Although Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan distanced himself from the Ahmadiya movement after his emissary was reported to have met members of Ahmadiyya community in London about a year ago for fundraising, yet the cricketer-turned-politician has ended up proposing a name for the coveted position of finance minister, a Ahmadi by faith, when the PTI comes into power.
Addressing Azadi March in the capital city a few days ago, the PTI chief announced that after coming into power, he would never compromise on merit and have people like Professor Atif Mian, an Ahmadi, as his finance minister rather than appointing a relative, apparently taking a swipe at Nawaz Sharif’s Samdhi (daughter’s father-in-law) Ishaq Dar.
Last year, in a widely circulated video message, Khan said that he would neither revise nor repeal any current laws pertaining to the Ahmadiyya community, since these were in consonance with his personal beliefs.
Ahmadis have been quick to point out that on one hand Khan wants to have an Ahmadi as his finance minister but on the other hand he and his political party effectively deny them their religious freedom.
Atif Mian is a 39-year-old Pakistani-American, professor of economics at Princeton University. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) named Mian as one of 25 young economists who are expected to be most influential in the decades to come.
Mian who was born in Nigeria but mostly grew in Pakistan is also a member of Ahmadiyya community.
Article 260-3 in the 1973 Pakistani Constitution declares Ahmadis to be “non-Muslims”. Furthermore, Article 298-B, amongst other things, prevents an Ahmadi from referring to his/her place of worship as a ‘masjid’ or referring to his/her call for prayers as ‘azaan’.