I am Pakistan’s religious minority. And I know you will never speak up for me

I am Christian. I can be targeted very easily in this country that seems to be run and controlled by the mullahs. Just a couple of days ago, I was sentenced to death over blasphemy allegations – something I swear I wasn’t involved with. Something nobody managed to provide solid proof against. Something, despite the evidence, Junaid Jamshed got away with on account of his faith and status within the religious community. Something Salmaan Taseer lost his life for, because of someone from my faith, only because he was trying to help the innocent mother of five. Something anyone can frame me for. Everybody knows that nobody needs evidence when somebody is accused of blasphemy; it’s a death sentence either way! If you take me to court, I will most certainly be sentenced to death and if you leave me free, death will come in a worse manner. I see my countrymen raise their concerns when Muslims in any other part of the world are treated with injustice. But nobody will raise their voice for me. You see, I am Christian.

I am Ahmadi. I was part of the religious majority until 1974, when Bhutto declared I was no longer a Muslim. I was one of you and you turned me from ‘us’ to ‘them’. Everybody knows that there was a lot of pressure on my government from the then Saudi King, King Faisal. Everybody knows this move was more of a political one. Everybody knows I was offered at the altar to satiate the thirst of the blood thirsty mullahs. Everybody knows I was a pawn. My children are no longer safe in the land of the pure. From a young age, they know they have to hide their identities. My place of worship has no name for it is a punishable offence. My dead aren’t safe from persecution either – haven’t you wondered why I guard even my dead so dearly with barbed wire, huge walls and locked gates surrounding my graveyards? You all pass by it. Yet you don’t speak. Actually, you sign a declaration that Ahmadis aren’t Muslims while applying for a passport.

I am Shia. The founder of your nation belonged to my community, did you know that? I have open venom spewed against me and over the years it has gotten worse. My processions require police protection because my processions are attacked. My people aren’t safe in your northern areas, my people aren’t safe in the south. I am ridiculed socially based on my faith – ask your children, even they must be aware of the ‘jokes’ made against me and the names that I am called. You may sympathise with me while reading this right now, but if your daughter wishes to marry someone from my community, all that sympathy will be gone and you will find yourself on a quest to declare my version of Islam completely wrong. You will call me a heretic, you will call me a disbeliever.

I am from a religious minority and you will never speak for my rights. You will either not believe in the fact that I too deserve rights or you will be too scared to speak for me. You see, I have always thought of us as ‘us’ but to you, we’re just ‘us’ and ‘them’.

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