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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Report on the Situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan
Report on the Situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan

GOVERNMENT DECEPTION
“There exists no plan, no campaign, official or otherwise, to persecute the Ahmadiyya Community.”
Observer for Pakistan

While government officials of successive administrations have often assured the fundamentalists that persecution of Ahmadi Muslims would continue the government often seeks to give the impression that Ahmadi Muslims enjoy all basic human rights to international audiences.

A typical example are the comments made by the Observer for Pakistan before the UN Human Rights Commission on 25 February 1986:

The government has no hostility towards the Ahmadis, nor are they persecuted or harassed in any way … In substance, the Ahmadis enjoy all the normal rights. They hold prayer congregations, in fact these are protected by the State … They have the right of association and hold annual meetings in their Centre, the city of Rabwah. They have the freedom of expression, they issue 13 publications …

There exists no plan, no campaign, official or otherwise, to persecute the Ahmadiyya Community.

"The government has no hostility towards the Ahmadis,…"

This remarkable assertion is belied by the government's own statements. For example, the head of state had already asserted that the government of Pakistan was doing its utmost to exterminate the "cancer" of the Ahmadi faith.

"They hold prayer congregations, in fact these are protected by the State…"

Before and after the Observer's comments prayer congregations have been attacked and people have been imprisoned for peaceful exercise of their freedom of worship. For example, in August 1986 the Ahmadi Muslim Mosque in Mardan was attacked by a mob which included the Assistant Commissioner and police. This occurred during the time that Ahmadi Muslims were gathered for the special services normally offered during Eid. 90 Ahmadi Muslims were arrested. The mosque was destroyed and the books were burnt.

A leader of the mob, Maulana Azizur Rahman, International Spokesman for Majlis Tahaffuzz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, announced that according to an agreement reached with the government:

  1. permission to rebuild the mosque would not be given;
  2. no action would be taken against anyone involved in the attack

(See for instance Human Rights in Pakistan, Dr. Karen Parker, January 1987)

Rather than protecting the congregation the state attacked it.

"They have the right of association and hold annual meetings in their Centre,…"

Ahmadis used to hold annual meetings. The annual convention, jalsa, that used to be held in Rabwah, was not allowed in 1984 and has not been held in Pakistan since then. Every government has refused permission since Martial Law Ordinance XX went into effect.

"They have the freedom of expression, …"

Ahmadi Muslims have freedom of expression provided that they do not say a number of things that they believe. For instance, if an Ahmadi says "I am a Muslim" he can be imprisoned for three years.

"they issue 13 publications …"

Any publication of Ahmadi Muslims is subject to those laws already mentioned in this report. Many such publications have been banned at one time or another. The censorship of the Ahmadi Muslim press is covered in another section of this report.

For the moment let it suffice to say that at the time of the Observer's comments the press of the Daily Al-Fazl had been shut down since 1984 and that at the time of writing five Ahmadi Muslim journalists face the death penalty under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

"There exists no plan, no campaign, official or otherwise, to persecute the Ahmadiyya Community."

It is surprising then that the government of Pakistan often assures the fundamentalists that there is an official plan to eliminate Ahmadi Muslims from Pakistan. For instance, three days after the Observer's comments Mr. Malik Khuda Bukksh Tiwana, provincial Minister for Auqaaf, was reported as saying that

"life for Qadianis in Pakistan would be made impossible"

and the Ulema were urged

"to guide the Government for the eradication of this issue"

(Mashraq, February 28, 1986)

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Last modified: 2 Janaury 1996
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