Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
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Home U.S. Department of State Annual Report (IRF) 2005: Pakistan
Int’l Religious Freedom Report - 2005: Pakistan

Excerpts from
U.S. Department of State
Pakistan International Religious Freedom Report 2005
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
November 8, 2004

The country is an Islamic republic, and the Constitution requires that laws be consistent with Islam. The Constitution states that “subject to law, public order and morality, every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion;” however, in practice the Government imposes limits on freedom of religion. Islam is the state religion. Freedom of speech is constitutionally “subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam.” The country was created to be a homeland for Muslims, although its founders did not envisage it as an Islamic state. [ Para # 1 ]

The Government took some steps to improve the treatment of religious minorities during the period covered by this report, but serious problems remained. The Government fails to protect the rights of religious minorities. Discriminatory legislation and the Government’s failure to take action against societal forces hostile to those who practice a different faith fostered religious intolerance and acts of violence and intimidation against religious minorities. [ Para # 2 ]

The Ahmadiyya religious minority continued to face legal bars to the practice of its faith. While other minority religious communities generally were able to worship freely, their members often faced governmental discrimination. Members of certain Islamic schools of thought also claimed governmental discrimination. Law enforcement personnel abused religious minorities in custody, leading to deaths in some cases. Security forces and other government agencies did not adequately prevent or address societal abuse against minorities. Specific government policies that discriminate against religious minorities include the use of the “Hudood” Ordinances and the blasphemy laws. … The blasphemy laws provide the death penalty for defiling Islam or its prophets; life imprisonment for defiling, damaging, or desecrating the Qur’an; and 10 years’ imprisonment for insulting the religious feelings of any citizen. Both the Hudood Ordinances and the blasphemy laws have been abused, in that they are often used against persons to settle personal scores. The provincial government in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) continued to pass directives and legislation in accordance with the conservative Islamic vision of its supporters. Despite the Islamic Ideology Council’s rejection of the Hisba bill and the concerns of the federal government, the opposition and human rights groups, the NWFP passed the bill shortly after the end of the reporting period. The law currently is in abeyance, as its constitutionality is under review by the Supreme Court. [Para # 3]

However, during the reporting period, the Government maintained its public calls for religious tolerance, pressured Islamic clergy to issue an injunction on sectarian violence and the killing of non-Muslims, revised implementation of the blasphemy law to curb abuses, maintained its ban on and actively attempted to curb the activities of sectarian and terrorist organizations, and proceeded with reform of the public education curriculum designed to end the teaching of religious intolerance. [Para # 4]

Relations between religious communities were tense. Societal discrimination against religious minorities was widespread and societal violence against such groups occurred. Societal actors, including terrorist and extremist groups and individuals, targeted religious congregations. More than 125 deaths accrued from sectarian violence, including by the terrorist group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, during the period covered by this report. Large numbers of victims came from both Sunni and Shi’a sects. The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), a coalition of Islamist political parties, continued in its political rhetoric to call for the increased Islamization of the government and society. The MMA leads the opposition in the National Assembly, holds a majority in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) Provincial Assembly, and is part of the ruling coalition in Balochistan. [Para # 5]

However, some members of the MMA made efforts to eliminate its rhetoric against Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, and Parsis, and under government pressure, many of its leaders joined various interfaith efforts to promote religious tolerance. Religious leaders, representing the country’s six major Shi’a and Sunni groups, issued a religious injunction in May banning sectarian violence and the killing of non-Muslims. Clergy from all Islamic schools of thought and many minority faith communities joined together in September 2004 to form the World Council on Religions, an interfaith group designed to promote dialogue and tolerance. However, anti-Ahmadi and anti-Semitic rhetoric continued unabated, and a growing movement against Ismaili followers of the Aga Khan emanated from some constituencies in the coalition. Sectarian violence and discrimination continued despite contrary calls from the government, Islamic religious leaders, and some parts of the MMA. [Para # 6]

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 310,527 square miles, and its population is approximately 154 million. Official figures on religious demography-based on the most recent census, taken in 1998-deem approximately 96 percent of the population or 148.8 million people to be Muslim, 2.02 percent or 2.44 million people to be Hindu, 1.69 percent or 2.09 million to be Christian, and 0.35 percent or 539,000 to be “other,” including Ahmadi. [Para # 8]

