Ahmedis is the community that considers themselves as Muslims but denied that right by the statutes of Pakistan. It was in 1974, the constitution of Pakistan declared them as non-Muslim minority. In 1984, new laws were passed in enacting restriction on their religious freedom. Very recently, three Pakistani Ahmedis have been ordered to be executed by trial court for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammad under the very strict blasphemy laws.
Ahmedi Mosques are attacked repeatedly in Pakistan and even occupied. Their prominent personalities are targeted and their businesses are attacked. Under the blasphemy law, hundreds of Ahmedis are jailed on grounds that they abused Islam in one way or another.
It is argued that to declare any religious community as minority has been outside the ambit of the state. However, it has been the ground on which regular attacks are carried out against the Ahmedis.
“It has reached a stage now that if someone is accused of being an Ahmadi, they are in immediate danger of being attacked or sidelined if they are in government service,” says Zohra Yusuf, director of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
The state, instigated by the religious parties, has introduced law declaring the Ahmadis out of the pale of Islam and prevented them from themselves Muslims. Moreover, they cannot even refer their place of worship as mosques and even recite Quranic verses.
“All these have now become offences,” says Yusuf.