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Persecution Of The Ahmadiyya Community In Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law

C. The Liberalist ParadigmParadigm *82

The liberalist view holds that Pakistan criminalized the activities of Ahmadis to acquiesce to the wishes of its major political parties and interest groups, including the clerics. The majority of Pakistan's people favor the 1974 amendment declaring Ahmadis non-Muslims and subsequent amendments to the Pakistani Penal Code through Ordinance XX and the Criminal Law Act of 1986. Non-Muslim minorities (and Ahmadis) are in fact represented in the parliament through separate electorates. The United States, or any nation, should therefore defer to the organized collective action of a sovereign and democratic nation and the legal procedures it adopts to protect its interest in preserving public order.

Pakistan's commitment to religious freedom for minorities, though certainly an integral part of its founding era, is not entirely representative of its people. As the Shari'a evolved in Pakistan and Islam became the official state religion, domestic support of laws restricting activity that blasphemed Islam and its founder, the Prophet Muhammad, increased. Indeed, although Pakistan endured a number of military coups, its intensity of purpose to treat Ahmadis as non-Muslims remained consistent. To call for the repeal of the anti-blasphemy laws and thus allow the wishes of less than 3% of the nation to prevail would render meaningless the precise interactions between Pakistan's institutions and its citizens. What is required to alleviate the plight of Ahmadis in Pakistan is an overhaul of public opinion towards them; to repeal the anti-blasphemy provisions so as to afford religious freedom to Ahmadis as Muslims would prove ineffective.

Altering individual and group behavior within states requires state deference to international institutions. Though the anti-blasphemy provisions offend notions of freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief in the UDHR and U.N. Declaration of 1981 as well as the legal provisions of the ICCPR--that is to say, though the laws go against international norms--it is not necessarily the case that repealing them will make Pakistan more tolerant of religious minorities. External opinion of Muslim states within the region, and internationally as well, may disfavor the repeal of the anti-blasphemy provisions, which, in turn, may result in the severance of international commitments by Muslim states in the future. If the provisions are retracted, Ahmadis may then have the law on their side, but the rest of Pakistan and the Muslim world against them.

More integral to the advancement of religious minorities in Pakistan is an analysis of Pakistan's current conflict of interests. Pakistan's quest to eradicate violent zealotry within its borders is genuine, though not without its limitations. The world has recently seen French naval engineers and an American journalist terrorized by a militant component of Pakistan. *83 Yet, as President Musharraf clamps down on Pakistan's internal terrorist network, *84 this militant component struggles for legitimacy within Pakistan. Public opinion polarizes as these crucial interests collide, altering the dynamics of represented interests. One emerging interest that the Pakistani government is bound to reflect is that of religious minorities like the Ahmadis, who favor emphatically an assault on Islamists. It follows, therefore, that the international community's methodical appraisal of President Musharraf's regime and its support of Islamists, rather than a slapdash attack on the anti-blasphemy provisions in particular, will likely result in resolving the persecution of Ahmadis.

Questioning the realist and institutionalist view of the state as a unitary actor, the liberalist paradigm gives primacy to the social actors that make up a state. Government interests are but a reflection of the precise interactions between individuals and states. Domestic representation is the decisive link between societal demands and state policy. See id. at 17 - 20.
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On February 21, 2002, authorities confirmed that Pakistani militants kidnapped and murdered Daniel Pearl, an American journalist for the Wall Street Journal. Fallen Journalist: Daniel Pearl is Dead, Abducted in Pakistan and Killed by Captors, WALL ST. J., Feb. 22, 2002, at A1. On July 15, 2002, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Islamic militant, was found guilty of the crime and subsequently sentenced to death. Steve LeVine, Pakistan Convicts Four in Pearl Slaying, WALL ST. J. (Europe Edition), July 16, 2002, at A2. On May 9, 2002, a Pakistani suicide bomber, allegedly with ties to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, killed 11 French naval engineers in a Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. Pakistan Blast Kills 14, Marks Growing Risks for Musharraf, WALL ST. J. (Asia Edition), May 9, 2002, at A1.
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See generally, Raymond Bonner, Pakistan Seethes as Militants Lash Out, N.Y. TIMES, Mar. 17, 2002, at A22.
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