10/21/2017, 15.56
PAKISTAN
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Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law sparks outrage over his discriminatory comments about Ahmadis

by Shafique Khokhar

The Rwadari Tehreek Movement calls for immediate action against Muhammad Safdar. His speech “was an incitement of violence towards minorities, and was against the vision of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah."

Lahore (AsiaNews) – The speech by the son-in-law of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the National Assembly, calling for the social boycott of Ahmadi Muslims, has sparked concern and outrage[1] among groups like the Rwadari Tehreek (Tolerance) Movement, which promotes religious and social harmony.

At a press conference last Tuesday at the Lahore Press Club, the group condemned the hateful speech by Muhammad Safdar, a member of the ruling party, and a retired captain married to Sharif Nawaz’s favourite daughter, Maryam Nawaz. The group also called on the government to do something to prevent such situations in the future.

Samson Salamat, president of Rwadari Tehreek, and several Protestant clergymen were present at the press conference.

"The speech was profoundly discriminatory,” Salamat said. It “was an incitement of violence towards minorities, and was against the vision of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who, in his first speech to the nation, said that 'We are all citizens and equal citizens of one state’.”

According to the activist, the speech "has fuelled intolerance and increased the sense of fear and terror among people who belong to religious minorities, who have already been victims of discrimination."

Abdullah Malik, president of the Civil Society Network, stressed that "religious minorities have played a vital role in the socio-economic development of the country since its inception. It is really sad that they are considered lower class citizens. "

"It is very sad that that a Member of Parliament is allowed to express such intolerant and politically incorrect view with impunity and no action is taken. It is regrettable that no other political party or parliamentarian condemned him."

 


[1] The Ahmadi are about 2 per cent of the Pakistani population. They are a religious movement inspired by Islam that emerged at the end of the 19th century. The founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was considered a prophet who appeared after Muhammad. For Sunni Muslims, the group is heretical. Following Pakistan’s independence, Ahmadis have made a great political and cultural contribution to the country. Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, and Pakistan’s first Nobel Prize, physicist Mohammad Abdus Salam, were both Ahmadis.

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