Several smaller self-described Muslim groups exist, most notably approximately 200,000 Zikris found in Gwadar, Balochistan. Most Sunnis consider Zikris to be non-Muslims due to their unique religious ceremonies, including a separate Hajj held in Turbat, Balochistan. Ahmadis have been officially declared non-Muslim due to an assertion that Muhammed may not be the last prophet.*** Ahmadis have boycotted the census since 1974, rendering official numbers inaccurate. They claim at least 2 million adherents centered on their spiritual town of Chenab Nagar, Punjab (referred to as Rabwah by Ahmadis). In 1998, the Punjab Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to change the name to Chenab Nagar against the wishes of the Ahmadi community. [Para # 10]

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution states that adequate provisions shall be made for minorities to profess and practice their religions freely; however, in practice the Government imposes limits on freedom of religion, particularly on the Ahmadis. Due to Ahmadis’ refusal to accept that Muhammed was the final prophet of Islam, [***] a 1974 Constitutional amendment declares this self-described Islamic community to be non-Muslim. A series of subsequent changes to the Penal Code prevent the Ahmadis from practicing and propagating their faith. The Government has blocked similar movements to restrict both Zikris and Ismaili followers of the Aga Khan. Other religious communities were generally free to observe their religious obligations; however, religious minorities are, in some places, legally restricted from public display of certain religious images and, due to discriminatory legislation, are often afraid to profess their religion freely. [Para # 18]

Freedom of speech is subject to reasonable restrictions in the interests of the “glory of Islam.” Under the country’s “blasphemy laws,” any speech or action that denigrates Islam or its prophets is punishable by death. In addition, any speech or conduct that injures another’s religious feelings is prohibited and punishable by imprisonment. These laws were rarely enforced, and the cases rarely brought to the legal system, when the injury was to a member of a minority religious community. Pressure from societal, religious, or political leaders routinely prevented courts from protecting minority rights. These same pressures forced justices to take strong action against any perceived offense to Sunni Islamic orthodoxy. Discrimination against religious minorities was rarely placed before the judiciary. Courts would be unlikely to act objectively in such cases. Resolving cases is very slow; there is generally a long period between filing the case and the first court appearance. Lower courts are frequently intimidated, delay decisions, and refuse bail for fear of reprisal from extremist elements. Bail in blasphemy cases is almost always denied by original trial courts on the logic that since defendants are facing the death penalty, they are likely to flee. Defendants can appeal the denial of bail (and many do), but bail rarely is granted by the High Court or the Supreme Court in advance of the trial. There were 54 blasphemy cases filed during the reporting period, 11 more than the previous period. According to figures compiled by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, between 1986 and 2004, 634 people were accused of blasphemy: 309 Muslims, 236 Ahmadis, 81 Christians, and 8 Hindus. [Para # 19]

Sunni Muslims appeared to receive favorable consideration in government hiring and advancement. All those wishing to obtain government identification documents as Muslims have to declare an oath on belief in the finality of the Prophethood, a provision designed to discriminate against Ahmadis. Initial voter registration no longer requires such an oath, but the Election Commission claimed that any Muslim registrant, whose religion was challenged by the public, would have to take the oath. As a result, Ahmadis continued to boycott elections. [Para # 22]

The Constitution specifically prohibits discriminatory admission to any governmental educational institution solely on the basis of religion. Government officials state that the only factors affecting admission to governmental educational institutions are students’ grades and home provinces. However, students must declare their religion on application forms. Muslim students must declare in writing that they believe in the unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammed, a measure designed to single out Ahmadis. Non-Muslims must have their religion verified by the head of their local religious community. [Para # 26]

