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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Ahmadis in Pakistan

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Date(s) Item
Feb 1990 Pakistan has rejected US charges of human rights abuses and restrictions on press freedoms. The Pakistani government contends that the media are completely free and that American claims of religious and job discrimination against Pakistan's small Ahmadi, Hindu and Christian communities are totally wrong (Reuters, 02/25/90).
Nov 1990 Authorities have barred Ahmadis from holding meetings in Rabwah, a town in Punjab that is the headquarters of the Ahmadi sect. Mirza K. Ahmad of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat said the banning order was received shortly before scheduled 3-day meetings. Ahmad stated that the ban was imposed under a law normally used to meet a threat to peace, but that there was no such threat. The government action was reportedly taken due to pressure from anti-Ahmadi Muslim clergymen.
Jul 1991 Hazrat Mirza T. Ahmad, head of the 10 million-strong Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, visited Toronto to attend the 3-day 15th annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Canada. Ahmad was born in India, but migrated to Pakistan in 1947. He was elected Caliph of the Movement for life in 1982 and left Pakistan for England in 1984 because of the anti-Ahmadiyya laws. Ahmad says that there are 72 Islamic sects and blames orthodox Muslim clerics for stirring up anti-Ahmadiyya sentiments (The Toronto Star, 07/06/91).
Oct 1992 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government announced that a column that indicates one's religion will be added to each citizen's identity card. The government reportedly succumbed to pressure from Islamic fundamentalists of the majority Sunni sect who had demanded that Ahmadis should not be identified as Muslims and should be removed from important government jobs. In recent months, Sharif has come under increasing pressure from fundamentalist groups that helped him win the 1990 election. The government says the decision to incorporate the new column had been taken in the light of recommendations from the four provincial governments, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and the official Council of Islamic Ideology (Reuters, 10/13/92). Pakistan's opposition, the People's Democratic Alliance (PDA), led by Benazir Bhutto, attacked the government decision, arguing that it would promote religious discrimination. Bhutto stated that it was contrary to the concept of religious freedom envisioned by Pakistan's founder M.A. Jinnah (Reuters, 10/14/92).
Nov 1992 Minority Christians, protesting the new law that requires one's religion to be listed on national identity cards, attacked the Minister for Minority Affairs Peter J. Sahotra and forced him to literally write out his resignation in front of them. Police escorting the Minister fired gunshots to disperse the crowd. Islamic officials state that the new law is not aimed at Christians, but at Ahmadis as they also have Muslim names (UPI, 11/09/92).
Jan 1993 Ahmadis reviled as heretics by Pakistan's Sunni Muslim majority have won a court battle that guarantees them freedom of expression. The Supreme Court ruled that Ahmadis could use traditional Islamic greetings like "Assalaam-o-alikum" (God be with you) or "Inshallah" (God willing). In 1974 a law declared the Ahmadis "non-Muslims" and made it a crime punishable by death were they to use the Islamic greetings, the traditional call to prayer, or to pray in mosques. Amnesty International reported that several Ahmadis had been jailed merely for using Muslim greetings.
Jul 1993 Pakistan's Supreme Court endorsed a ban, enacted in 1984, on Islamic forms of worship by the Ahmadis.
Aug 1993 The Ahmadi sect says it will boycott the coming October general elections and asked that the non-Muslim parliamentary seats reserved for it not be put up for election. In recent years, the sect has officially dissociated itself from elections. But some candidates, claiming to represent Ahmadis, have run and participated in assemblies after being elected unopposed or winning token contests. The Ahmadis consider it "against their conscience and faith" to use the non-Muslim seats reserved for them in the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies (Reuters, 08/30/93).
