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Three and a half Ahmadis and a Shia

Published Mar 12, 2013 01:20pm


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-Illustration by Faraz Aamer Khan.
-Illustration by Faraz Aamer Khan.

My family moved to Lahore in early 1970s. We rented the lower portion of a house in what was still called Kirshan Nagar, despite being renamed Islampura, probably after the 1965 war. It was an old style house with an open central courtyard. There were two front rooms both having an opening onto the street. The owners lived in the upper portion but they purposefully kept one of those front rooms. They would hold a weekly religious gathering in that baithak.

I was a school going kid then. I probably would have never known what faith this family followed, if there hadn't been a weekly ijtema in that room. The gathering itself did not arouse any interest in me, as I belonged to a Shia family, similar gatherings were part of my sub-culture too. I was actually attracted to the projector that they used to show certain films. I can now guess that those must be of one of their religious leaders.

My fascination was reserved for that buzzing machine and my inquiry from an elder about that machine and those films and gatherings helped me know, and remember, that they believed in some different faith. I recall no other difference reflecting in the interaction of our two families. We would meet like good neighbours do, and exchange usual pleasantries. If one of us occasionally cooked something special, we would share a bowl full with the other, the aroma of which we could not avoid sharing anyway, living so close to each other.

There was an Imambargah in the street behind ours and a big Sunni mosque at the end of this long lane. It may not be all that perfect at that time but frankly my only childhood experiences of religious intolerance are limited to a few school scuffles where a bully would accuse me of doing some nasty things as a Shia, which nobody believed to be true.

So the first Ahmadi I ever met was a regular guy from next door. I had no reason to hate him or for even respond to him differently in any way. We left that house in June 1973. The second amendment to the constitution, declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims, was passed later in 1974.

I joined an arts college in Lahore in the early 1980s. I used to live in the college hostel. It was a no-holds-barred life filled with non-stop fun. It took our batch just a few weeks to gel together. We did crazy things that would stretch our relationships to unimaginable extremes.

We developed very deep and close friendships. Day-scholars, our class fellows from Lahore and those not living in the hostel, would miss on that closeness. They were kind of outsiders for us, they were mommy’s little children, the kind who are told to be home before dark. They were treated by the close in-groups of hostelites as aliens.

There was, however, one day-scholar in my class who probably thought 'why should hostelites have all the fun?' He would hang around, drop in and frequently stay overnight. I was friends with this bright and jolly young man and we spent a lot of time together working jointly on many art projects and discussing everything under the sun.

Once we were going somewhere together. His house fell in our way and he wanted to briefly stop over for something. I thought I would have a glass of water and wait in his baithak till he is free. To my utter surprise he hesitated allowing me inside his home. I was a bit disturbed but then pushed my way in, as would a close friend.

As I sipped the juice and looked around the room, I saw the reason for his hesitation hung on the wall. But why would he hide it from a close friend with whom he has shared so much. When he entered the room, I was standing in front of that picture. Are you an Ahmadi? I asked. Yes, he said with his head hanging down. The picture was of one of their religious leaders.

He was not feeling guilty for who he was but was ashamed that he had to hide his religious identity from a close friend. I also felt betrayed but would empathise with his position as well. We remained together till late that evening but did not talk to each other. We were arguing with ourselves. Is he afraid of me? Does he think I can harm him?

He was the second Ahmadi in my life. I met him a decade after the passage of that constitutional amendment and at the time when General Zia and his Jamaat-i-Islami enacted anti-Ahmadi laws. Unlike the first Ahmadi, whom I had met in my childhood, my friend was not a regular young man though he tried desperately to act as a ‘normal’ person of the same society.

After my college, I briefly engaged with a designing and publishing business, setting up a joint venture with some friends in Lahore around the early 1990s. One of my 'clients' was the student union of a university that was friends with me since my college days. I helped them put together their quarterly magazine.

The politics in this campus was quite different from what it used to be in my arts college. The student leaders here held guns and firing incidents between them and their rival, Jamiat Tulaba-i-Islam, was a matter of routine. Each of the many hostel buildings 'belonged' to one of the parties or some of its faction and was treated as their fort. I was once caught in a cross fire when Jamiat tried to 'win back' a hostel that used to belong to them but was later captured by their rival liberal party.

I was in contact with the entire hierarchy of that student party but certainly more with those involved in the magazine. The party could in fact be divided into two sub-groups, one was gun-loving and trigger-happy and nursed a grudge against the Jamiat. They looked like a 'highly inflammable' gang of youth, the dousing effect was provided by the second group. That was the writing and intellectual side which hated Jamiat for its obscurantist policies. I could not figure out whether they employed that gun-trotting group to protect themselves or if the gang roped these studious boys in to counter the Jamiat's ideological side.

