News Analysis |
The National Assembly of Pakistan has unanimously passed a resolution, which proposes to rename the ‘Abdus Salaam Centre’ in Quaid-e-Azam University. The National Centre for Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad was named after Professor Dr. Abdus Salam last year, the renowned physicist and only Pakistani who managed to win Nobel Prize in Science.
The resolution was presented by Member National Assembly and son-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Captain (retd) Safdar. Safdar stated that the department be renamed after “famous scientist Abu al Fatah Abdul Rahman Al-Khazini, who was the biggest name for Muslims in Physics”.
“The creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was based on the Two-Nation Theory. The department should be renamed after Abu al Fatah Abdul Rahman Al-Khazini so that the world can know that he followed in the footsteps of his teacher Al-Biruni to achieve amazing feats in the world of physics,” the resolution read.
Interestingly in 2016, then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had approved the renaming of the National Centre for Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University after Dr. Abdus Salam.
Safdar’s anti-Ahmedi community stance:
This is not for the first time that the Nawaz Sharif’s son in law has made an attempt to symbolically marginalize the Ahmadi community in Pakistan. A few months ago he made anti-Ahmadi comments while speaking in the National Assembly. He demanded the government to rename the National Centre for Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University.
“These people [Ahmadis] are a threat to this country, its Constitution, and ideology. This situation is heading towards a dangerous point,” said Safdar.
He further mentioned that “Pakistan was created with an ideology to protect the finality of Prophethood [Khatm-i-Naboowat] so Islam is practiced here.”
He also asked for a “ban on recruitment of Qadianis [Ahmadis] in the armed forces”. He was of the view that since “theirs is a false religion, in which there is no concept of jihad for Allah,” the members of the Ahmadi community and “could not be trusted” with the responsibility of guarding the country’s frontiers.
PML-N’s tactics to seek the political support of the conservatively religious in the country
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), the ruling party in Pakistan, was last year accused of having drafted some objection changes to Khatam-e-Nabuwat in the Election Act 2017. Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) Chairman Khadim Hussain Rizvi not only condemned it but also organized a sit-in in Faizabad to demand the resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid. The government initially ignored the protest but later had to deal with it, since the protestors paralyzed the functioning of the twin cities. As the government launched an operation against the TKP members, nationwide protests erupted. Roads in all major cities of Pakistan were immediately blocked, residences of politicians were attacked, and anti-government slogans were raised by the protestors. The Pakistan Army had to intervene and played the role of mediator, and as a result, an agreement was signed between the government and TLP.
However, it should be noted that Khadim Rizvi managed to establish a strong narrative against the PML-N for allegedly being involved in making changes to Khatam-e-Nabuwat clause. Any move by the government that might hurt those religious sentiments of the population might prove costly in Pakistan.
Perhaps, PML-N has learned this from the Faizabad sit-in incident. Safdar, Sharif’s son-in-law, has been making anti-Ahmadi remarks in order to maintain his (and perhaps of PML-N’s) popularity in religious circles. But in areas like South Punjab where religious minded people vote on the basis of faith, PML-N has faced already suffered a major setback. The rapidly growing popularity of TLP is an evidence of the fact that anti-PML-N slogan of Khadim Rizvi is working for him. And his party TLP.
The resolution being passed in the National Assembly, the hateful remarks of Nawaz’s son-in-law against a religious minority in Pakistan, is a matter of serious concern. Pakistan is consideredthea worst place for religious minorities across the world. Such moves by the ruling party to please a specific group of people may prove productive for the party but holistically it is not in the best interests of the state and society. Using hate to win votes is an old tactic in politics, and politicians all over the world utilize this method to win elections. Similarly, Trump used his anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric to win the previous U.S. elections. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) uses the same tactic in India. However, promoting hate and discrimination has serious consequences due to which the scapegoat party suffers in the form of hate and persecution.