In this book, the author deals with an issue that has lamentably marked humankind's religious history. Relying on a wide range of interviews he conducted throughtout Pakistan, Antonio R. Gualtieri relates the tragic experience of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Their right to define themselves as Muslims has been denied by the Govt. of Pakistan acting in collusion with orthodox Islamic teachers. Ahmadis have been beaten and murdered. They have been jailed, hounded from jobs and schools, their mosques sealed or vandalized, for professing to be Muslims and following Islamic practices. This book records their testimony of Harassment and persecution resulting from their loyalty to their understanding of God and HIS revelation.
2. Summary of Findings
On the basis of the evidence gathered in the course of the visit, the Mission found that
the Constitution and the laws of Pakistan discriminate against religious minorities;
criminal laws meant to protect Islam are being used to persecute and intimidate religious minorities;
the fear of mob violence and of extremist Islamic groups is such that law enforcement agencies, justice institutions and state actors are unwilling to protect the rights of religious minorities;
violence against and persecutions of religious minorities is often treated with impunity; and
the state has not shown any willingness to reform the law in order to better protect the human rights of religious minorities.
In the opinion of the Mission a combination of state failures and blackmail by religious extremists must be regarded as the two principle contributors to the frequent violations of the human rights of religious minorities.
The State of Pakistan is failing at all levels to address the problem of malicious complaints of violations of the blasphemy law being pursued against Ahmadis and Christians, as well as members of other religious communities.
These failures start with the police, who, in many cases, fail to exercise independent judgment in the use of their powers in the following areas:
the decision to accept a First Information Report (the commencement of the legal process in a criminal case).
the decision to arrest the accused.
the decision to keep the accused in custody.
the decision to charge the accused and present him to the court 6
The prosecutors engaged by the Advocate-General Departments of the Provincial Governments in many cases fail to
exercise independent judgment when continuing these cases in the courts.
apply, with an independent mind, a review of the strength of the evidence or of the public interest test in continuing such cases.
The judges in all courts, especially the lower ones, in many cases fail to
deal with these cases expeditiously, resulting in long delays and adjournments
to grant bail in many cases and then only after long delays and appeals to the Higher Courts.
The Government and Parliament are failing to
reform the law by repealing it or at very minimum reducing its discriminatory impact.
As a result, at all levels of the State there is a failure to deter the promotion of religious intolerance, which is visible in that
Incitements made by religious extremists to murder Amhadis and Christians go unchecked and unpunished.
Persons who have made manifestly groundless allegations of violations of the blasphemy law against Ahmadis and others are not prosecuted for their falsehoods.
state actors at all levels frequently appear fearful of the power and influence of Muslim extremists and are being paralysed by a small minority of extremist preachers and their supporters.
The injustices of such police actions are deepened by frequent instances of poor physical treatment of accused persons by police officers.