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The Government discourages and severely restricts public practice of the Ahmadiyya faith both by law and in practice. A 1974 constitutional amendment declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims because they do not accept Muhammed as the last prophet of Islam. However, Ahmadis consider themselves to be Muslims and observe Islamic practices. In 1984, the Government added to the Penal Code Section 298(c), commonly referred to as the “anti-Ahmadi law.” Used by the government and anti-Ahmadi religious groups to target and harass Ahmadis, the section prohibits Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims or posing as Muslims, from referring to their faith as Islam, from preaching or propagating their faith, from inviting others to accept the Ahmadi faith; and from insulting the religious feelings of Muslims. The vague wording of the provision that forbids Ahmadis from “directly or indirectly” posing as Muslims has enabled mainstream Muslim religious leaders to bring charges against Ahmadis for using the standard Muslim greeting form and for naming their children Muhammed. The constitutionality of Section 298(c) was upheld in a split-decision Supreme Court case in 1996. The punishment for violation of the section is imprisonment for up to 3 years and a fine. An Ahmadiyya Muslim community report claimed that in 2004, 51 Ahmadis faced criminal charges under religious laws or because of their faith: 4 under the blasphemy laws, 19 under Ahmadi-specific laws, 1 under a religious law, and 27 under other laws but motivated by their Ahmadi faith. [Para # 31]

The Government gave tacit endorsement to Islamic clerics’ campaigns against the perceived dangers of the Ahmadiyya faith by permitting the annual conference on the finality of the prophethood. Ahmadis are prohibited from holding any public conferences or gatherings, and since 1983 they have been denied permission to hold their annual conference. Ahmadis are banned from preaching. The Government prohibits Ahmadi travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj or other religious pilgrimages; since July 2003, anyone wanting to travel on the Hajj must denounce the founder of the Ahmadiyya faith as a “cunning person and an imposter” on a printed oath that is part of the government registration process, thereby effectively preventing Ahmadis from fulfilling this tenant of the Islamic faith. Additionally, Ahmadi publications are banned from public sale; however, Ahmadis publish religious literature in large quantities for a limited circulation. [Para # 32]

The Constitution provides for the “freedom to manage religious institutions.” In principle, the Government does not restrict organized religions from establishing places of worship and training members of the clergy. However, in practice Ahmadis suffer from restrictions on this right. According to press reports, the authorities continued to conduct surveillance on the Ahmadis and their institutions. Several Ahmadi mosques reportedly have been closed; others reportedly have been desecrated or had their construction stopped. For example, in Taltay Aali, Gujranwla District, the local government barred the Ahmadi community from completing construction following Muslim attacks on the site. … [Para # 33]

The Constitution allows reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech for the “glory of Islam.” The Penal Code includes specific provisions that restrict speech and action against other religions. These “blasphemy laws”, as they are collectively known, provide the death penalty for defiling Islam or its prophets; life imprisonment for defiling, damaging, or desecrating the Qur’an; and 10 years’ imprisonment for insulting another’s religious feelings. They were often used to harass and intimidate liberal Muslims, sectarian opponents, and religious minorities. They were also used to settle personal scores and business rivalries. While no accused have been executed under this law, the accused often spend years in prison. Blasphemy suspects were rarely granted bail and were often convicted by trial courts following threats to judges by extremists. Inmates and security forces have killed the accused in custody, and mobs have killed them after acquittal. [Para # 34]

To end the filing of frivolous charges, the Government enacted a law in January 2005 that requires senior police officials to investigate any blasphemy charges before a complaint is filed. Human rights organizations had called for such changes since 2000. Initial indications on the law’s impact were positive. Between January1 and June 30, 2005, 17 blasphemy cases were registered. By contrast, during the last 6 months of 2004, a total of 37 cases were registered-15 against Muslims, 21 against Ahmadis, and 1 against a Christian-and only 9 cases since the revised legislation passed the National Assembly in October 2004. However, there were 54 blasphemy cases filed during the entire reporting period, 11 more than during the previous period. According to figures compiled by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, between 1986 and 2004, 634 people were accused of blasphemy: 309 Muslims, 236 Ahmadis, 81 Christians, and 8 Hindus. [Para # 35]

There is no law against apostasy; however, societal pressure against conversion from Islam was so strong that any conversion almost certainly would take place in secret. [Para # 36]

