Multan Airport to be name after Pakistan’s only Nobel Laureate Dr. Abdus Salam, or NOT!
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the National Assembly’s special session, on February 11, 2012, announces that Multan Airport is to be renamed as Dr. Abdus Salam Airport to honor the Pakistan’s first and only Nobel Prize winner. He further declared that Dr. Salam’s birthday on January 29th will be a public holiday and a new stamp will be issued to pay tribute to Dr. Salam. During the time when the hatred and intolerance is brewing in Pakistan towards Ahmadis and minorities; such a noble gesture was presumably the long overdue step to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Salam for Pakistan who also happened to be an Ahmadi. Actions like above are supposed to help build the harmony, peace and tolerance in our country that is fast becoming infested with hatred, intolerance, and bigotry.
PM Gilani also mentioned that steps have been taken to preserve the house where Dr. Salam grew up in and the school he had attended. Both of these are situated in Jhang. In addition, he also announces that several scholarship programs will be started in Dr. Salam name to help exceptional students and researchers. He also mentions renaming several institutions to Dr. Salam name which he helped build in Pakistan during 60s and 70s.
But all this promises and declaration didn’t hold up the hatred and intolerance already well spread in Pakistan. Unfortunately this is also well represented in our parliament as well.
The hatred and intolerance against minorities especially Ahmadis have grown exponentially during last several decades. In 2010, attack on two Ahmadi mosque in Lahore killed more than 80 people during Friday prayers. In an environment like this a mere dedication of an airport to a great doctor who happened to be an Ahamadi is not going to solve the real underlying problem. Each successive government has failed to prevent the hatred preached in our mosque by ignorant and uneducated mullas (Islamic religious teacher/leader). These ignorant mullas are product of a feeble and decaying system of Madrasahs (Islamic religious schools) spread across the country. Apart from its various weaknesses, it is one of the main breeding ground of haltered and intolerance in addition to obvious ignorance.
Dr. Abdus Salam is considered one of the greatest minds this country has ever produced. A country that spent billions of rupees on its defense and paltry 2% of its GDP on education, Dr. Salam form Jhang goes into attain such milestones is no doubt commendable. He left Pakistan in protest when Ahmadis (Ahmadiyya community) were declared as non-Muslim in the 1973 Constitution during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) era. Imagine what would have happen if people like Dr. Abdus Salam have not left us and continued working for science and technology projects in Pakistan.
We have yet again disregarded the real hero of this country, and allowed hypocrisy, hatred, ignorance, and intolerance to shower petals on murderers and extremists. It is about time that we as a nation should realize this widening plague of hatred and eradicate it for once and for all.