One day I was stopped at the campus gate and informed that the university had been closed down because a student scuffle had taken a life. I knew the backdoor ways well and also that no shut down applied on those well armed parties. I could not locate the person I intended to meet and went on to inquire from another. I was shocked to learn that he was the person who had been killed.

Why him? He was an unassuming, simple young man, a member of the editorial team, the one who looked after the poetry section, if I remember correctly. I could never know in my interactions that he was an Ahmadi, this secrecy had become a part of their sub-culture by now.

But the killers knew who he was.

This is how the story narrated by my other friends went. Jamiat wanted the campus to shut down. That was something that their elder party had instructed them to deliver to cater to some larger political end – maybe a message that the law and order situation in the provincial capital has gone from bad to worse. Jamiat's position inside the campus, however, was precarious at that point in time. The gang-war was poised evenly and Jamiat's own calculations did not require it to go for a kill. In fact, they apprehended a strong backlash and loss of territory in case of launching an offense. Blood on the campus walls was the time-tested way to ensure a shut down but how to manage it without inciting a furious response from the other party? Simple. Slay an Ahmadi.

Nobody will come to defend him. No gunman will return fire. Nobody will take out a protest rally. No official condolences.

That's exactly what had happened.

That bright young poet was the third Ahmadi in my life. All those discriminatory laws by now had 'settled in'. The legal infrastructure had built the capacity to facilitate parties to exploit these laws to their fullest potential. The society had internalised the new narrative too. It had become a seamless part of our culture that reflected in our default behaviors towards the people with a faith that is different from ours.

I haven't met an Ahmadi since the past decade. I know of a few but we don't meet. They have cocooned themselves inside their skins, hid their identities and barricaded their lives inside their homes. They have killed half of their beings. How can you befriend a person who is half dead?

I go past a graveyard daily on my way from home to the office. I noticed recently that its boundary walls have been raised and topped with thick spirals of barbed wires. An armed chowkidar now sits at the front gate – to protect the dead? I realise that this is an Ahmadi graveyard. Maybe my murdered friend was buried here and maybe his killers apprehend that he is still half alive.


The writer works with Punjab Lok Sujag, a research and advocacy group that has a primary interest in understanding governance and democracy.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Tahir Mehdi works with Punjab Lok Sujag, a research and advocacy group that has a primary interest in understanding governance and democracy.

He tweets @TahirMehdiZ

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (115) Closed

Rafiq Minhas Mar 12, 2013 10:51pm
What you has a lot of truth in it.
AHA Mar 14, 2013 11:51am

Your views are the source of all the intolerance that we suffer from.

Muhammed Mar 13, 2013 05:28pm
I do not understand why human being have to become GOD and decide another human being faith. So much for believeing in ALLAH.
fatimah Mar 13, 2013 06:14am
Before I give my opinion I must clarify that killing any human being is simply unacceptable and inhumane however the reason may be. Still, I don't know why some people are continuously comparing the situation being imposed on both the communities. Shias can never be compared with ahmadis because they simply deny the basic principles of Islam . They have never denied that they don't believe in the fact that prophet hood has been ended up on Holy Prophet (PBUH) plus this is an open secret that Ahmadis run missions and exploit poverty. Whereas the differences shias have got with sunni school of thought is based merely on the comparative status of Prophet's companions and his family. Then why should Ahmadis and Shias be held equal. Shias must not let anyone exploit their miseries for their vested interests
Faiza Mar 13, 2013 04:51am
Your piece brought me to tears...sooner than later, each and every Pakistani will be classified as a death worthy minority on the basis of some ambiguous criteria...Seeing the state of affiairs in our country, I feel we are being killed by a thousand cuts
Syed Hydar Mar 13, 2013 04:52am
"Tum syed bhi ho Mirza bhi ho Afghan bhi ho tum sabhi kuchh ho batao ki musalman bhi ho"
mehar ali Mar 13, 2013 02:53am
I personally don't know any of my Ahmadi family members or friends hiding their identity but if some do then I can't blame them for doing that since its getting worse for Ahmadis in Pakistan and hatred for them is at its peek right now even in educated circles,all in the name of Islam and for honour of Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW. I don't see this country surviving,something really bad is going to happen because it can't get worse than this. Allah save us from these mullahs.
Derwaish Mar 12, 2013 04:44pm
You wrote very nicely about the ugly side of our mindset. May Allah give us the wisdom to understand diversity and difference of opinions. Please don't stop writing as this is the only way to fight against evil in our society.
Agha Ata (USA) Mar 13, 2013 12:36am
I am afraid but you would need to go deeper than that to find the causes.
Tariq Mar 13, 2013 04:23am
Problem is in our mosques where these seeds of intolerance are planted. People who teach at the mosques need to be trained in teaching tolerance and respect for everyone's universal right to freely practice their beliefs.
Keti Zilgish Mar 12, 2013 04:19pm
For An Ahmadi and A Shia:- "Well the oppressors are trying to keep me down Trying to drive me underground. And they think that they have got the battle won I say Forgive them Lord, they know not what they've done."
DARR Mar 13, 2013 04:46pm
Out side invaders, Local human right activists or conspirators are all part of dynamic , social evolutionary process. Invading neighboring countries was a norm in old times. Regardless , who ever led to improvement of humanity, Peace , Justice and harmony for mankind needs to be remembered irrespective of religion, race or gender.
An Ahmadi Mar 13, 2013 04:34am
I am an Ahmadi and live abroad. I have tears reading this article.
Prashant Mar 13, 2013 06:42am
you are 100% correct
Almanar Mar 12, 2013 03:32pm
These articles are very good. Eye openers but they are fruitless. Who reads Dawn? Only educated masses. And usually these educated masses are not the ones burning the houses and killing people. Write the same article in Urdu and put it in a Urdu daily in the printed copy. We need to address those gullible people who are nose-led by "select few"..
Seetharam Mar 12, 2013 04:23pm
Reading this article was a very moving experience. Congratulations. It shows man's inhumanity to man even to ones belonging to the same religion with a different path. Poor Ahmadis from Bihar were the strongest proponents of the division of INdia to form Pakistan for MUslims. It looks like they are paying a price for their action. Reading the articles in Dawn makes me feel that the intellectual community in Pakistan is a lot more vibrant and diverse than in Indian News papers. It looks like when freedom is suppressed, intellectuals raise up to the occasion.
gangadin Mar 13, 2013 01:42pm
An armed chowkidar now sits at the front gate
Ahmedzubair Mar 12, 2013 06:56pm
I think there is some issue with either our education system or may be with our moral upbringing that inspite of being well educated we are unable to tolerate others. This is not only related to religion in particular but to our society in particular also. We should give it a deep thought.
AHA Mar 12, 2013 03:43pm
I think our religion has made us a lesser human. Do you agree?
Tariq AsaM - New York Mar 12, 2013 03:31pm
Pakistan has become a country where apathy has taken hold. My childhood experience was very similar to yours when I was living in Pakistan. People made friends without screening them first. They ever wanted to pre-judge their neighbors solely based on their religious affiliation. It is sad, indeed sad.
Nasir Mar 12, 2013 07:41pm
Our Mullahs have
AHA Mar 14, 2013 11:46am

