal voters who were already dwindling after his Pro-Taliban stance. Imran Khan's video response comes just days before his address in Swabi, Charseda and Nowshera, where conservative emotions run high, and JI has a strong influence over regional politics. It shows how Imran's politics is based on getting support from significant fractions of the society, even if he has to support unjust and discriminatory laws targeting the weak. The hypocrisy when PTI members call themself 'Insafians', and endorse the unjust and discretionary laws in Pakistan.

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