Our country has seen many atrocities being committed against it, from the loss of East Pakistan in 1971 to the APS attack in 2014. However even in times of crisis, the internal conflicts do not seem to stop. Many writers argue that the Zia regime completely obliterated our social values through policies like Islamization. A country formed and created on the basis of religious tolerance had clearly lost its way. Committees such as the Salat committee were formed which apparently had the duty to supervise and ensure that citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan offered their five daily prayers. Obviously, this was not to materialize. How could a government of a supposed free state force its people to carry out a personal act of worship? Regardless, let’s go back to the formation of this country. A man we know as Quaid-e-Azam fought tooth and nail against colonialism and British rule to earn a place for us, the Land of the Pure, mind you it was just called Pakistan then, which the English translation entails- Pak meaning ‘pure’ and istan meaning ‘the land’. The more ironic name, mentioned earlier was coined in 1956, precisely eight years after the founder of the nation had passed away, leaving us in quite a bit of a peril.
Coming back to the point, the eleven years of dictatorship that Zia enforced on the Pakistani people were maybe the worst eleven years of Pakistan’s short history. It is however important to note that it was not a military dictator who passed the most unlawful legislation I’ve ever read about. I am indeed talking about the bill passed in 1973, during the Bhutto era, a prime minister who was elected by the overwhelming support of the Pakistani populace. The bill stated in no subtle terms, that all Ahmedis were to be, from here on forth, known as non-Muslims, even though the Ahmadiyya community proclaimed themselves to be Muslims. This meant minority treatment. In a perfect world, this would be no big deal because the basis of the Constitution of Pakistan laid down in 1956, finalised in 1972, ensured equal and fair treatment to all communities irrespective of their caste, creed, colour or origin. However, if you lay out the seventy odd years since Pakistan was created, the numerous governments have not only failed to treat all registered citizens equally, they couldn’t even give proper rights to the various sects of the 97% Muslim community that lives here, not to say that they deserved it more than the minorities, but still.
From time to time, friends from the Shia’a school of thought have told me their life stories which were nothing short of horrifying. Simple things from lengthier security checks at checkposts to an intrinsic bias against them at the professional level, I am disappointed to say that as people, we refuse to move past our differences and unite under the green and white flag which we hold dear. Internal conflicts have prevailed since the creation of this nation, and we see absolutely no difference being made by the more recent government which gained a majority through the agenda of change. Finally, to add to the distress, during the July of 2020, Imran Khan proposed to make a minority list to give them their due rights, however that list comprised all religions except the Ahmadiyya community. What that means is that the clerical part of the government and the assemblies are not willing to accept the Ahmadis as Muslims, while also not labeling them as a minority. In other words, the authorities have spoken, these people simply cannot expect a life which is fair in this country. Then people ask why they seek asylum from better, religiously tolerant countries.