So you think Pakistan is more tolerant than France. I think you do not even know the meaning of freedom and tolerance.

Jamal Mar 12, 2013 02:45pm
Nice article.
Tahir Chaudhry Mar 12, 2013 04:03pm
Thanks. This is what Pakistan has become. Once a peaceful place has changed into a burning living Hell.
Tarique Baloch Mar 12, 2013 02:06pm
Its a shame to see how our society have changed and have come to this level. Growing up in Pakistan, Islamabad, I had friends from all type of faith/cultures and traditions. Never ever felt that they are any different than me. They were my friends and I was their. It just saddens me deeply to see such a divide, not sure how it ever benefits anyone other than our politicians. They have ruined Pakistan.............when will people rise up. Killing one human being is like killing a whole generation of that family. That future generation, could have been a scientist, a writer, a philosopher and so on so forth............. what a waste of life.
Amir Mar 12, 2013 02:46pm
Shameful! What good is a faith if it splits communities apart, and is unable to tolerate another point of view? Before we become muslims we have to be good people. Islam will not make you good person, just a better person.
Khan of Kalabagh Mar 13, 2013 06:22am
1. Education. 2. Parents/Teacher. 3. Society.
Sajjad Mar 12, 2013 03:53pm
Danish Mar 12, 2013 02:41pm
Sad that its not only ahmadis now who are living in fear because of intolerant society. Those laws have played a major role in this.
LUMS Ahmadi Mar 12, 2013 09:46pm
Wow Sir, What an amazing article, Hats off to you and a Big Thank you for highlighting the plight of Ahmadis. But, as much as this country has developed a disliking for the Ahmadis, they haven't been able to totally break them up. There are hundreds of thousands of Ahmadis around in Pakistan including me, and it's our strong desire that our homeland stop treating us the way a step mother does. You'll end up losing some of the brightest of your youth. I'm studying in LUMS at the moment, and I really want to serve my country, but the cities and the towns and the villages, all of them along with their streets want to stay away from us. They aren't affected by our plight, they don't care, someone of them even are thirsty for our blood. The silence of the lambs, that's our case...
Karan Roy Mar 12, 2013 02:21pm
congrats. Partition was a great success!
Razi Mar 13, 2013 02:01pm
Thanks a lot for sharing, my eyes flooded with an Ahmadi, our moto is "Love for All, Hatred for None .My heart bleeds at all the blood shed in the name of religion. May Allah bless Pakistan.
hashmi Mar 12, 2013 09:34pm
This is the weakness of a society , where human life has no value. This is what we have been teaching.
Zafar Malik Mar 12, 2013 02:07pm
Excessive religiosity is eating up the Pakistani society like a cancer from inside. Religion at its proper place is good, but it cannot be a panacea. No modern state can survive too long in the present world without upholding rational, secular and democratic values. Religion when imposed on the society by force turns it into a hell. Who in Pakistan would like to live under Taliban? and that is where the country seems to be heading.
Afzaal M Mar 12, 2013 08:56pm
Even if someone is a non-muslim, based upon his faith and not accepting the finality and seal of prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) they should be entitled to fair dealing in day-to-day life. If the tag of an 'un-believer' or a 'kafir' hurts him or seems to be abusive then he should rectify the fundamentals and basics of faith should be corrected.
Jamil Sami Mar 12, 2013 02:05pm
The biggest irony is that Sir Zafar Ullah Khan who drafted the Pakistan Resolution was An Ahmedi and he was the close companion of Quaide Azam and now from our courses his name is removed. Also Pakistan's first Atomic reactor was set up during Abdus Salam times when AQ Khan never joined Atomic energy commision but we forgot and told lies to our public. Ahmedis have rendered countless services to Pakistan but in the end they fell victim to the religious bigotry in this country.
wasim Farooqi Mar 13, 2013 04:54pm
May be "sab se pahle pakistan" is a correct idea, we must respect all human or we will soon kill Pakistan and Pakistanis. I wish Pakistani society stop nonsense hate against US and learn by USA where I American Pakistani live with total freedom equality and no fear.
Keti Zilgish Mar 12, 2013 04:38pm
