Friday, August 4, 2017

What’s in a name? Pakistan's attempt to deface history | Haroon Khalid


In 1999, Punjab’s assembly renamed Rabwah as Chenab Nagar, reasoning that Rabwah was the appropriation of an Islamic word by non-Muslim Ahmadis.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | Int'l
Source/Credit: Scroll.in
By Haroon Khalid | August 4, 2017

[Excerpt]

A proposed law in Pakistan seeks to punish anyone who calls a place by a different name than that notified by the government, even if unintentionally.

In pre-Partition Lahore, Laxmi Chowk used to host one of the city’s largest Diwali celebrations. It stayed vibrant post Partition, becoming the hub of Pakistan’s film industry and a popular haunt for traditional food.

The name, though, was perhaps too much to bear for a state determined to erase its past. So, it was renamed Maulana Zafar Ali Khan Chowk, after a pioneer of Urdu language journalism, who, through his newspaper, waged a battle against the Ahmadiyya community.

About 200 km from Lahore is Rabwah town, the spiritual headquarters of the Ahmadiyya community. Rabwah, an Arabic word that appears in the Quran, means highland.

In 1974, Pakistan’s parliament declared Ahmadis non-Muslim. In 1984, an ordinance promulgated by General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime, barred them from posing as Muslims. This meant the community could no longer use Islamic symbols. In 1999, Punjab’s assembly renamed Rabwah as Chenab Nagar, reasoning that Rabwah was the appropriation of an Islamic word by non-Muslim Ahmadis.



Read original post here: What’s in a name? In Pakistan, it could be an attempt to deface history | Haroon Khalid


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