AWP condemns Capt Safdar’s verbal attack on Ahmadis

Islamabad, Oct 11: The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the unprovoked verbal attack on the long-persecuted Ahmadi community by the ruling PML-N legislator and former premier Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Capt (Retd) Safdar in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The party demanded the government to issue an official apology in this regard.

For a prominent functionary of the ruling party to use such hateful language indicates the PML-N’s scant disregard for the basic postulates of modern democracy and is, in fact, tantamount to incitement to violence.

The AWP slammed as a sham all of the PML-N’s recent pro-democracy posturing against the establishment and said that Capt Safdar’s tirade makes clear that the ruling party continues to espouse the same majoritarian ideology that has sustained the establishment’s power for seventy years.

In a joint statement AWP Punjab President Dr Aasim Sajjad and Central Deputy general secretary Ismat Shahjehan said that violence in the name of faith has already reached barbaric proportions in Pakistani society, with the torturing to death of a 17-year Christian boy in Sheikhupura by the police on the same day as Capt Safdar’s speech in parliament the latest incident of its kind.

Earlier, last week three Shia Hazaras were gunned down in Quetta in a terrorist attack.

Last month a Christian 9th grader student was brutally killed by his classmates in a Punjab school.

In Ghizer District of Gilgit-Baltistan a noted rights activist, Israruddin Israr had to flee along with his children his native town after threats to his life and attack on his house by activists of a banned sectarian outfit.

They said that all democratic forces have a duty to weed out the seeds of hate that were sowed across the length and breadth of the country during the military dictatorship of the 1980s.

Instead, the PML-N has shown its true ideological colours at a time when it is depicting itself as the bastion of resistance to praetorianism and extremism.

The AWP leaders also called upon parliamentary parties to reject MNA Safdar’s remarks on the floor of the house and send a clear message that extremist ideologies cannot be indulged in a democratic society.

They said that it is alarming enough that the PML-N government has facilitated the mainstreaming of militant banned organisations as was evident by the candidacy of a member of the so-called Milli Muslim League in the recent NA-120 by election.

It is, therefore, imperative that genuinely democratic forces push back against this trend, and if mainstream parties fail to do so they too will expose their own unwillingness to stand against the forces of reaction in particular, and the establishment more generally.

The AWP rejects Capt Safdar’s demand that the name of Nobel Laureate Dr Abdus Salam be removed from the Centre for Physics at Quaid-i-Azam University, and said that Dr Salam is one of Pakistan’s most celebrated sons and should be honoured as such.

The AWP believes that the state should protect the life and liberty of such individuals rather than victimising them, and reflects the AWP’s commitment to the cause of religious and ethnic minorities, women and all other subjugated individuals and groups who are living in an environment of fear.

The party will struggle ceaselessly for a transformation of the social order and the establishment of a truly just, humane and secular polity in which all citizens enjoy rights not only in letter but also in spirit.


Farman Ali

Information Secretary