PERSECUTION OF AHMADI MUSLIMS IN PAKISTAN

WRITTEN BY ZANAB J.S.

Having been the only state to declare people belonging to the Ahmadiyya faith as non-Muslim,

persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan is an ingrained, far reaching phenomenon.

In 1974 a series of violent campaigns perpetrated by the radical, Deobandi, conservative party known as Majlis-e Ahrar-e Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami was launched against the Ahmadiyya community. The proceedings of these campaigns resulted in scores of Ahmedi deaths, destruction of multiple mosques and the vandalism of multiple Ahmedi cemeteries.

As these campaigns culminated, a series of changes were made to Pakistan’s constitution by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s administration declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslim.

10 years later, Ordinance XX, an anti-Ahmadiyya ordinance, would forbid the Ahmadiyya Muslim community from publicly discussing or advocating for their beliefs. The ordinance demanded that Ahmadis could no longer refer to themselves as “muslims” or apply the term “mosque” to their places of worship. Additionally, Ahmadis were barred from praying in public alongside other Muslims or reciting the adhaan. All publications relating to the Ahmadiyya faith were made illegal.

In 2005, 3 unidentified gunmen entered the city of Mong, 2 of which entered an Ahmadi mosque and shot dead 9 Ahmadi Muslims.

In 2008, on September 7th, Aammir Liaquat Hussein proposed the lynching of Ahmadi Muslims on live TV, broadcast by GEO, a nationwide news network in Pakistan.

One day following the broadcast, Dr. Abdul Mannan Siddiqui, an Ahmadi Muslim physician, was urged as part of a ploy to come tend to a patient in crisis downstairs in the hospital where he worked. He was shot 11 times by 6 perpetrators and died instantly. Though the perpetrators waited inside the hospital until the doctor was declared dead, they were never captured nor named.

Two days following the broadcast, Yousaf Khan, a 75 year old rice trader and local Ahmedi chief, was shot three times on his way to mosque by gunmen on a motorcycle. The gunmen were never caught nor named.

In 2010, in May, two prominent Ahmadiyya mosques were targeted by the Punjabi Taliban. The dual, simultaneous attacks resulted in the death of nearly 90 Ahmadi Muslims and even more non-fatal injured persons. Only 72 hours later gunmen entered and attacked the intensive care unit of the hospital where majority of the victims were transported.

On the same day an Ahmadi teenager was stabbed and killed by an anti-Ahmadi fanatic.

In 2011, countless Ahmadi students and teachers were removed from their positions, expelled, suspended, threatened and/or shunned by education establishments across the country.

In 2012, police officers removed verses from the Quran inscribed on gravestones belonging to Ahmadi Muslims. In the same year 100 graves were desecrated by gunmen in Lahore.

2013, countless Ahmadi muslims have been arrested for distributing books pertaining to their faith, and have been consistently denied bail following detainment.

Instances of mob violence against Ahmadi Muslims has been ignored and sometimes motivated and supported by local police, including an instance where a 70 year old Ahmadi Muslim was tortured and beaten. Another instance occurred when anti-Ahmadi activists accompanied by police publicly beat and detained 5 Ahmadi Muslims.

In 2014 an American doctor, Mehdi Qamar, was shot dead while training local physicians. 3 members of his family were killed in the same year when their house was set on fire by an angry mob. No one was arrested in either case.

Since 2014, hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims have traveled to China to seek refuge from anti-Ahmadi violence perpetrated by fanatics, extremists, locals and the authorities themselves.

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