The National Assembly yesterday unanimously agreed to pass a resolution seeking to rename the Quaid-e-Azam University’s Abdus Salam Centre. The idea was proposed by Capt. Safdar, the same man who went on a tirade against Ahmadis in Pakistan last year in October, calling them “a threat to the country and the constitution”.  The proposed change was to change the name to honor the famous scientist Abu al Fatah Abdul Rahman Al-Khazini, one of the biggest names for Muslims in Physics.

Dr. Abdus Salam was a renowned physicist, who served his country well by being the first Pakistani to win a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979. A man of great accolades, he also worked tirelessly to develop a peaceful nuclear technology. Yet, long after Dr. Abdus Salam’s death, we still cannot honor his formidable contributions to science in Pakistan. Just because he belongs to the Ahmadi faith.

A group of several MNA’s including ones from PTI, PPP, and PML-N unanimously agreed to pass the resolution.

Interestingly, it was Nawaz Sharif’s government that named the QAU Physics center as the Abdus Salam Centre, in the first place.

Yet, today, his own son-in-law, Capt. Safdar moved the NA to overturn the decision. The PML-N leadership, ironically, also condemned the hateful speech against rightful citizens of the country. In light of this, many people all calling into question the values espoused by PML-N and whether they actually practice what they preach.

Not just PML-N but the irony-laden policies of previous governments are vexing as well.

How exactly does one justify the senseless hypocrisy here?

But, perhaps the most astounding irony is PPP loyalists condemning the decision.

Has everyone forgotten who legislated changes that legalized such discriminatory measures, in the first place?

While Pakistan continues to turn a blind eye to its heroes, the world is still acknowledging them.

When we lament over brain drain from Pakistan, do we ever acknowledge how terrible an atmosphere we have inculcated for scientific development and invention? If we continue to let people like Capt. Safdar reign supreme in important public spaces, we won’t be able to foster an environment where learning is prioritized above all. Dr. Abdus Salam wasn’t championing his Ahmadi beliefs while coming up with invaluable, peaceful nuclear technology if that is what the problem is. His formulas weren’t laced with his religious beliefs, rather they were a service to humanity that impacted a lot more than just Muslims. So why can’t we ask the difficult questions and just try to do better by our national assets? Many of whom will, unfortunately, face the same fate as Dr. Abdus Salam if the status quo isn’t broken.



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