There are no legal requirements for an individual to practice or affiliate nominally with a religion. The Government does not penalize or legally discriminate against those not affiliated with any religion. In practice, societal pressure is such that very few people would admit to not belonging to a religion. Doing so would likely lead to significant discrimination. Religious belief or specific adherence to a religion was not required for membership in the ruling party or the moderate opposition parties, which did not exclude members of any religion. The MMA had non-Muslim Members of Parliament. However, in practice, each of its constituent parties generally restricted membership to its sectarian adherents. It would be virtually impossible for Ahmadis or Jews to join the MMA or its constituent parties. In practice, neither Ismailis nor Zikris could join the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazlur Rehman, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sami ul-Haq, or JI. Shi’a claimed they were not welcome in JI, although JI leadership denied the assertion. The political arm of the sectarian extremist group Sunni Tehrik accepted only Brailvi members. [Para # 38]

Under the Anti-Terrorist Act, any action, including speech, intended to stir up religious hatred is punishable by up to 7 years of rigorous imprisonment. Under the act, bail is not to be granted if the judge has reasonable grounds to believe that the accused is guilty; however, the law is applied selectively. [Para # 41]

The Government does not restrict religious publishing in general; however, Ahmadi religious literature is banned. Publishing any criticism of Islam or its prophets or insults to another’s religion is prohibited. Insults against minority religions were rarely prosecuted. …… Ahmadis charge that they suffer from restrictions on their press. In July 2003, Tanvir Ahmed Asif and Abdul Qadir were charged with blasphemy, as well as violating the anti-Ahmadi law, for writing a book called “Religious Dalits of Pakistan,” which explained the situation of Ahmadis around the country. [Para # 42]

The Government designates religion on passports and national identity documents. In November 2004, the Government began issuing new machine readable passports without the religion column. A conservative backlash and Islamist party protests led the Government to reverse course and restore the column in March 2005. Those wishing to be listed as a Muslim on such documents had to swear a belief in the finality of the Prophethood and denounce the Ahmadiyya movement’s founder as a false prophet and his followers as non-Muslims. [Para # 46]

Religious minorities, including Shi’a, contended that the Government persistently discriminated against members of their communities in hiring for the civil service and in admissions to government institutions of higher learning. Promotions for all minority groups appeared limited within the civil service. These problems were particularly acute for Ahmadis, who contend that a “glass ceiling” prevents them from being promoted to senior positions and that certain government departments have refused to hire or retain qualified Ahmadis. All those wishing to obtain government identification documents as Muslims have to declare an oath on belief in the finality of the Prophethood, a provision designed to discriminate against Ahmadis. …… [Para # 47]

Ahmadis continued to contend that they were denied voting rights through requirements that they register as non-Muslims. Members of the public can challenge any Muslim on the voter roles to take an oath swearing to the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammed and denouncing the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement. For this reason, Ahmadis have refused to register. There are reserved seats for minority members in both the National and Provincial Assemblies. Such seats are allocated to the political parties on a proportional basis determined by their overall representation in the Assembly. [Para # 48]

Members of minority religions volunteered for military service in small numbers, and there are no official obstacles to their advancement. However, in practice non-Muslims rarely, if ever, rose above the rank of colonel and were not assigned to politically sensitive positions. A chaplaincy corps provided services for Muslim soldiers, but no similar services were available for religious minorities. [Para # 49]

…… Many Ahmadis and Christians reported discrimination in applying to government educational institutions due to their religious affiliation. Christians and Ahmadis reportedly have been denied access to medical schools, and societal discrimination against Ahmadis persists at many universities. [Para # 50]

All religious groups experienced bureaucratic delays and requests for bribes when attempting to build houses of worship or to obtain land. These were similar to what nonreligious groups faced. Ahmadis were prevented from building houses of worship. For example, in Tatlay Aali, Gujranwla District, the Ahmadi community was barred from completing construction, following attacks on the site by local Muslims. Sunni Muslim groups built mosques and shrines without government permission and at times in violation of zoning ordinances. [Para # 53]

Abuses of Religious Freedom

Police torture and mistreatment of those in custody remained a serious and common problem throughout the country and at times resulted in extrajudicial killings. It was usually impossible to ascertain whether religion was a factor in cases in which religious minorities were victims; however, both Christian and Ahmadi communities claimed their members were more likely to be abused. Minority communities charged that police frequently failed to take adequate steps to arrest and prosecute those responsible for crimes against their members. Prison conditions, except those for wealthy or influential prisoners, were extremely poor. Non-Muslim prisoners generally were accorded poorer facilities than Muslim inmates. [Para # 57]

