- Rising incidents of violence going unchecked
The brutal killing of a doctor belonging to the Ahmadi community inside his home while offering Friday prayers is another addition to the growing list of similar incidents that have taken place over the span of just the past few months. That the deceased was shot dead at his doorstep over “religious differences” with his adolescent killer displays a precariously deteriorating security situation where religious minorities are not safe even within the confines of their homes. Back in July, another teenager shot dead an under-trial prisoner accused of blasphemy inside a Peshawar courtroom, an Ahmadi who also happened to be an American National. While the US State Department demanded immediate action on part of the Pakistan government to undertake reforms that would prevent such tragedies from happening again, the boy who pulled the trigger was presented in court as a hero, surrounded by lawyers and supporters chanting slogans in support of his actions. Various other targeted killings of Ahmadis have taken place, most notably in Peshawar.
Similar to his predecessors, Prime Minister Imran Khan has expectedly refrained from condemning any of these incidents, let alone calling for measures to stop these acts of religiously motivated mindless violence. It is worth noting here that Mr Khan has twice succumbed to extremist pressure and removed Dr Atif Mian from his economic team for being an Ahmadi, despite the fact that he is a brilliant economist eager to share his ideas on how to turn around Pakistan’s ailing economy. It would therefore be unrealistic to expect this government to speak out against the rising trend of extremists ‘taking matters into their own hands’ and executing minorities, most of which is happening in a province where the PTI has been in power for the past seven years. The National Action Plan (NAP), conceived in the wake of the APS Peshawar tragedy and signed by all political parties, still remains largely unimplemented as a large section of it contains directives to curb rising religious intolerance and extremism. Non-Muslims are first and foremost citizens of Pakistan and are deserving of the same rights and freedoms afforded to Muslims under the constitution. It is the state’s responsibility and duty to ensure their safety.