It is by the capacity of the minorities in Pakistan to organize themselves that the so-called majority feels most threatened. In USA and other 'First World' countries it is the other way around, that is, the majority is organizing itself with the help and guidance of a more organized minority (the Anarchists) against another minority, the capitalists.
arsalanzaffar Mar 12, 2013 08:11pm
sir its an honor to read your article! people like you gives hope for a better tomorrow
Cyrus Howell Mar 12, 2013 07:46pm
There is a dichotomy. Some Muslims reject the World while others embrace the World. Like Kipling wrote, "Never the twain shall meet." The misfits and those who kill in order to live reject society and it's safe middle class life. The middle class carries on blithely believing the world is a safe place right up until the end.
Yousufzai Mar 12, 2013 07:49pm
Feel sorry for all the minorities in Pakistan
KTShamim Mar 13, 2013 05:26am
Nice article. Sad article. The thing that pains me the most ... the most ... is that all these atrocities are committed in the name of that champion of justice, kindness, and kinship, the seal of the Prophets, my most beloved, Muhammad Mustafa, Ahmad Mujtaba, Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
pathanoo Mar 13, 2013 04:35pm
Self-Devouring will continue till Islam is restricted to household and the heart of the believer and not imposed upon publicly.
Rehman Khar Mar 12, 2013 01:59pm
It is pretty unfortunate indeed. I know many Ahmedis in Punjab but they are always afraid of their lives. They are the most decent and educated people in Punjab but they are the most hated at the same time. I remember when in 2010 around 100 Ahmedis were killed in Lahore then no one came forward to pay any Condolences and infact one of my close friends who is no longer my friend and a Member of Jamiat distributed sweets for Attacks on Ahmedis. When i asked him that the dead included Children then he told me to my surprise that it is ok to kill the children of the Apostates according to Islam. I think in Punjab there are millions of Ahmedis and many are highly educated youth but they will never tell in front of anyone their religious believes and it is pretty unfortunate that in Pakistan now we determine everything with religion and if someone dont agree with you then we even dont consider them human beings.
A human who has right to live Mar 13, 2013 05:15am
Majority felt at peace when Hindu minority was being slaughtered, that is when once all Pakistani Muslims were at peace since no one cared about plight of non muslims. Then came the turn of Ahmadis, so you declared them as non Muslims first and then pronounced them as the new enemy of Islam, after they were nearly butchered to extinction the majority needed a new enemy of Islam so who next... you got it they are Shias . Will identifying new enemies of Islam and executing them ever stop?
Mohsin, NY Mar 12, 2013 07:40pm
For Ahmadies, living in Pakistan is just like once Jewswere living under the Nazi Germany. Only thing is that they are not sent to the concentration camps. People will refuse to do business with you if you are Ahmadi, merchant will not sell you if they find that you are Ahmadi. Students and teachers will be discriminated in their schools. Most Ahmadis spent double life, one for their friends just not to get isolated socially, and other for their own community to which they have different obligation. Most of them hide their faith because they do not want to loose their friendship with their friends. Few of them afraid that they will be chanted, and will be ridiculed in front of other people.
Nasir Mar 12, 2013 07:39pm
As a nation our minds have raped of religious tolerance and critical thinking towards religion and politics for decades now and so the product is the society that we have today, full of opressors and then their appologists.
Half Dead Mar 12, 2013 03:00pm
Many Ahmadis had to hide their identity just in order to survive in this country. They had been always harassed mentally by such rude ignorant behavior. Not surprisingly, i myself being an Ahmadi Muslim had to hide my faith in every matter of my life. You at least had the courage to write as you have seen Ahmadis practicing Islam the same way, but now the youth consider us such an infidel that one can't imagine. Every night i fear that my identity would be disclosed & i would suffer from a social boycott as i have heard and seen myself how Ahmadis are mistreated.
Cyrus Howell Mar 12, 2013 07:36pm
"What tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive." Oscar Wilde
DEVENDRA PURUSHE Mar 14, 2013 11:43am

