When the Prime Minister of Pakistan tries hard to appropriate the credit for being the champion of Islam or a Crusader against Islamophobia, it is indeed an irony. For it is this very person who hailed terrorist Osama Bin Laden as a ‘martyr’.
Many, while arguing the case against Imran Khan, raise the issue of treatment of religious minorities in Pakistan and the denial of basic human rights to them. But here is a quick check on how Pakistan has been brutal to the very community whose well being Imran claims to champion—Muslims. On Monday, June 21, Dr Ghulam Abbas was gunned down by unknown gunmen. Dr Abbas, a liberal nationalist from Kotli in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, was shot dead in the wee hours. A votary of inter-faith harmony, Dr Abbas had no personal enemies. Locals say that anyone who talks of inter-faith harmony is on the hit list of the occupiers. So much for taking up the Kashmir cause.
Since the year 2000, 8,200 people have succumbed in Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan-sponsored bullets and grenades. Almost all of them are Muslims. The architect of the constitution of the Muslim League and one who championed the two-nation theory under Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Zafarullah Khan, and Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate, Abdus Salam, find the term Muslim scratched from their graves. Since 1974, Ahmadiyyas are not considered Muslims in Pakistan. So much for tolerance and ‘Land of Purity’.
Muslims who voted for separation of Pakistan from the Indian heartland and braved the riots and violence to reach Pakistan found themselves shunned by the Punjabi Muslims who branded them ‘Muhajirs’ or ‘immigrants’ and pushed them south towards Karachi, where the local Sindhis made life tough for them. Seventy years later, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement remains a political reality and consequently the ‘Muhajir’ progeny continues to be branded.
Imran Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, also traces its roots to the cause for equality of Muslim immigrants from mainland India and Bangladesh who migrated during 1947 and 1971. From the hub of intelligentsia to ‘Jihad’ factory, Pakistan’s transformation is evident. Imran’s Pakistan has the dubious distinction of having a University of Jihad. And here innocents are brainwashed and trained to kill innocents. Have a look at the data below. It speaks for itself.
Muslims killed in Pakistan, an Islamic nation:
* 24,294 Shia Muslims killed over the years (1955-2020)
45,000 Sunni Sufi or Barelvi Muslims (Source – Let us Build Pakistan)
*19,000+ Baloch people disappeared, the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) said in 2015
*40000+ Baloch political and social activists detained or abducted in last 18 years, many killed; Riaz Baloch, exiled political and human rights activist, in London
*70,000+ killed in last 16 years, said Imtiaz Wazir, former chairman of Pakhtun Students Federation
* Thousands of Ahmadis killed over the years
* In 1953 Lahore Riots, around 2000 Ahmadi Muslims killed, as per Google Arts and Culture Report
* In 1974 Ahmadiyya riots, the largest Ahmadi killing incident, thousands were killed
* In 2010, two places of worship of the Ahmadiyya community attacked in Lahore; 80 were killed
There are many sects of Islam that have been tormented or suppressed in Pakistan.
* Target of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws due to religious differences
* Constitute 15-20% of Pakistan’s population; largest Shia community outside Iran
* Many well-known Shia families and persons forced to leave in hiding
* Shia genocide in Pakistan – over 23,500 Shia Muslims - 45,000 Sunni Sufi or Barelvi Muslims killed (Source: Let us Build Pakistan)
* Based in Afghanistan–Pakistan border region (former FATA region)
* Sandwiched between atrocities of Pakistan Army-ISI and Afghan terror groups
* Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearance, torture, extra-judicial killing by Pakistan Army
* Grave human rights abuse by Pak Army-ISI—70,000 Pashtuns were killed in last 16 years, says Imtiaz Wazir, former chairman of Pakhtun Students Federation
* An independent resource-rich region forcefully occupied by Pakistan since 1948
* Baloch are Sunni Muslims, ethnically different, speak Iranian language
* Pakistan Army/ISI atrocity on Baloch freedom fighters/activists
* Extra-judicial kidnappings, torture of Baloch activists
* Over 19,000 men, women, children detained, raped and killed
* Over 40,000 Baloch political and social activists kidnapped in last 18 years, many killed
* Reports of over 120 places of Ahmadi worship destroyed, sealed or their construction stopped.
* Ahmadis declared ‘non-Muslims’ by Pakistan in 1974
* Law states that Ahmadis cannot call their places of worship mosques.
* Law prohibits Ahmadis from professing their beliefs
* Ahmadi places of worship desecrated or shut down
* Killing of Ahmadis in the name of blasphemy a routine
All this underlines why when Imran Khan tries to speak for the rights of Muslims anywhere in the world, it rings hollow. A leader who can’t protect Muslims in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, what locus does he have to talk of anybody anywhere else. His silence on East Turkestan is deafening. His defence on the silence so feeble.
It is a sad commentary on a nation that its leadership openly admits that China has literally bought its silence. The reality of the Pakistan establishment is that it personifies the adage ‘Paisa Phenk Tamasha Dekh’. They will sing praises of anyone who throws money at them. Pakistani leadership and government today have let their people down. It is an embarrassment to its allies and it is the sole cause of instability in the Indian subcontinent. A leadership that backs terrorist Islamist outfits and condones killing of innocent Muslims by them (Afghanistan) cannot espouse the Muslim cause.
It is unfair to humanity that Pakistan has become the breeding ground for rabid fundamentalists who are fed with hatred and lies. It is this that will consume them and hasten their doom. No amount of posturing can delay the inevitable. So the next time Imran Khan decides to speak, he better not.