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Pakistan ‘grossly’ supports religious persecution: Ahmadiyya report
* Govt making extra effort to exclude Ahmadis from public offices, commerce, says annual report for 2004
LAHORE: According to a report by the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan, 52 Ahmadis faced criminal charges under religious laws, four under blasphemy clauses, 19 under Ahmadi-specific laws, and 27 under other laws in 2004. Their only crime was that they were Ahmadis, claimed the report.
The report claimed that Ahmadis were deprived of their rights to vote and participate in humanitarian activities. It mentioned the difficulties faced by Ahmadis in several parts of the country, including Rabwa.
“2004 was no better than previous years; in the context of persecution of Ahmadis, it was indeed worse. Although, the world has hardened its attitude towards terrorism and religious intolerance, Pakistani authorities shy from challenging extremism and religious fanaticism,” said the report.
“Pakistan committed itself to ‘enlightened moderation’ at the end of 2003, but as early as February 2004 the Government of Pakistan had u-turned on the issue of joint electorates and had told the Election Commission to prepare voter lists based on religion and keep the ‘khatam-e-nabuwat’ declaration in the application form,” it said.
“At the end of 2004, Pakistan sponsored a resolution to promote religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation in the UN General Assembly. Just two weeks before the resolution was passed, a court in Faisalabad sentenced an Ahmadi to life imprisonment on a fabricated blasphemy charge,” said the report.
“The police case at Rabwah gave conclusive evidence of the government’s willingness to violate the fundamental rights of Ahmadis to placate the mullah. Tyranny and persecution continued as before, and 51 Ahmadis were prosecuted under religious laws,” it said.
“Additionally, the incarceration of eight Ahmadis and prosecution of ten from Chak Sikandar, despite lack of evidence, is clear proof of the government’s failure to protect the rights of minorities,” claimed the report.
“The Privatisation Commission forms for the privatisation of national carrier PIA required investors to declare whether they were Muslims or non-Muslims at four different locations. It is instructed to ‘tick one’. An Ahmadi does not call himself non-Muslim, and if he ticks ‘Muslim’ he can be convicted for up to three years,” said the report, questioning, “Is this a deliberate attempt to exclude a minority from commerce?”
Rabwah, the centre of the Ahmadiyya Community, was founded and developed “entirely by community members after the Partition. Its population now reaches 50,000 – 95 percent being Ahmadis,” said the report.
“Ahmadis at Rabwah are denied basic human and civic rights. They are not allowed to hold conferences and meetings there. The government ensures that no Ahmadis are given public offices there. The post office, telephone office, the railway station, police, security, and the magistrate’s office have no Ahmadi employees,” said the report.
“A college and boy’s high school, constructed with Ahmadi money, were taken over by the government, and since the last twenty years, the posts of principal and headmaster have been denied to deserving Ahmadi professors,” alleged the report.