Its disgusting to read such low level attitudes of people who discriminate on so called religions. The Religion we are born with is the religion of FEARLESSNESS, FAITH, LOVE and COMPASSION for fellow human beings. There is no other religion but the religion of INSANIYAT!!!

Yasir Mar 12, 2013 07:24pm
This is exactly how it is in our society. May God bless Pakistan...
Koi-Konk Mar 13, 2013 03:31am
Tahir, amazing Work, Bohat jee khush hua haali say mil ker Abhi kuch log achay hain jahan main
Abdul Mar 13, 2013 03:20am
Agreed fully!
sri1ram Mar 13, 2013 03:04am
I wonder how and why Ahmadis still live here. They should move over to the bigger neighbor or take asylum in the west. Ditto with Shia and Hazaras.
Abdul Mar 13, 2013 03:05am
Some thing has become rotten to the core within the Pakistani society otherwise nothing can explain what has started happening within Pakistan. What we are witnessing is the breakdown of civil society within Pakistan and it seems almost irreversible. I thing the saddest part is that it is now not a small minority who have this insane mindset of "only my way is right and everyone else who differs either should convert to my way of thinking or else....", but rather a significant portion of the Pakistani population who have internalized this mindset. A country can not be built just on the basis of religion but needs a common culture, common economic interests, shared history and above all a mutual respect (not tolerance, as tolerance just means to tolerate not respect) of what is different among the various sub nationalities and sub cultures and religions within the greater nation. Sadly in today's Pakistan this is sadly absent as none of the sub-nationalities within Pakistan think of themselves as Pakistani first. Pakistan is racing fast towards an anarchic and dismal future. Sorry for such a depressing view
Rahman Mar 13, 2013 01:10am
Thank you for bringing up this politically incorrect issue. Your second friend reminded me my student years in UET Lahore. My political activism and Ahmadiyya background made me a prime target of Islami Jamiat Talaba. The situation was very suffocating and depressive,
Utkarsh Mar 12, 2013 06:54pm
Heart-breaking to say the least !!
Lewanaykhan Mar 12, 2013 06:43pm
Islam shows us Religious Tolerance, so we should never blame religion for our deeds. And most of the times, third forces are trying to make use of this ignitive fuel in Pakistan. Its very easy for them to target an Imam bargah and then a sunni mosque. And we fight for years blaming each other.
j shami Mar 12, 2013 05:08pm
mr. author, so what is ur point. Anti Ahmadi's laws were inactede by ZAb not Zia or JI. I am ok with ahmadi's so far as they do not claim that they are muslims (prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was the last prophet) and if they do not believe this, they have no right to call themsives muslims. If ahmadi's wanna live as ahmadi's, they do not bother me, they should be proud being Ahmadi's like christians, jews and hindus are pround of what they are. Mr. Author, u know, ahmadi's lie and marry in Muslims by deceiving them. How would u like if you came to know that u were cheated and ur sister got married with a Ahmadi since the groom family lied to your family. So, Mr. author, I know u wanna get some fame by wrting this, which is really absured.
Wasim Malik Mar 12, 2013 06:25pm
Excellent article! I am glad there are some folks left in Pakistan whose conscience is still alive. Collective silence is a collective sin and we as a Pakistani nation are paying for our sins. There is noting but gloom all around us. I don't see any silver lining, no ray of hope!
ATIF Mar 12, 2013 06:23pm
Qodrat Mar 13, 2013 02:20am
A sad, but true story, real life of misery of today's Pakistan, we have lost respect, tolerance and dignity. We are at war with ourselves, We don't know who we are, we became killers and murderers. our leaders are corrupt, religious scholars misuse religion just for few dollars, and import religious hatred from foriegn lands. we kill our brothers just because of thier different belief, and we call ourselves muslims and pakistani. what a shame. the way we are going, sooner or later, Pakistan will become history. and its no ones fault, but ours.
khatun Mar 13, 2013 02:58pm
The root of the azadi was intolerance towards certain section of the people, and now it rises its head again in another form. The future is doomed.
rohan Mar 12, 2013 06:10pm
Why all these evils are happening more in Islamic countries
umer Mar 12, 2013 01:50pm
This is reality... a heart breaking article.
Aslam Mar 13, 2013 01:22am
It's just a natural question, do you think the religion has something to do with it? People should start asking questions like these. We do need to tame this monster we have unleashed...
Pramod Mar 13, 2013 05:55pm
Recently one of my my Muslim friend posted a picture on face book. it was a picture of 3 muslim guys with different race and heading was that's why Islam is the best religion because it does not racism and castism etc. I could not write to my friend as it will hurt his feeling that I do not agree with him because what we can see of we open our is much worse than castism or racism.
dnago Mar 13, 2013 05:56pm
fatimah. You are exactly what this article is referring to. Please read what you wrote. This is how intolerance starts.
kemariwala Mar 12, 2013 05:55pm
Can a few more brave writers like this please step forward and show us our true face. Can the silent majority of simply humanity loving people wake up and join in with such brave souls, so that we can deserve to be called a civilized society.
Sue Sturgess Mar 13, 2013 01:05am
