Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pakistani Extremists Call For Boycott Of Ahmadi Owned Juice Company

Shezan is a very popular brand in Pakistan.  The company manufactures everything from soft drinks and juice to ketchup, chutneys, pickles, and jams. Unfortunately, the founders are Ahmadiya  Muslims and Ahmadis are not well loved in Pakistan, or in any other Muslim-majority country for that matter.  Even though they are Muslims (or at least consider themselves to be) they are persecuted and marginalized because they are not the right kind of Muslim.  In fact, in several countries (including Pakistan) they are considered non-Muslims, and as a result they're often victims of violence. In June 2010 the Shezan factory in Lahore was bombed, and Ahmadiya mosques have been targets of suicide bombings in the past.  Now, Shezan is being hit by calls for a boycott of their products by two different groups: a student union at the University of Punjab, and the Lahore Bar Association.

Shezan has been around since 1964 and employs over 1,000 people. Ironically, most of the employees are not even Ahmadi, but that hasn't stopped other boycott efforts of both the company and companies that do business with Shezan.

The latest boycott at the university campus is thought to have been instigated by student members of Islami Jamiat Tulba, which is part of the extremist Jamaat-e-Islami organization.

As for those lawyers,

Media outlets in Pakistan cited Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, the president of the LBA that around 100 members had unanimously supported the boycott, to be applied to all canteens and food outlets in the court complexes under the LBA’s jurisdiction. However, Zulfiqar Ali was quoted in other media reports several days later as saying the boycott would not be enacted until a vote was put to all members. He claims the association is made up of various factional movements, one of whom moved for a resolution on the ban in the last meeting. The group behind the motion goes by the name Khatm-i-Nabuwwat Lawyers’ Forum (KNLF).

The legal profession in Pakistan has become deeply politicized in recent years. The Lahore Bar Association in particular has been in the spotlight, as some of its’ member publicly celebrated Mumtaz Qadri, the body guard who assassinated Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in January last year.

The more enlightened Pakistanis, however, have balked at the boycotts and have started their own support Shezan campaigns. They've also been highly critical of the lawyers and their bigotry. 

If these extremists can't even get along with fellow believers in Mohammad, how can they ever be expected to get along with the rest of us.

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