You are Free to Go to Your Mosque
I love Pakistan with all my heart and soul. Not a day passes by when I don't miss it. I miss its mountains, its plains, its fields, its narrow alleys and broad rivers, its busy bazaars and serene Baghs. I miss its food, fruits, flowers, dresses, colors. I miss everything it nurtured me with. However, in my love for my homeland, I also see it’s injustices up close.
As an Ahmadi Muslim, I have always felt as the ‘other’ in my homeland. Despite it being the land of my ancestors and their ancestors, I always felt the need of proving my loyalty. Despite being the daughter of a father who gave the best years of his life to his homeland and fought two wars for it, I always needed to explain my love for the country. Despite being a law-abiding citizen, I had to claim my space which was often denied. Despite having the same nationality, I had to fight for equal entrance on every single step.
This is the reality for too many Pakistanis. Religious freedom is reprehensible in Pakistan. We as Ahmadi Muslims have lost too many people at the hand of extremism. Too many mosques have been desecrated because extremist Mullahs won't have it any other way. Our dead people aren't safe either for they are denied burial and their graves have been exhumed. Our Pakistani hindu neighbors fear abduction of their girl child every day. Their mandirs are ransacked as if it's no big deal. Our christian neighbors fear the draconian blasphemy laws. Their churches aren't safe, several have been burned down. Our shia neighbors fear target killing every single day, and Imam Bargahs aren't as safe as they used to be. Once a sizable community, Parsi and Jewish Pakistanis are hard to find in today's Pakistan. This is the bitter reality of today’s Pakistan.
The founder of Pakistan, Qaide Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, foresaw this and categorically rejected religious extremism in his Aug 11, 1947 speech. He said, “ you are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan.” I wish that this becomes a reality in Pakistan. Pakistan Zindabad!