PAKISTAN: Punjab’s ruling party wants to ban Ahmadis from a whole district
Rather than protecting them against mob violence, the Vice President of Punjab’s Pakistan Muslim League-Q wants to expel them from Khushab District.
By Massimo Introvigne
Bitter Winter (18.08.2022) – https://bit.ly/3QzGqZB – The solution was simple, and one wonders why nobody suggested it before. To stop the violence against the persecuted Ahmadi minority in the District of Khushab, one of the most conservative in Punjab, Pakistan, a leading politician has proposed to expel all the Ahmadis from the district.
It would be hardly believable if the proposal would come from a minor radical, but Malik Ilyas Awan, who put it in writing in a letter to the District Commissioner dated July 30, is the Vice President of Punjab’s Muslim League-Q, the ruling party in Punjab. The new Chief Minister of Punjab, Pervaiz Elahi, who assumed office on July 27, is also a member of the Muslim League-Q.
Awan took exception to the fact that public security should be deployed to protect Ahmadis from violence by radical Sunni Muslims in the District of Khushab.
He wrote to the District Commissioner that the Ahmadis “cannot offer prayers openly in the Islamic state of Pakistan… Pakistan is an Islamic state that has been established in the name of Allah and His Beloved.” Ahmadis, Awan wrote, “propagate their teachings that is totally against the laws of an Islamic State and the constitution. What will our youngsters who are appointed on their security think? Are they protecting the deniers of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat or expressing devotion to the Holy Prophet (PBUH)? Secondly, it also leaves a bad impression on our children.
It is requested to remove their security immediately and initiate an inquiry. Those who do not believe in Khatm-e-Nabuwwat must be banished from the District.”
Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) is the doctrine that Muhammad is the last in a series of prophets that started with Adam, and that there can be no prophets after Muhammad. The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded within Islam by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). Conservative Muslims accuse Ahmad of having considered himself a “prophet” who came after Muhammad, thus denying the Finality of Prophethood, although the Ahmadis regard their founder as “both a prophet and a follower of the Prophet [Muhammad].”
Now a prominent politician suggests that those who do not share his theology should be expelled from a whole district—or worse, since “removing the security” of the Ahmadis, as Awan requests, means leaving them undefended against a mob violence that has already killed several of them.
Photo: Malik Ilyas Awan (left) with Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi. From Twitter.
Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio. From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.