Ahmadis in Pakistan face persecution, flee to Nepal
Under Pakistani law, Ahmadis are not allowed to call themselves Muslims.
The Ahmadiyya community has accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of stirring religious hatred against them and several have taken refuge in Nepal in recent months, ET has learnt.
Khan, in the lead-up to the July 2018 elections that brought him to power, backed anti-blasphemy laws that included death penalty and a discriminatory oath which specifically targeted the Ahmadi Muslims. Saleem-ud-Din, spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Pakistan, recently said about 400 Ahmadis had been killed since the introduction of the anti-Ahmadiyya laws.
“For many years now, the basic human rights of Ahmadis in Pakistan have been denied and this discrimination continued throughout 2018, indeed by various determining measures -- it was worse than ever before,” Saleem-ud-Din alleged.
In Pakistan, Ahmadis are not allowed to read the Quran, perform namaz or call azaan but in Nepal they can practice religion without any fear, a member of the community told ET on the condition of anonymity.
In India, Ahmadis are Muslims by law. This is supported by a verdict from the Kerala High Court on December 8, 1970, in the case of Shihabuddin Imbichi Koya Thangal vs KP Ahammed Koya, citation AIR 1971 Ker 206.
In this landmark ruling, the court determined that Ahmadis are Muslims and that they cannot be declared apostates by other Muslim sects because they hold true to the two fundamental beliefs of Islam. Pakistan outlawed the sect with a series of constitutional amendments and ordinances passed between 1974 and 1984. Under Pakistani law, Ahmadis are not allowed to call themselves Muslims.
Doing so can land them in jail. Ahmadis also face several barriers in obtaining government identification and travel documents.