The Vulnerability of the Ahmadi Community in Pakistan

25-07-2014

Pakistan is the home to the largest population of Ahmadi Muslims in the world, yet Ahmadis are a relatively small minority compared to other religious groups. The Ahmadi community faces discriminatory restrictions on their freedom of religion and in attaining the same rights as other communities in Pakistan. In 1974, Pakistan passed a constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadi Muslims to be “non-Muslim”.  In practice it means that Ahmadis cannot call themselves Muslims or "pose as Muslims".  In 1984, Pakistan passed anti-blasphemy and anti-Ahmadi laws criminalizing religious practices of Ahmadi Muslims, which are punishable by fine, imprisonment or capital punishment. 

Ahmadis are subjected to persecution, ill-treatment, discrimination and target killings. On 16th May a member of the Ahmadi community was shot dead in Pakistan. The victim was in jail for blasphemy accusations, since he requested the removal of an anti-Ahmadiyya sticker which displayed derogatory  comments about his faith. While he was in jail, a young man posed as a police officer shot him in his cell.

GHRD is continuing to monitor the human rights violations against Ahmadis in Pakistan by conducting fact finding missions in collaboration with its local partners. On 29th May, GHRD's received a case from its local partners. The case was about a cardiologist Mehdi Ali Qamar, a member of the Ahmadi community, who was on a trip from the United States to Punjab (Pakistan). He lived and worked in United States and he did voluntary medical work for a clinic he founded in Punjab. He was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen on motorbikes in front of his family while visiting a graveyard after attending a prayer. GHRD’s partner is conducting fact finding on the case to support the family and the investigation, in the hope of holding the perpetrators accountable for this atrocious crime.

These violent acts show the vulnerable situation of the Ahmadi community because of their belief. The climate of insecurity continues for Ahmadis due to lack of support from the Pakistani government and prevailing social stigma from other religious groups. GHRD works to promote and protect the rights of all people, and in particular vulnerable minorities. To ensure the safety of the Ahmadi community, GHRD urges the government and other institutions to guarantee and protect to the right to freedom of religion or belief for members of all religious communities in Pakistan.  

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Ahmedi Pakistani community has boycotted elections for 30 years.