student leaders carry guns?????????
Mohinder Mar 13, 2013 01:06am
I am a Hindu. Hindus live with muslims sunnis,Parsis, sufis, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Arya Samaji's, Sanatani's and many other faiths and religions. I have often wondered why we do not have the same problems like in Pakistan. It may have something to do with our rearing. Basic thing in Hinduism is that everything is God. Animate or inanimate. God is all pervasive and same God is in everything, table chair, you or me. If I am taught to see God in everything, how could I possibly kill or harm anybody, no matter what his faith, This does not mean to say that there are not ignorant people around amongst Hindus. Personally I have never asked any body's religion. I have no interest in that. May be Pakistan should look into introducing early education to teach that we are all same God's creation. Government should repeal laws against Ahmadhy's or others.
muzjee Mar 12, 2013 05:46pm
I am an ahmadi and can not agree more with your statement. "Simple. Slay an Ahmadi. Nobody will come to defend him. No gunman will return fire. Nobody will take out a protest rally. No official condolences." This is exactly what happened when my brother was killed in Qaid Azam University in October 1994. However, a few days ago, my wife and I were discussing how come Shias and Christians are being killed regularly but no Ahmadies. I think that the seeds of harted sowed by Pakistanis by killing a few Ahmadies here and there has riped. The result is killing on much larger scale. May God help Pakistan.
debater Mar 12, 2013 01:25pm
Mullahas will never understand the concept of human rights, which is also give foremost importance according to the Sunnah of our Prophet PBUH.
Rafeeq, USA Mar 13, 2013 06:10pm
They don't marry out side their religion. Unless your sister fall in love one of the Ahmadi then,two hearts can't do much. Love is blind of religion.
ram Mar 12, 2013 05:42pm
IN Giddu bandar one said....I am Prophet!! Other behind exclaimed....But i dont recal having sent one in the recent past!!! Should we send all Jamaati there to learn???
MAB Mar 12, 2013 05:38pm
Quite an elegant description of the tragic demise of the soul of this god-forsaken country. We are not just losing our ability to coexist with others, we are losing our right to exist at all.
Zahir Cheema Mar 12, 2013 01:46pm
Do you even believe that in democratic Pakistan Non Muslims cannot even vote a Muslim as According to the Constitution a Non Muslim have no right even to vote a Muslim. Since almost all Candidates are Muslims so infact we excluding our 3.5-4 percent of the population from the Electoral process actually. Pakistan is a unique democratic country where a Segment of society cannot vote based on Religion. This is the same reason that Ahmedis hid their identity because if they dont write Islam on their ID cards then they will lose their right to vote and also they will be discriminated in Pakistani Army and infact in all walks of life of Pakistan.
Wahab Mar 13, 2013 07:30am
Do you even know our Religion?
Nony Mar 13, 2013 08:43am
May be our society has gone too far in religious extremism and misinterpretation. We used to highlight invaders as heroes in our syllabus, then we spread hatred for neighboring countries and time comes when we start attacking people within our country by declaring them non-muslim. Meanwhile we have totally forgotten that this land had its own culture and heroes to be proud of, it had tolerance to co-exist and it had a peaceful sufi culture which used to overlook religion, sect or ethnicity. When a nation loses the pride in its own culture and starts idealizing others then there remain NO old nation and its values. However, this entire process has proved in front of us that religion is not a binding force between masses.
Bobs Mar 13, 2013 03:51pm
Best way to change the enviorment in your Mosque...Most of the hatered is coming from there
Devil Mar 13, 2013 08:47am
Well, 1. whatever goes around comes around !! 2. What you sow, so shall you reap !!
Anne Mar 13, 2013 08:53am
Fascinating & certainly eye opening for me - an English person who loves visiting/staying in Pakistan - and spends much time researching/reading & therefore trying to understand your culture ...... but also so so sad... I am an optimist & therefore hope the wind of change will come & the spirit of tolerance return ...
ahsan Mar 13, 2013 08:54am
I joined UET, Lahore in 1984. Anas Ahmed had been murdered a couple of years back. It was common knowlledge than that Liaqat Balouch was behind it. We joined QSF and later formed Engineering Students Alliance. I disagree with the author that no one came out to defend Ahmedis. In fact, we were pushed into politics while defending and protecting our Ahmedi friends.
Bobs Mar 13, 2013 03:52pm
Did your heart bleed when they destroy Hindus and christian homes too?
MAVREK Mar 13, 2013 09:20am
When a country declares, for whatever reason, a part of its population as "second class" citizen, the system cannot be branded as "democracy". In this 21st century, no individual is ready to live in a society which treats him as such. MAV Sweden
Waleed Khan Mar 13, 2013 03:59pm