The blasphemy laws were routinely used to harass religious minorities and liberal Muslims and to settle personal scores or business rivalries. Individuals were detained and convicted on spurious charges and often spent years in jail before acquittal, generally at the appellate level. Unlike in previous reporting periods, there were no reports of police or inmates killing those accused of blasphemy in custody; however, mobs occasionally attacked and killed the accused prior to their arrest. Religious extremists continued to threaten to kill all those acquitted of blasphemy charges. High-profile accused often went into hiding or emigrated after acquittal. In January 2005, in an effort to stem abuse, new legislation entered into force requiring senior police officials to investigate all blasphemy accusations prior to the filing of charges. At the end of the reporting period, 22 remained in detention awaiting trial on blasphemy charges, and 9 were in prison following conviction. [Para # 65]

On November 29, 2004, the District Court of Faisalabad convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to life in prison Muhammad Iqbal, an Ahmadi from Chak, Faisalabad District. Iqbal, who converted to the Ahmadiyya community as a young man, had recently returned to his home village. He angered the local Muslim religious leader when he refused to abandon the Ahmadiyya faith on March 23, 2004. The leader claimed that Iqbal, during an argument in the local mosque, referred to Muhammed as a false prophet. Ahmadi leaders called this charge pure fabrication. [Para # 70]

In December 2004, police charged Shahdat Ali, an Ahmadi, with setting fire to the Qur’an in Uncha Mangat, Hafizbad district. The accused was burning trash. Local children caught some burned papers and took them to a local cleric who had a history of preaching against the local Ahmadi community. The cleric alleged that the burned pages were from the Qur’an. Ali claimed they were simply old newspapers. At the cleric’s insistence, police registered a case. Police arrested the accused and two Ahmadi accomplices. [Para # 71]

In addition to experiencing prosecution under the blasphemy laws, Ahmadis were often charged, detained, and convicted under the so-called anti-Ahmadi laws. According to Ahmadi leaders, 39 remained in detention on charges under these sections of the law, while 11 were serving convictions. Ahmadi leaders also claimed that the Government used regular sections of the Penal Code against their members for religious reasons. They claimed nine members were in detention on such charges, but none were serving convictions. [Para # 74]

On July 22, 2004, a Muslim mob attacked an Ahmadi youth Ghulam Ahmad Tahir following an anti-Ahmadi conference. Tahir fled for his own safety. The crowd charged that he threw stones at them, injuring a Muslim, and fired a pistol. Ahmadis disputed this account of events and asked for a medical report. Although one was never produced, police charged Tahir with assault. [Para # 75]

On August 9, 2004, police charged Muhammad Ehsan, an Ahmadi, with trespassing and weapon possession in Chenab Nagar. Ehsan, who suffered from severe mental problems, was accused of climbing the roof of a mosque with a knife and Ahmadiyya literature. Despite evidence of his illness, police arrested Ehsan. Ahmadis denied that he was in possession of literature during the incident and claimed the arrest was simply on religious grounds. [Para # 76]

In November 2004, police charged Zulfiqar Goraya, an Ahmadi, with violating the anti-Ahmadi laws by posing as a Muslim. Goraya had sent wedding cards that used the icon number 786, which stands for a popular Qur’anic verse, and that had the Asslam-o-Alikam (the Islamic greeting) and Inshallah (God willing) printed on them. [Para # 77]

The Government did not abuse converts to minority religions. Converts to the Ahmadiyya community were often accused of blasphemy, violations of the anti-Ahmadi laws, or other crimes. The Government arrested and prosecuted such individuals. Conversion to other minority religions generally took place in secret to avoid a societal backlash. [Para # 78]

Improvements and Positive Developments in Respect for Religious Freedom

In May, 58 religious leaders representing the 6 major Islamic schools of thought in the country issued a joint religious injunction, or fatwa, against sectarian attacks on Muslims and, less directly, the killing of non-Muslims in the country. The Religious Affairs Minister was the driving force behind the fatwa and facilitated its negotiation. [Para # 105]

Section III. Societal Attitudes

Relations between the country’s religious communities remained tense. Violence against religious minorities and between Muslim sects continued. Most believed that a small minority were responsible for attacks; however, discriminatory legislation and the teaching of religious intolerance in public schools created a permissible environment for attacks. Police at times refused to prevent violence and harassment or refused to charge persons who commit such offenses. [Para # 111]

