A prominent leader of the community, Malik Saleem Latif, and a relative of the Nobel Laureate, Dr Abdus Salam, was shot on Thursday. This happened in Nankana Sahib while he was on his way to court with his son. Malik Saleem Latif’s son was there to witness the murder, and there is no condemnation harsh enough for this crime against him and his father.

The question is the same as always; why punish a peaceful community so much that they develop hatred for the land they live in? All minorities have a right to live peacefully in Pakistan and those who attack and threaten Ahmadis are breaking the law of the land. There is no honour in being bigoted and violent, and no comfort in hating those who do not subscribe to one’s own beliefs.

There is no clear law ensuring their safeguard from this type of vigilante violence. There are also no checks and balances on hate-mongering against the Ahmadis. Minority rights are only limited to being texts in our constitution. Even our law enforcement agencies are loath to follow the letter of the law. On March 22, police officials in Chenab Nagar, Chiniot District allegedly harassed Ahmadi children who were volunteering in a traffic awareness campaign. Their pamphlets were snatched and one of the children was detained by the police.

The situation in our assemblies is even more alarming. PML-N parliamentarian Muhammad Ilyas Chinioti, recently filed an application in the Punjab Assembly to restrict the movement of Ahmadis. They offended the MPA over their presence on social media, prompting him to take legal action. How his fragile faith was hurt by the views of people he does not know is beyond the scope of this discussion, but the fact is that societal hate for this community is irrational and indefensible.

The Ahmadi community has been suffering endlessly since that second amendment became a part of our constitution. Declaring them as non-Muslims is one thing, but their persecution is certainly something that is inhumane and worthy of punishment.