Thank you Mr. Mehdi for the nice article. As an Ahmadi, I would just like to comment that on your assumption that, "They have cocooned themselves inside their skins, hid their identities and barricaded their lives inside their homes. They have killed half of their beings. How can you befriend a person who is half dead?" We have neither cocooned ourselves in our skins, nor hide our identities or barricaded ourselves inside our homes. We are very much there, we walk by you and others everyday, you just do not notice us because you do not see Ahmadis ransacking the lives and properties of others just because we are aggrieved. We invest our trust in Allah Almighty, uphold the law of the land and believe in the divine justice. You do not notice us because we have stopped caring if anyone wants to be friends with us or not. We know that our society has lost its moral fabric and its only Allah and us, the Ahmadis, who will be there no matter what happens. We are very much there Mr. Mehdi, we are the doctors, engineers, teachers, men, women, students in cities, towns and villages across the country still serving this nation and humanity around the globe. You just need to look a little harder, maybe stop looking for an Ahmadi and start looking for a fellow human being, a fellow citizen and you may find even more of them.
Faraz Paracha Mar 13, 2013 10:25am
Ah a well written article. I have come across two Ahmadis in my life and I was quite good friends with them. Being a Sunni, I never treated them differently, honestly I did not even care. Nowadays I believe the emphasis is on who is Shia or who is not rather than Ahmadis because the damage has been done to the latter, its Shias turn now I guess.
Hassaan Mar 13, 2013 10:37am
I belong to Jamiat and i disagree with you. I have just graduated from a professional college. I think what people from all other sects say that call yourself ahmadi... but don't call yourself a sect of Muslim. I dont think there is such intolerance in our society. We had ahmadi class fellow and had good time. Every one has right to pracitise his religion without offending others.... I think there is much more intolerance in France, where you cannot even wear hijab. So i would like to see a blog from the writer about growing intolerance in secular countries too////
Eddy Mar 13, 2013 08:35pm
Pretty impressed with your article. God bless.
Latif Khan Mar 13, 2013 10:41am
Well written Mr. Tahir Mehdi. A wonderful article which presents a true picture of Ahmadis in Pakistan. I like the way the writer has described his actual events experience which he examined and seen happening to his Ahmadi friends. As a matter of fact, the prevailing draconian laws of the country against Ahmadis have brought humiliation, disgrace, disrespect and endless persecution for them. These laws are against the vision of the founder of Pakistan which are creating enormous harm as a whole, to society and particularly, to minorities and also tarnishing Pakistan
AHA Mar 13, 2013 10:42am
And we believe we are doing all this to please Allah.
rich Mar 13, 2013 11:09am
one of the best article i have read in a long long tin=me in the dawn convey the realty of pakistn briliantly you are on my reading list from now on,
Revolutionist Khan Mar 13, 2013 11:14am
i am not an ahmadi but i feel so bad after reading all this this is not the Pakistan which we use to live kya hum ne bharat se is liye azaadi hasil ki thi ke apni minorities ke saath itna bura salook karen , this is extremely worst time , this cancer of religious intolerance should eliminate as soon as possible .
Kdspirited Mar 13, 2013 08:30pm
It all comes down to accountability and prosecution. If our laws were not biased against the minorities and people were not so scared to aprehend the barbarians who murder people for their faiths we woul not be here today. Salman Taseer is dead. He was not an ahmedi and countless like him who stood up for these ridiculous laws. And his murderer was garlanded and sits in Jail. He should have been hung by now. This will continue to happen until our laws change and these barbarians are brought to justice
Nomadic Mongolian Mar 13, 2013 06:32pm
Karma is a boomrang!
AHA Mar 13, 2013 06:48pm
I still have to see a 'pious' Muslim who has an unconditional love for Humanity. I know a lot of moderate and liberal Muslims who have an unconditional love for Humanity. I think I have a fairly good idea of what our religion has done to us.
Nomadic Mongolian Mar 13, 2013 08:49pm
Why is that so hard to know the religion? is it not mere common sense to show respect to all living things? Do you need some sofisticated religion to tell you that?
Tahira, USA Mar 13, 2013 09:21pm
I give no one the right to decide who is a muslim or non-muslim, not even Ulema. If a person declares himself muslim, then every one should accept him as such. The matters of the heart are to be left for Allah to judge on the day of judgement. Those who declare others "out of the pail of Islam" will have to answer to God who gave them the permission to decide other people's faith. Let them remember only this much before issuing fatwas that lead to murder of minorities.
Tahira, USA Mar 13, 2013 09:23pm
I think everyone should look inside their own "graybaan" and judge how good a muslim he/ she is rather than wasting her time to judge others. That should be left to God and the last day of judgement.
Tahira, USA Mar 13, 2013 09:24pm
In your signt, was this poet a true muslim? Be honest.
Tahira, USA Mar 13, 2013 09:27pm
Many have taken asylum in the West but I know they want to return to Pakistan as soon as their rights are restored.
Bushra Inam Mar 14, 2013 12:23am
I remember when Anus , my brothers friend was shot In Engineering University Lahore. Jamiat took an innocent life and destroyed the SANCTITY of UNIVERSITY Campuses throughout the country. The Tolerance for all other religions was a basic concept taught by Islam and degraded by fanatics.
Muhammad Mar 14, 2013 01:30am
Haha thats so funny and reminds me of how I had to spend one whole night in prison for pasting Kalma at my shop but good think I left Pakistan after that.
quantum Mar 14, 2013 02:50am

