Brutal assault on the Ahmedis

May 28th, 2010, will be etched in history as ‘Black Friday’ for Pakistan. On the day that the country was celebrating ‘Yaum-e-Takbeer’ to commemorate the 12th anniversary of Pakistan going nuclear, Lahore witnessed two deadly terror attacks against the Ahmediyya community. Terrorists carried out simultaneous attacks on the Ahmedis’ places of worship – Baitul Noor in Model Town and Darul Zikr in Garhi Shahu – during Friday prayers when thousands of Ahmedis had gathered there. It was surreal to see the images unfolding on our television screens when the terrorists went inside the two houses of prayer and unleashed their terror on the innocent worshippers. More than 90 people died while more than a hundred others were injured. The Punjab wing of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Wielding guns, wearing suicide vests and with hand grenades at their disposal, the terrorists launched well coordinated attacks subsequently leading to a standoff for hours at Garhi Shahu while the Model Town assault was relatively brief. The effort of the security volunteers of the Ahmediyya community during the operations must be lauded.

The dead were buried separately on Saturday after the Ahmediyya community cancelled a mass funeral because they were not “satisfied with the security arrangements”. This is the height of injustice since the Ahmedis are the most persecuted community in Pakistan but every government, past or present, has failed to provide adequate security to them. In an act of supreme opportunism under pressure from the religious extremists, the Ahmedis were declared non-Muslims by Zulfikar Bhutto in 1974. This opened the door for religious zealots to wreak further havoc when it came to the Ahmedis. General Ziaul Haq, a bigot, persecuted the Ahmedi sect by promulgating discriminatory laws specific to this community. Since then we have seen a constant rise in intolerance towards the Ahmedis. Instead of giving protection to our minorities as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have castigated them.

Another worrying aspect of Friday’s brutal massacre was that apparently the Punjab government had been forewarned of possible terrorist attacks against the minorities. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that two security alerts were sent to the provincial government on May 13 and May 26 warning them of such an attack. It is shocking to know that instead of doing anything about it, the Punjab government adopted a ‘devil may care’ attitude. We are already in a life and death struggle with terrorism, thus the Punjab government’s apathetic treatment of an intelligence report of such sensitivity is nothing short of criminal negligence. On top of that we have seen the provincial government’s top minister hobnobbing with the leaders of banned terrorist groups, case in point being Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah mollycoddling a Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) leader in Jhang for electoral purposes. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif begging mercy from the Taliban to spare Punjab is another grim reminder that our leaders are playing a very dangerous game. It seems the PML-N is playing the role of a fifth column in this war against terrorism. Instead of owning up to the fact that there are terrorists in Punjab, the provincial government has shifted the blame to an obscure ‘foreign hand’. The government should not try to fool the public with red herrings. The people of this country want answers and not flimsy excuses. The Friday attacks were not just an assault on the Ahmedis but an assault on every citizen of Pakistan.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


Anonymous said…
The fact that you work for a newspaper owned by the governor is evidenced by the pictures that show up in the DT weekend magazine.

Week after week all we see is pictures of the aged Governor Taseer (wearing sunglasses indoors as if he was in need of braille), Sanam Taseer, Sheryar Taseer, the plagiarsit Sara Taseer (just ask Hrithik Roshan), and some obese woman wearing a bandana who's name is Zareen Khalid...

I would encourage you to appreciate the fact that we now have FREE media in our country. No need to bow down to one family.

Pursue true journalism dear. Your tweets to the owners are further evidence that you aren't an independent journalist.
Zinda BB? said…
Shame on ZAB for starting the fiasco that has led to these murders today. He may have gained temporary political stability but all we have gained is blood and tragedy. Has anyone requested Salman Taseer, Asif Zardari or the PPP Chairperson Bilal Bhutto for an apology?
mehmal said…

First of all let me make it clear that I have nothing to do with the Sunday magazine just because I work in the same newspaper. I am editor of DT's Op-Ed pages, so I take responsibility for what is published on my pages but not the magazine. Secondly, I think the magazine is quite a hit despite what you say and you can gauge that from the amount of ads we get for that magazine.Kindly, don't be derogatory to the Taseers and Ms Khalid in the future on my blog, thank you.

As for bowing down to the family, when have I done that? The Taseers don't interfere in our editorial policy, so I don't know what you're talking about. As for my tweets, I don't think I interact with any of them except Sara and my tweets to her have got nothing to do with the paper or its policies. Kindly elaborate what you mean by all this.

Btw, what's your name... why post a comment anonymously? Hiding something here?

@Zinda BB

We have published articles in our paper asking for a repeal of the Second Amendment. I hope the government takes note of that.

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