Letter: On terror anniversary, Pakistan still suffers

As we commemorate the tragedy of 9/11, I am disturbed to see that despite cries to end worldwide terror, the situation in Pakistan is not any better. On Sept. 7, a leading Pakistani media channel Geo TV aired a special program on ‘Aalim Online’ in which a ‘Mullah’ stated that the non-violent religious minority in Pakistan the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is ‘worthy of death.’

A day later, masked assailants murdered two prominent Ahmadis in the Sindh province. One was an American citizen, a physician who devoted himself to provide medical aide to the under served in that enclave. Ironically, he was murdered while working in the hospital that he helped found.

Geo TV was irresponsible in airing an incitement to violence; indeed, the assailants expeditiously carried out the Mullah’s order. But most disturbing is that while the world mourns lives lost on September 11th, Geo TV aired the video in celebration of the 34th anniversary of the Pakistani government’s constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadis to be ‘non-Muslims.’ The war on terror demands a rebuke not only of Pakistan’s media and clergy, but sadly also its constitution.

Sohail Husain

Professor of Pediatrics

Yale School of Medicine

Comments

  • Qamar Ahmad

    This is doubly sad in view of Pakistan's recent deliverance from Military rule. Asif Ali Zardari took the office of President only this week. Many in the west hail it as the hallmark of changing times in Pakistan. However, Pakistan’s problems are more profound. Illiterate Clergy, uneducated masses, silence of majority on issues of vital importance, the list goes on.

  • Allison Knight

    Evil begets evil.

    Although human rights declares to all that we should have freedom of religion, Pakistan continues to state that this obvious right is not for Ahmadi Muslims.

    I met Dr. Siddiqi's family in New York where he was purchasing second hand equipment for Fazl e Umer Hospital. His father was chosen by the Ahmadi Caliph to serve there as a doctor and despite the fact that he was a fully qualified Internist, he served the poor after his father died.

    An evil law begat an evil act.

  • Qasim Rashid

    My God have mercy on Pakistan. No words can truly express the pain I feel for the families of the deceased. May God give them strength.

    I pray that the people of Pakistan come to their senses before it is too late…or perhaps it already is…

  • Waqi Ahmed

    On the evening of 7th September 2008, Mr. Amir Liaquat of Geo TV, in his program “Aalim Online” touched the topic of Khatm-e-Nabuwat. This topic, no doubt, is of utmost importance to every Muslim and absolutely sacred one. The topic should have been explained to the audience in the light of Islamic teachings. But, as usual, the discussion was deviated off the main point and it drifted towards the controversial topic of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (more commonly known as qadianis) . The Sunni cleric or Moulvi sahib started abusing rather accusing Ahmadis for not believing in the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat and further said that anybody not believing in the concept was WAJIB-UL-QATAL (obligatory to be killed) . He did not stop even at that. The molvi sahib, as though it was vital for true explanation of the issue, started abusing Mirza Sahib the founder of the Ahmadiyya community. Mr Liaquat seemed to be on the same lines of thought as of the Molvi. Mr. Amir Liaquat forgot his status as the moderator/anchor of the show and in the continuity of the abuses started his own speech. In his speech he totally forgot the main topic and not only desecrated the sacred status of a man considered holy by more than 200 million people around the world, but also spread hatred among the nation of Pakistan which is already facing the consequences of intolerance among themselves. Not to mention Mr. Liaquat paved the way for further terrorism and extremism by playing with the emotions of the common man; whose heart and soul is Islam but unfortunately does not hold the intellect or the knowledge to study the true values of real Islam.
    This program created such an adverse effect on the illiterate listeners that on the very next day, that is on the 8th of September 2008, Dr. Munnan Siddiqui, a well known Physician who belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Mirpur Khas Sindh, was brutally murdered in his clinic. Unknown gunmen entered his clinic and started firing indiscriminately injuring several persons including his patients and security guard. Dr. Siddiqui succumbed to his injuries few minutes later. This barbaric act of terrorism or extremism whatever we call it was just a glimpse of the potential our populace has in accepting extremist beliefs and resorting to such cowardly acts.
    The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has never been given the chance to defend its beliefs in Pakistan. Numerous allegations and accusations are laid upon the community but never a chance is given to say anything in their defense. We as a nation are affected by the fact that we are intolerant and hate anyone who dares to contradict us. We don’t want to see the other side of the picture. . This has always been the case in Pakistan. But what really saddens me this time is that we are now claiming to fight extremism in our country while our media is spreading such extremist one-sided teachings on prime-time television!!! When will we understand the fact that we must be tolerant enough to listen to other people. Think about the situation the nation is in, everything is going wrong. Everybody agrees to that. Everybody knows the problem is extremism so why not cure it. If Pakistan does not recognize its friends from foes soon than it’s a lost war.
    Finally I being an Ahmadi Muslim condemn this act of violence and ask the Government of Pakistan to ensure that the Muderers of Dr Siddiqui are caught. I also plea to the Authorities to make sure that such acts of terrorism are not repeated. I further address the administration of Geo TV and show my disappointment and condemnation of the content of that program. I considered the Media to be impartial and the voice of the people not the beacon of hate and violence.