Do you consider yourself educated or not ? Why are you bringing France into this discussion. I see this trend among Muslims, that they justify this atrocity by comparing to another atrocity committed against them. Really I am Muslim, learn to accept that we have many flaws.

quantum Mar 14, 2013 02:56am

if a Muslim sect that doesn't believe Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was the last prophet, but professes in the oneness of God, then who are we to make them non Muslim. I am a shia Muslim and I do consider them Muslim. Please read their literature.

quantum Mar 14, 2013 03:11am

Allah wont help Muslims who indulges in irrationality. He will simply punish them.

Amit Singh Mar 14, 2013 11:01am
very well written, doesn't matter in which community or caste we belong to, first of all we all are human, and our first and last religion and caste should be only Humanity and nothing else
khurram Mar 14, 2013 06:06am

Well said Tariq

Abid Mahmud Ansari Islamabad. Mar 14, 2013 06:58am

I personally don't think to be at fault if one belongs to a different religion.Every one is free to follow his/her thoughts and ideas. But I think the main problem with Ahmedis is that they think they are on the right path,but still they hide their identity,they consider themselves as Muslims and every one else as non-Muslim.If one thinks and considers himself on the right path,that feeling gives one a sense of confidence in self and one's ideas, but in case of Ahmedis,the way they conceal their identity and their ideas,reflects that they are not sure of their belief, that is why they lack confidence and always hide their identity. This concealing inside a self built cocoon,is not out of some fear but due to their lack of confidence in their own belief.

Indian Mar 14, 2013 06:54am

So now, shall Ahmadis, Hazaras, Shias ask for seperate homeland in continuation with the same argument that were put forth by Muslim League and Jinnah pre-1947? Will that be supported in the name of "they" being different culture? And if that happen (god fobidden), what will these new homelands teach their future generations in the school? That "cunning" Sunnies were exploting,cheating and ruling them?

A human who has right to live Mar 14, 2013 08:46am

Most of the people are born into the religion i.e. they take up the religion of their parents and have no choice. How can someone be faulted to believe what their parents believed. No country can progress without inclusive growth for one and all, no questions asked.

Vijai Mar 14, 2013 09:02am

Pehle tum insaan ho. Bad me jo kuch ho na hai ho ja.

Shahz Mar 14, 2013 09:02am

It was extremely sad to read this but one could say that is reality of Pakistan. I do not understand why people has to go to such extreme. As a Muslim we should respect all sects of Islam without saying that Ahmadi are one sect of Islam. But still they are humans. They deserve how humans or if one say Ahmadis are non-Muslims then how non-Muslims should be treated. I firmly believe Islam does not preach us to kill innocent Non-Muslims. Respect Humanity, respect the teachings of Islam and Respect you country which does have Shia, Ahmadis, Hindus, Some parsies and Sunni which all can be further sub divided.

Vijai Mar 14, 2013 09:03am

You reap what you sow

sri1ram Mar 14, 2013 09:24am

"Basic principles of Islam" - as defined by who? As long as you look inward and do what Islam means to you what does it matter if someone else has a different version, even a "wrong" one? This difference, that difference, this and that school of thought or belief, this disowning of people and stripping them of their basic human rights is what has caused you all to come to this pass. Better wake up soon, it is already too late. And of course, you not only believe in but even perpetuate propaganda that a terrorized and virtually paralyzed minority runs missions to exploit the poor. Do you really believe that anyone in his right mind would convert to a Qadiani in this pure land, of all places? Is it any surprise that the world has different standards and yardsticks and treats this nation like this?