Al Jazeera: Pakistan’s silent partition

“Should I tear my heart out to show I am a Muslim?”

““I left home when my father said jihad was his duty and he will kill me if I don’t abandon my faith,”

“The 1974 legislation, the second amendment to the constitution, was passed by the Parliament during the tenure of the founder of the Pakistan People’s Party and the country’s first elected prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was then under severe pressure from hardline clerics. A decade later, under the regime of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who had toppled Bhutto’s government in a coup, the oppression of Ahmadis grew when Ordinance XX was passed. According to this new law in section 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code, Ahmadis who “pose to be Muslims” or an Ahmadi who “refers to his faith as Islam” could be punished under law with a jail term of up to three years. In addition, Ahmadis could no longer call their places of worship mosques or refer to the call for prayer as azan.”

“Hamza…has been persecuted in his own house ever since he turned 19…His father abandoned the Ahmadiyya sect and joined the right-wing group Jamaat-ud-Dawa, headed by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Saeed is also the founder of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which claimed responsibility for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.”

“Sometimes my brother shows me my parents’ faces on Skype,” he says. “They are now in their 80s and both of them are very ill. I said goodbye to them for the last time when I left Pakistan. I know I’ll never be able to go back and see them again, not even for their funeral.” His parents left their home in India during the partition, migrating to Pakistan in search of a better life. Sixty-eight years later their son is hoping for refuge elsewhere.”

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