Intimidation and threats faced by the minority Ahmadiyya religious community from extremist groups often take a violent turn. On May 26, a cardiac surgeon Dr Mehdi Ali, who happened to be a member of the Ahmadiyya community, was shot dead in Chenab Nagar allegedly because of his faith. Reports say the doctor was on his way back from a graveyard when two men on a motorcycle opened fire, causing his instantaneous death.
The ill-fated US national is said to have been visiting Pakistan for research work at the town’s Tahrir Cardiac Hospital along with his family. As is often the case, the assailants fled the scene of crime unchallenged. The incident happened barely days after a man walked into a police station in the town of Sharqpur and shot and killed a member of the Ahmadiyya community. It is said that extremist outfits step up their actions against the group as the anniversary of the grisly massacre of the community — May 28 — draws near. It may be recalled that on May 28, 2010, militants attacked two Ahmadiyya places of worship in Lahore with guns, grenades and suicide bombs, killing 94 people and injuring well over a hundred. But this slaughter seemed not to have satisfied the vicious assassins. Two days later, unidentified gunmen attacked the Intensive Care Unit of Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital, where victims and one of the alleged attackers in the May 28 assault were under treatment, sparking a shootout in which at least a further 12 people, mostly police officers and hospital staff, were killed. Yet again, the assailants escaped unhindered.
Naturally, Ahmedis feel vulnerable and insecure in this environment of intolerance and many of its members have chosen to take flight abroad. The authorities are duty-bound under the Constitution to provide security to its minorities and weaker sections of society. But they often fail to do so, letting persecution to perpetuate.