Sep 1993 Asia Watch says the drive for the Islamization of Pakistan's laws is undermining freedom of religion and has led to abuses against religious minorities. Asia Watch released a report, "Persecuted Writers and Minorities in Pakistan", which concludes that Pakistan's "blasphemy" laws have been used to bring politically motivated charges of blasphemy and other religious offenses against members of both minorities and some Muslims. More than 100 Ahmadis have been arrested under the blasphemy laws since 1987, according to the report. Asia Watch charges that local officials and police have, in some cases, encouraged acts of violence against religious minorities (IPS, 09/19/93).
Oct 1993 Amnesty International is concerned about reports that members of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan continue to be charged and sentenced to prison terms solely for the peaceful exercise of their religious beliefs. Changes in the Pakistan Penal Code introduced in recent years make it a criminal offense for Ahmadis to profess, practice, or propagate their faith. In the most recent amendment to the Code, the death penalty had become the mandatory punishment for defiling the name of the prophet Mohammed. A reference to the Prophet Mohammed by an Ahmadi is considered by orthodox Muslims as a defiling of his name (FDCH Congressional Testimony, Amnesty International USA, 11/28/93).
Jan 1994 Discriminatory laws and social intolerance continue to hurt religious minorities in Pakistan, the national Human Rights Commission stated in its 1993 annual review. The worst affected were members of the Ahmadi, Christian and Hindu communities (AFP, 01/20/94).
Mar 1994 The State Department has criticized Pakistan and Bangladesh for religious intolerance that has caused fear in the minds of minorities in Pakistan and forced Hindus to leave Bangladesh. In both Bangladesh and Pakistan, significant discrimination is reported against religious minority groups in the areas of employment and education (The Ethnic Newswatch, 03/04/94).
Jun 1994 According to the Human Rights Commission, from 1986 through to July 1993, 121 people were charged under Pakistan's blasphemy laws - 6 Muslims, 8 Christians and 107 members of the Ahmadi sect (The Washington Post, 06/18/94).
Sep 1994 A place of worship of the Ahmadi sect was demolished by local authorities in Rawalpindi, which is near Islamabad. Rawalpindi authorities razed the structures after a civil court rescinded an earlier order that had prevented the demolition. For months, local orthodox mullahs had been campaigning to prevent the Ahmadis from building a prayer complex on the site. The mosque was destroyed despite the fact that the Ahmadis had filed an appeal of the civil court's decision before a higher court. (Reuters, 09/15/94; UPI, 09/16/94).
Oct 1994 Pakistan's Ahmadi community warned Prime Minister Bhutto that she was ignoring Islamic fundamentalists at her country's peril. The comments were in response to Bhutto's silence over the murder of an Islamabad university professor. Professor Nasim Babar was the 64th Ahmadi killed by unknown assailants since 1974. An Ahmadi spokesman stated that the systematic persecution of his community by Islamic fanatics was leading thousands of Ahmadis to emigrate. (Deutsche Press-Agentur, 10/18, 1994).
Jan 1995 Judge Mohammad Iqbal of the District and Sessions Court, Peshawar, sentenced two men to death for ordering a reproduction of an image of the prophet Mohammad from a printing press, a taboo practice in Islamic tradition. Both men were subsequently acquitted by the Peshawar High Court. (FDCH Congressional Testimony 3/6/96)
Mar 1995 The US State Department's Human Rights Report on Pakistan declares that several incidents in 1994 heightened the sense of insecurity and fear among Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, and other religious minorities. The report indicates that in the first 9 months of 1994, 17 cases were filed against Ahmadis under Section 298 (c) while one person was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. This section of the Penal Code prohibits an Ahmadi from calling herself/himself a Muslim and bans Ahmadis from using Islamic terminology. Also, since 1986, over 100 blasphemy cases have been registered against Ahmadis. These cases are registered under Section 295 (c) which calls for the death penalty for blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed. Further, Ahmadis have been prevented from performing the religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia as the Pakistani government classifies Ahmadis as non-Muslims on their passports (03/95). The Independent provides vastly different figures for the number of Ahmadis charged under Section 298 (c). The newspaper indicates that in 1994, 2,432 Ahmadis were charged under this section and of these, six cases were upgraded to blasphemy charges (03/08/95).
