The son-in-law of Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and a PML-N lawmaker has launched a tirade against the persecuted Ahmadiyya Muslims community, saying there is no concept of jihad in their “false religion”. Muhammad Safdar, a retired captain of the Pakistan Army, told the National Assembly yesterday that Pakistan was an ideological country and the minority Ahmadiyya community poses a threat to its Constitution and ideology.
“These people [Ahmadiyya] are a threat to this country, its Constitution and ideology. This situation is heading towards a dangerous point,” Safdar was quoted as saying by the Dawn News.
Calling for ‘action’ against the Ahmaddiya community, Safdar, a former military serviceman, said he wanted to bring a resolution in the National Assembly calling for a “ban on recruitment of Qadianis [Ahmadiyya] in the armed forces”.
“Because their’s is a false religion, in which there is no concept of jihad,” said Safdar, who continued his harangue against the community uninterrupted by other members of the House.
Safdar is married to Maryam Nawaz who is reportedly being groomed as Sharif’s successor.
Safdar, facing corruption cases in the high-profile Panama Papers case, also criticised the renaming of Quaid-i-Azam University’s (QAU) physics centre after Professor Dr Abdus Salam, the country’s first Nobel laureate — the grounds for the lawmaker’s objections being the scientist’s Ahmadiyya faith.
“We will not like any such institution associated with him,” he said.
The renaming of the physics centre had been approved in December 2016 by Sharif, who had also approved a grant for five annual fellowships for Pakistani PhD students.
This programme is called the Professor Abdus Salam Fellowship. Nuclear physicist Abdus Salam hailed from the Ahmadiyya community, whose members constitute a minority in Pakistan. Its members have faced persecution and were declared non-Muslims in Pakistan through a constitutional amendment in 1974.
Safdar then urged rightwing Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Sahibzada Tariqullah to bring forth a resolution against the renaming of the QAU physics centre.
The Ahmadiyya community was declared non-Muslims in Pakistan through a constitutional amendment in 1974 during the tenure of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
This measure was later followed with former president Gen Ziaul Haq, making it a punishable offence for Ahmadiyyas to call themselves Muslim or to refer to their faith as Islam.
The community is also banned from preaching as well as from travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. They are also not allowed to publish any material propagating their faith.
Members of the community have often been targeted in gun attacks. An attack on two Ahmaddiya places of worship in May 2010 which was carried out by suicide bombers led to 80 deaths.
Safdar and his wife Maryam are currently facing a trial in a corruption case filed by the National Accountably Bureau. Safdar was arrested on Monday and presented before court which released him on bail.
The untimely blistering attack against the minority group might be an effort to divert attention from case and seek sympathy of right wing groups, according to analysts.