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Editorial | Govt Must Take Notice Of AC Attock’s Harassment At Hands Of Religious Fanatics

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A video of Assistant Commissioner of Attock Jannat Nekokara proclaiming her faith in a room full of enraged men patronizingly seeking explanation over one of her statements has been doing the rounds on social media. In her speech at an event marking Human Rights Day, the enlightened woman civil servant had called for unity among all Pakistanis including Ahmadis. But the concept of equality and religious harmony is lost on the small-minded religious fanatics. The AC was forced to clarify her position vis-à-vis the finality of Prophethood and Ahmadis in general. The line of questioning adopted by the men who surrounded her as she clarified her statement, made it appear as if she was under trial for a serious offence and those questioning her were authorised judges.

That a speech advocating equality and harmony among citizens across faiths can generate such a reaction says a lot about the state of affairs in Pakistan when it comes to minorities. This intolerance towards minority faiths has been strengthened over the years through discriminatory laws as well as bigoted rhetoric peddled by political leaders.

The Ahmadi community continues to be at the receiving end of violence whereby their places of worship are ransacked by angry mobs who, in most instances, are found to be backed by local authorities or influentials. The community also faces social boycotts which often forces them to hide their faith. The state is complicit in their persecution by the virtue of its inaction. That no mainstream political leader intends to do something about this hatred and violence makes the situation even more dismal.

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And when a government representative tries to address this exclusion of a religious minority by calling them equal citizens of the state, she is harassed and made to explain herself.

The rowdy men should not have been given a chance to confront her in the first place. The authorities should have taken notice of the backlash and contained their anger instead of putting the young AC in a position where she had to explain her faith in front of a bunch of zealots.

The government must do the needful and ensure her security considering that there have been instances of political leaders being attacked by extremists despite having explained their position over similar controversies.

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