Ahmadi individuals and institutions long have been victims of religious violence, much of which is instigated by organized religious extremists. Ahmadi leaders charge that militant Sunni mullahs and their followers sometimes stage marches through the streets of Rabwah, a predominantly Ahmadi town and spiritual center in central Punjab. Backed by crowds of between 100 and 200 persons, the mullahs reportedly denounce Ahmadis and their founder, a situation that sometimes leads to violence. The Ahmadis claim that police generally are present during these marches but does not intervene to prevent violence. [Para # 112]

On July 23, 2004, several thousand Sunni Muslims demonstrated in the Ahmadi-majority city of Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) over a decision to relocate the local police station. The station, which had included a small makeshift mosque, had been constructed on land loaned by the Ahmadiyya community. The local Islamic leadership objected to the return of the mosque site to the Ahmadi owners. On September 6, the provincial government, bowing to public pressure, ordered the site returned to police. [Para # 113]

On July 30, 2004, unknown assailants shot at Shahid Ahmad Dar, an Ahmadi, in Lahore. The assailants fired after yelling religious insults at Dar while he was returning home from shopping. He was not injured. [Para # 114]

On August 11, 2004, a mob led by local Muslim religious leaders attacked a construction site in Tatlay Aali, Gujranwala district, where Ahmadis were building a new house of worship. Police ordered the Ahmadis to cease construction. The Ahmadiyya community obtained permission from local authorities to proceed, but the mob again attacked the sight, and police barred construction from continuing indefinitely. [Para # 115]

On August 21, unknown assailants shot and killed Barkatullah Mangla, an Ahmadi lawyer and president of the local Ahmadiyya community in Sargodha. The murder took place shortly after Mangla returned home from offering his nightly prayers. Assailants called at his home, asked to see him, and then shot him in his garden. No one had been arrested by the end of the reporting period. [Para # 116]

In November 2004, Muhammad Ishaq Danish converted to the Ahmadiyya community. Upon learning of his conversion, his brother beat him with a hockey stick until he lost consciousness and then expelled him from the family home. [Para # 117]

On December 20, 2004, Ahmadis were replacing the roof on a house in Sahiwal, Sarghoda district, which was used as a place of worship. At the instigation of local Muslim religious leaders, a mob of 30 attacked the construction site and burned both the new roof and items in the worship room. Police took no action against those responsible. [Para # 118]

Ahmadis suffered from societal harassment and discrimination. Even the rumor that someone might be an Ahmadi or had Ahmadi relatives could stifle opportunities for employment or promotion. Most Ahmadis were home-schooled or went to private, Ahmadi-run schools. Ahmadi students in public schools often were subject to abuse by their non-Ahmadi classmates. The quality of teachers assigned to predominately Ahmadi schools by the Government reportedly was poor. In 2002, in response to a question from Islamic clerics, President Pervez Musharraf, who had been accused of favoring Ahmadis, declared that he believed Ahmadis to be “non-Muslims.” [Para # 128]

Some Sunni Muslim groups published literature calling for violence against Ahmadis, Shi’a Muslims, other Sunni sects, Ismaili followers of the Aga Khan, and Hindus. Some newspapers frequently published articles that contained derogatory references to religious minorities, especially Ahmadis, Hindus, and Jews. Sermons at mosques frequently railed against Ahmadis, other Muslim groups, Hindus, and increasingly Ismaili followers of the Aga Khan. [Para # 133]

When blasphemy and other religious cases are brought to court, extremists often pack the courtroom and make public threats against an acquittal. Judges and magistrates, seeking to avoid a confrontation with or violence from extremists, often continue trials indefinitely. As a result, those accused of blasphemy often face lengthy periods in jail and are burdened with increased legal costs and repeated court appearances. [Para # 138]

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The Embassy carefully monitored treatment of the Ahmadiyya community. During discussions with Islamic religious leaders, Embassy officials urged reconciliation with the Ahmadiyya community and an end to persecution of this minority. Embassy officials also raised and discussed treatment of the Ahmadis with parliamentarians, encouraging an eventual repeal of anti-Ahmadi laws and a less severe application in the interim. [Para # 143]

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