PTI Minister Faisal Javed’s announcement that the government is forced to compromise on the inclusion of minorities at the expense of unity isn’t a new or recent development. However, in Naya Pakistan, we were all hoping against hope that the value of expertise would insistently trump religious pragmatism. In his address Fawad Chaudary the information minister also stated:

“He [Atif R Mian] is a person revered worldwide and a favorite to win the Nobel Peace Prize within the next five years. We have appointed him as a member of the Economic Advisory Council, not the Council of Islamic Ideology so the criticism is hardly justified.”

Jibran Nasir, a social activist, lawyer and independent candidate from Karachi was labeled ‘Kharij-e-Islam‘ in the recent elections because he refused to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims. Thus, Imran Khan also ingeniously timed his appointment in accordance with the controversy in the Netherlands over a Dutch politician Geert Wilders – who was set to stage a Prophet Mohammad (SAW) cartoon competition and Imran in clear-cut condemnation of such events prepared to announce the inclusion of an Ahmadi in his advisory board.

Unfortunately, the religious right cannot be so easily fooled!

Renowned Princeton University economist Atif R. Mian’s removal from the body of Imran Khan’s Economic Council thus came as a surprise since the government had only recently defended the academic’s nomination, saying in categorical terms that it will “not bow to extremists”. Alas, even Khan’s government who had so diligently overthrown several corrupt PMLN politicians – could not unseat the draconian right-wing sentiments of this country’s underpaid and overpowered. Dr.

Atif R. Mian stepping down led to the resignation of two other economists on a moral basis. London-based economists Dr. Imran Rasul and Harvard University’s Evidence for Policy Design unit co-director Asim Ijaz Khwaja resigned at a time when the newly elected government faces a dire economic atmosphere.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had taken to Twitter to recall the appointment of Sir Zafar Ullah Khan.

He noted that “Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah appointed Sir Zafar Ullah [also an Ahmadi] as Foreign minister of Pakistan; we’ll follow [the] principles of Mr. Jinnah, not of extremists. Dr. Mian has served as a professor of economics, public policy and finance at Princeton University and as director of The Julis-Rabinowitz Centre for Public Policy and Finance at Woodrow Wilson School. He is the only Pakistani to be considered among International Monetary Fund’s ‘top 25 brightest young economists.”

Quaid’s and therefore Pakistan’s first foreign minister Zafar Ullah Khan is said to have been chosen as Pakistan’s first representative to the world because of his political acumen, which is clearly needed currently in the field of Economics. It is practically poetic in a way and reflects how Pakistan was initially meant to be composed of Indian minorities, unaccepted in their own land and who carved out a safe haven for the basic right of self-determination.

Anti-Ahmedi rhetoric in recent years has increasingly intensified.

Equal Citizenship Rights where citizens right to religiously self-identify as Muslim goes against the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. Mirza Ghulam Ahmed who founded the sect in British-ruled India in 1889, is claimed to be a “subordinate prophet”. This violates a central tenet of the Islamic doctrine of Khatimay Nabuwat. I don’t even want to get into the argument what and who can identify an apostate. By law, they cannot call their places of worship mosques or distribute religious literature, recite the Quran or use traditional Islamic greetings – measures they say criminalize their daily lives. One could vaguely think Muslims are unfamiliar with the feeling of religious persecution and that Indian Kashmir isn’t that close to home.


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