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Pak fundamentalists ask people to boycott "outlawed" Muslim sect owned Shezan soft drinks

Islamabad, Wed, 22 Feb 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Feb 22 (ANI): Religious conservatives in Pakistan have called on people to boycott Shezan soft drinks, as its owners belong to an "outlawed" Muslim sect.


In recent weeks, this campaign has taken a depressing new twist, with both lawyers and university students voting to boycott Shezan's products simply because the company was founded by Ahmedi Muslims.


Waseem Mahmood, the company's marketing director, however said that thee kind of incidents are not new to them. This is not new. We been facing this problem for many years. Whenever there is a campaign against the Ahmedi community, the Shezan company is the first victim," The Independent quoted Mahmood, as saying.


The company was founded in 1964 and since grown to be an industry leader in producing everything from juices and soft drinks to jams and ketchups.


Mahmood said the company had claimed several achievements, including being the first producer of a vibrantly-coloured mango drink - still a favourite with Pakistani children - and becoming the largest grower of mangoes in Pakistan. Today, it has over 1,000 employees, where around 25 percent are Ahmedis.


The campaign against Shezan has existed for several years, with activists distributing leaflets and stickers urging people not to buy the products.


Recently, alongside demonstrations against the Amhedis that included a protest last month outside a mosque in Rawalpindi, the campaign has taken a more sinister turn.


"In Peshawar, three or four months back, six shops were destroyed. They hit the salesmen traveling in the [company] van," Mahmood added. (ANI)


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