Stories about ahmadi

Why should Abbasi apologise for standing up for minorities?

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) latest directive – asking Aaj News to apologise for airing ‘controversial’ and ‘sectarian’ views during a Ramazan transmission reeks of nothing but double standards. Many have argued that Hamza Ali Abbasi’s bold step towards stirring, much needed, dialogue regarding the plight of Ahmadis and the demagogic blasphemy laws was bound to have serious repercussions. And they weren’t wrong. Mere hours later, Shabbir Abu Talib and Kokab Noorani openly declared Abbasi’s discussion an act of ‘treason’. On national television. Consequently, PEMRA, believing itself to be the sacrosanct upholder of morals banned both shows for indulging in provocative, non-serious and irresponsible conversations on television during the ...

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The National Action Plan has been as counter-productive as Pakistan’s blasphemy law

Following the ghastly December 2014 Taliban attack on 132 schoolchildren, Pakistan’s government unanimously passed a National Action Plan (NAP) so that, “No room will be left for the extremism in any part of the country.” Among its 20 points, NAP outlaws radical literature and funding, calls for restructuring in the FATA region and Balochistan to address regional grievances, and lifts the moratorium on the death sentence for convicted terrorists. But well over a year into its execution, NAP has been less effective and more counter-productive than meets the eye. As one of numerous examples, consider the case of 81-year-old optician Abdul Shukoor. This past January, Shukoor, an Ahmadi Muslim, and ...

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Stories from 2015 that could only have made headlines in Pakistan

It is the first day of January of 2016. Yes, the New Year has begun. We are all a bit older, wiser, and sadly, a little closer to death. Naturally, this is the perfect time to look back at some of the news stories that made headlines in Pakistan and across the world. Girls at Dhabas: For Pakistanis worn down by the taxing life of the big city, nothing quite reignites the brain cells like a good cup of doodh pati (tea). Sold at dhabas (roadside restaurants), these delicious cups of hot tea brewed in milk are consumed by the ...

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Why I support Hamza Ali Abbasi standing up for Pakistan’s Ahmadis

All hell broke loose and the balance of the world was skewed when Hamza Ali Abbasi took to social media to write about his grievances yesterday. Usually the most popular regarding his views, this was the first time when tables were turned on him because he spoke up for Ahmadis. I am sure as he went to sleep last night, he must have been astounded with the reality check he got from people who were previously his fans and now out for his blood. His first post highlighted how Pakistanis are quick to condemn and mourn for people dying in Syria, ...

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What if Allama Iqbal had remained an Ahmadi?

Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan was one of the leading founding fathers of Pakistan. You know, the Pakistan Resolution that our national struggle was based on? He drafted it. He was the first foreign minister of Pakistan. He was known for his eloquent representation of Pakistan at the United Nations and is the only Pakistani to have served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, and that of the International Court of Justice in Hague. While working in international diplomacy, Sir Zafarullah Khan’s tireless advocacy for the freedom of Arab states and for the resolution of the Kashmir ...

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Happy Birthday, Mother – When will you accept me as your own?

It was August 14, 1984. I was only two-years-old. My father decorated the veranda of our small house with lights and green buntings. My parents were excited, as were my elder brother and I. Though I was too young to remember, pictures of that day bring on a strong sensation of déjà vu. Yet, and sadly, before the following Independence Day, we had to leave Pakistan. Persecution, which gained momentum under President Ziaul Haq, forced many Ahmadis to leave for safer lands. Many Ahmadis were killed and their businesses looted.  The state, unfortunately, abetted the religious extremists by promulgating the notorious ...

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No, Hamza Ali Abbasi, you cannot shame us for talking about Pakistan’s minorities too!

They say charity begins at home. But for many right-wing Pakistanis, it seems as if home is not Pakistan; it is the Muslim Ummah – just the Sunni-identifying part to be precise. Like the rest of us, these fellow Pakistanis seem to be rightly concerned about the current plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma. However, they don’t seem to bat an eye on the treatment meted out to our own minorities on home soil. Tell them the Rohingya Muslims identify as Shia Muslims or Ahmadi Muslims, and the fury and passion will magically dissipate in an instant. Some might even ...

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Are we a nation of Taliban apologists?

During his talk about terror and extremism in Pakistan, Mohammad Jibran Nasir declared, “I am not a cultural ambassador. I am not here to talk about bhangra.” The point was well taken since he was in the middle of a hard-hitting presentation about the terror threat in Pakistan and was not holding back his punches. Clad in a white shalwar kurta with a Pakistani flag pinned to his lapel, Nasir clearly does not equate patriotism with denial. Photo: Jibran Nasir He emphasised that while we are not all Taliban apologists, our society has become a breeding ground for terrorists. He is on an extensive tour of ...

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As a constitutional kafir I ask, does my religious freedom hurt you this much?

Yesterday, a very close family friend – someone I have always considered an uncle – was arrested in Pakistan. His crime: he had printed verses from the Holy Quran in an Urdu publication. My uncle is an Ahmadi, and under Pakistan’s notorious anti-Ahmadi laws, he committed a ‘crime’ punishable by at least three years imprisonment and a fine. The law states that an Ahmadi who “poses as a Muslim hurts the religious feelings of Muslims”. In the late 80s, three of my maternal uncles spent time behind bars under these same anti-Ahmadi laws for the crime of saying the Kalimah. Thousands of Ahmadis – and ...

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Christening our Muslim land with blood

Five years ago, I lost close friends in one of the most gruesome terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil. In twin attacks on two major Ahmadi places of worship in Lahore, 88 worshippers were martyred by the Taliban. It was a painfully bloody day. This weekend, I woke up to sad news from Pakistan that made me relive some of that pain. Fourteen worshipers were martyred and more than 70 were injured when two Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up outside churches in Youhanabad, Lahore. These attacks on Pakistan’s Christian community are not a sporadic event. They are a part of a very tragic trend. Just over a year ago, another ...

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