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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Three more Ahmadis murdered in target killings. No arrests have yet been made
Three more Ahmadis, including two brothers, were killed for their religious belief in target killings by unknown persons in Faisalabad city, a province of Punjab. This year so far, five Ahmadis have been killed whereas in the year 2009 eleven Ahmadis were murdered in target killings. Police have yet to investigate the incidents of killings.
Ahmadis have been declared a minority Muslim sect by the Pakistani constitution in 1974. Ever since, they are persecuted by different Muslim sects and Islamic political parties. The Ahmadis are not entitled to minority rights, nor do they have a right to vote in the general elections.
On April 1, at around 10:00 p.m., Sheikh Ashraf Pervaiz and Sheikh Masood Javaid, sons of late Sheikh Bashir Ahmad; and Asif Masood son of Sheikh Masood Javaid closed their businesses -Murad Cloth House and Murad Jewellers situated in Rail Bazaar, Faisalabad. They were on their way home when their car reached Faisal Hospital, Canal Road where there was a white car waiting. Four or five persons jumped out of the white car and started shooting indiscriminately at the businessmen. As a result, all three were seriously injured and died on the way to hospital.
The province of Punjab is on the brink of a one-sided persecution. Ahmadis are being arrested under Blasphemy laws. Conferences are held to incite hatred and instigate the common people of Pakistan to attack Ahmadis. The provincial government has already declared Ahmadis as Wajabi Qatl (liable to be murdered). In the month of February, the Punjab government released notorious murderers belonging to a banned religious group, the Sipahe Shaba Pakistan (SSP). The provincial government used them during the bye elections in two different electoral constituencies. They were the foot soldiers of the provincial law minister.
The government of the Punjab sponsored and held an ‘End of the prophet hood’ conference at the Badshahi Mosque in the provincial capital city of Lahore on April 11, 2009. On this occasion, they also burnt an effigy of the founder of the Ahmadiyya community. Clerics, one after another, unrestrainedly proposed the denial of religious freedom to Ahmadis and indulged in slander and abuse. The conference was paid for with public funds. The federal Minister of Religious Affairs also addressed the conference.
In a recent incident, the sessions court of Mirpukhas district, Sindh province, awarded three years rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs. 50,000 each on three Ahmadis, Mr. Masood Chandio, Mr. Abdul Khaliq and Mr. Abdul Ghani on the basis of a complaint of a fundamental religious group that these persons were impersonating as Muslims and preaching Islam.
The Asian Human Rights Commission is shocked at the killings of persons from religious minority groups, particularly of Ahmadi community. The community has not only stopped all religious activities but also changed the names of their mosqes. Every government, whether it’s military or civilian, in political expediency, were always frightened of the Muslim religious groups that hated religious minority groups.
The attitudes of the courts are not different from the militant Muslim religious groups in dealing with the Ahmadis. It is observed very commonly that courts never allow the Ahmadis to clear their position during the hearings.
The Asian Human Rights Commission urges upon the government to ensure that all the rights of minorities are protected under the international laws including the right to perform their religious duties.
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.