The International Ahmadiyya Muslim Press Office has released a statement condemning the smears against the Pakistani Ahmadi community made by Aamir Liaquat Hussain in a 22 December broadcast on GEO Television:
In the current programme that aired on 22 December, Ahmadi Muslims are described as “enemies of Islam” and “enemies of Pakistan”. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is described as a “common enemy” for all Pakistanis. Pakistanis are urged to put aside all their religious differences and unite together in opposition against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
It is further alleged that, God forbid, Ahmadi Muslims blaspheme and insult the blessed character of the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
It is also claimed that Ahmadi Muslims are involved in various ‘plots’ against Pakistan and that they are to blame for the terrorism that is currently prevalent in the country. An attempt is even made to link the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to the Peshawar school attack of 16 December – even though a well-known terrorist organisation has openly and proudly claimed to have conducted that heinous attack on innocent schoolchildren.
This is not the first time the controversial presenter has stirred up hostility against the Ahmadiyya community. Back in 2008 he hosted a panel discussion dedicated to attacking Ahmadi beliefs and accusing them of blasphemy. Ahmadi Muslims, like other minorities in Pakistan, face both state sanctioned discrimination and violent attacks.
Pakistan isn’t the easiest or safest place to uphold minorities’ rights, but non-Ahmadi Muslim voices have spoken out against this dangerous bigotry. Rubab Mehdi H. Rizvi, Chair of the multifaith Imam Hussain Council and former Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Human Rights in Pakistan has condemned such incitement unequivocally.
“And let me make this very clear. In response to your pamphlet asking Muslims to come out rallying against Ahmadis on Dec 26, know well that we will not allow any attack on any community in Pakistan. We will ensure pluralism and diversity is encouraged and promoted, and we will hold all those who use the pulpit to spread hate and intolerance accountable for their crimes.”
Progressive Shia activists in Pakistan have also spoken out in support of the Ahmadiyya community:
Progressive Shia Activists of Pakistan condemns in strongest terms the incitement to violence towards the Ahmadiyya community in a show aired on GEO TV hosted by Amir Liaqat. TTP has accepted responsibility for Peshawar Attack and it leaves no room to put blame on an oppressed, peaceful community. PEMRA must take notice of this incitement to violence as it surpasses hate speech. We encourage readers to raise a complaint with PEMRA, OFCOM and other regulating bodies. In solidarity with Ahmaddiya Community.