Thu, 02 Dec 2021

Geneva [Switzerland], November 17 (ANI): Highlighting the state-sponsored persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat wrote to the President of the UN Human Rights Council, informing that Imran Khan-led government have banned over 20 websites affiliated with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community without any explanation.

In a letter to President of the UN Human Rights Council Nazhat Shameen, Awais Tahir, Department of External Affairs of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat pointed out that the state-sponsored persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan has been intensifying since the PTI-led Imran Khan government came into power in 2019.

He notified that Pakistan has been targeting websites affiliated with Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that are hosted outside Pakistan and operated by foreign nationals.

Tahir said that now the Pakistan government is threatening to ban two more websites with Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, saying these websites violate Pakistan's blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws"Pakistan authorities have already banned more than 20 Ahmadi websites from 5 countries in Pakistan and mom notices are being served across the globe. This has severe consequences for religious minorities in Pakistan in general and Ahmadi Muslims in particular," the letter read.

"We are reaching out to civil society, human rights activists, academia, government officials, and members of parliaments in various countries and requesting them to join these virtual hearings as monitors. This is a unique opportunity to potentially address the Pakistani government on matters of religious freedom," it added.

Successive Pakistani governments have failed to protect the human rights and security of the Ahmadiyya community.

The penal code explicitly discriminates against religious minorities and targets Ahmadis by prohibiting them from "indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim."Ahmadis are banned from declaring or propagating their faith publicly, building mosques, or making the Muslim call for prayer.

The authorities arbitrarily arrest, detain, and charge Ahmadis for blasphemy and other offences because of their religious beliefs.

The police have often been complicit in harassment and bringing fabricated charges against Ahmadis or have not intervened to stop anti-Ahmadi violence.

The government's failure to address the religious persecution of Ahmadis has facilitated violence against them in the name of religion.

State-sponsored persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan has been intensifying since the PTI led Imran Khan government came into power in 2019, noted Awais Tahir.

"Scores of Ahmadis have been killed during this time. Others have been arrested for violating Pakistan's blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws. 11 Ahmadis, including missionaries and officials, are imprisoned in various Pakistani jails. One Ahmadi has died in jail while awaiting trial," he said. (ANI)

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