Apr 1995 One Ahmadi man was stoned to death and another severely injured by a crowd of Muslims in the Northwest Frontier Province. The incident occurred during a court hearing in Shabqadar in which the two men had been accused of converting another resident, Daulat Khan, to the Ahmadi sect (Reuters, 04/09/95; Deutsche Press-Agentur, 04/10/95).
May 1995 Following a nationwide strike called by Islamic parties, the Pakistani government has backtracked on its proposed changes to the country's blasphemy law. The Interior Minister stated that the mandatory death penalty for blaspheming the Prophet will remain. The government had proposed two amendments to the law: 1) a 10 year jail sentence for making a false blasphemy accusation; and 2) the requirement that a magistrate must rule on whether there is sufficient evidence before a blasphemy case is registered. Pakistan's blasphemy law gained world attention in February after a 14 year-old Christian boy and his uncle were sentenced to death under the law. The sentence was quashed on appeal and the two have reportedly fled the country (Agence France Presse, 05/28/95).
Mar 1996 According to a report by the U.S. Department of State, at least 20 Ahmadis had been charged with blasphemy in 1995, and their cases were all still pending in 1996. In addition, the bodies of fifteen Ahmadis had been exhumed from Muslim graveyards in 1995, because they were not allowed to be buried there. Eleven Ahmadi mosques remained sealed, and four Ahmadi mosques were occupied by other Muslim sects in 1995. (Department of State Dispatch 3/96)
Oct 1996 Pakistani police stopped an Ahmadi sect from holding a religious convention at the home of an Ahmadi in Quetta after fundamentalist Moslems threatened to demonstrate if the meeting proceeded. (Agence France Presse 10/19/96)
Nov 1996 Muslim fundamentalists staged several days of protests after Kanwar Idrees, an Ahmadi, was appointed to a ministerial post in Sindh by a caretaker government. (Agence France Presse 11/30/96)
Mar 1997 According to a report by the non-governmental Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), there were 144 Ahmadis and Christians with cases pending for blasphemy as of this date. (Agence France Presse 3/31/97)
Jun 1997 Lawyers in about a dozen towns in the southern part of Punjab stayed away from work to protest the killing of an Ahmadi advocate who was shot dead for no known reason. (Agence France Presse 6/25/97)
Sep 1998 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a plan to introduce a new constitutional amendment making the Quran and the sunnah (i.e., the Prophet's saying and practices) the supreme law of Pakistan. He told Parliament that the religious freedom of minorities would not be affected by the passage of the amendment. The constitution was changed within a month. (Hindu 9/9/98 and Straights Times 10/13/98)
Oct 1999 The Pakistani Army staged a bloodless coup, removing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and placing Gen. Pervez Musharraf in charge of the country.
Jul 23, 2004 Thousands of Sunni Muslims demonstrated in Chenab Nagar (Rabwah), an Ahmadi dominated city, over the relocation of local police station that contained a mosque. The police station's land had been on loan from the Ahmadi community. (U.S. Department of State. 2/28/2005. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2004: Pakistan." Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.)
Aug 21, 2004 In Sargodah, Barkatullah Mangla, an Ahmadi advocate, was shot and killed by unknown perpetrators. (U.S. Department of State. 2/28/2005. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2004: Pakistan." Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.)
Oct 7, 2005 A gunmen opened fire an Ahmadiyya place of worship, killing eight. (BBC News, 10/7/2005, "Rare attack on Pakistan Ahmadis")
Jun 22, 2006 More than 100 Ahmadis fled their homes after a mob burned down Ahmadi businesses and homes in Jhando Sahi village. Although police were present, no one was arrested. (Human Rights Watch. 5/6/2007. "Pakistan: Pandering to Extremists Fuels Persecution of Ahmadis.")


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Information current as of July 16, 2010