Every year, Muslims all across the world celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad on 12th Rabi-ul-Awal. Pakistan, too, participates in the festivities with great enthusiasm and zeal. From the federal capital to the remotest of rural areas, decorations can be seen at both a high scale and an individual scale. There is, of course, a national holiday in the country too.
Amidst all this celebration, however, there is a huge security threat owing to incidents that take place nearly every year. Just a few hours ago, there was news of an Ahmadiyya place of worship getting attacked by a group of 1000 men who were ‘celebrating’ Eid Milad-un-Nabi. The premises were locked from the inside by worshippers who feared for their lives. The main demand being made by the attackers was control of the premise.
Despite the fact that the police arrived on the scene, nothing could be done by the policemen and the only option left for the worshippers inside was to relinquish control of the site. After gaining control of the site, the attackers washed it to ‘purify’ it and also burnt properties inside.
The Punjab Government then tweeted claiming that there had been a ‘misunderstanding’ between the two groups. There were several other tweets stating that nobody would be able to get away with breaking the law and that the law applied to everyone irrespective of their caste, colour or creed.
It is ironic that the law is being talked about here since it is perhaps because of a law passed against the Ahmaddiya community in 1974 that this community has to face so many issues in present day Pakistan.
Yet again, a minority group has been subjected to violence and the law enforcement agencies have been able to do nothing. Why is it that a group of 1,000 people couldn’t be handled by the government? The very government that took all steps necessary to deal with any issues during Imran Khan’s dharnas? Did the police try to help the members of the Ahmadiyya community in this incident or were the policemen also supporting the attackers? After all, anti-Ahmaddiya sentiments are very popular and widely accepted in our country.
A celebration means including everyone in the festivities. Less than 15 days from now, Christians all over the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Why is it that there will be no violence then?
The truth is, we as a nation, are highly intolerant towards anyone who believes in something different from what we do. It is very easy to incite a mob into harming people who have done them no wrong. We breed intolerance in our children and want it carried to future generations too.
This isn’t the first time that 12th Rabi-ul-Awal has been a day of violence against the Ahmaddiya community. Due to similar events every year, the security of Ahmadi places of worship is tightened on Eid Milad-un-Nabi.
While violence against Ahmadis is something that isn’t restricted to any particular day in our country, it is particularly shameful that extremely violent acts are carried out on a day where the country celebrates the birth of the Prophet of Islam. A celebration is not a celebration if it threatens the peace of others.
This attack comes a short while after the PM announced the naming of the QAU’s National Center of Physics after noble laureate Abdus Salam. Owing to the fact that Dr. Abdus Salam was an Ahmadi, his achievements went underappreciated to the extent that his death anniversary passed without any mention anywhere this year. It is pertinent to mention that this man brought the first ever Nobel Prize to Pakistan.
Pakistan will continue living in the dark ages unless the masses become truly tolerant. With the amount of intolerance and hatred present amongst Pakistanis at the moment, the country will continue being a nightmare for minorities. Given the country’s history, any group can be declared ‘kafir’ and can start facing persecution at any time; no group is safe.
However, for now, this incident will soon be forgotten. While the memories of this incident are still fresh, the attackers will be praised by the masses for waging war against ‘kafirs’; Pakistan’s gift to the Prophet on his birthday.