I did not think about the faith of food items until I read today’s newspaper. Apparently the Lahore Bar Association has proposed a ban on sales of Shezan
drinks at the premises of the lower courts. Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, a Muslim lawyer, recommended action against buying or selling products owned by an Ahmadi-owned food company. Khatm-e-nubuwwat, a reformist Islamic organization, also calls for boycotting Shezan products in its online pamphlet
. “This company supplies the “petrol” for the vehicle of false prophethood. In short, the Shezan company is the economic unit of the qadiyani (a derogatory term referring to Ahmadis) prophethood”, it states. Similarly Qmobile
, a local cellphone company, had to publish apologetic advertisements last week after clerics suspected its ownership because it starts with the same letter that relates to Qadiyanis. “I believe in the finality of Prophet Mohammed and also that no other prophet will come after him”, states a banner on the Shezan bakers situated near my home. A McDonalds outlet in Lahore also had to erect first of the six Kalimahs on its entrance for several months after suicide bombings became rampant a few years ago. Even Asma Jahangir, a renowned advocate and former chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
, faces an anti-Ahmadi hate campaign and is often accused of being anti-Pakistan, pro-US and pro-India. The religion of bottled beverages and edibles is a new discovery. The lawyers in Lahore did more than consecrating juices in subordinate court canteens. They affirmed the belief that Ahmadis are not Pakistanis. Media reports say Pakistan is the only country in the world where Ahmadis are not allowed to go for Hajj, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. There are countless instances regarding inhuman treatment to a religious sect which denies to be labeled as a minority. A few newspapers carry these stories. Lawmakers have also given up on the community. Courts are generally considered the last hope for justice. The judiciary is considered as one of the four power blocs in Pakistan alongside the government, army and media. The fact that lawyers can be biased religiously leaves minority communities more depressed. Justice has to be blind (and secular just like bottled drinks). Factories and companies are already closing their business in the country amid inflation and worsening energy crises. Factory owners are selling their apparatus for scrap. The action of lawyers in Lahore puts a major question on whether we afford to bifurcate our merchandise in the name of religion amid crippling economy. What good will it do in the progress of a troubled country? Silent Thinker is the pseudonym of a Catholic commentator based in Lahore.