Pakistan’s failure to protect Ahmadiyya citizens

Glasgow, Scotland: Global Minorities Alliance has called on Pakistan government to ensure the protection of Ahmadiyya Muslims who are routinely targeted because of their religious beliefs. Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in 1974 after the then government caved in to religious pressure by mainstream Muslims who consider Ahmadis as heretic.

Global Minorities Alliance has called on numerous levels for the protection of the most persecuted minority in Pakistan.

Attacks on the Ahmadis are sadly routine in Pakistan who are chased only because of their religious beliefs said GMA’s Cheif Executive, Mr Manassi Bernard. ‘The government of Pakistan has failed implement National Action Plan (NAP) to curb hate crimes when it comes to Ahmmidyya community who are subject to targeted killing’.

In the most recent killing of Dr Hameed Ahmad, a 63-year old homeopathic practitioner who was killed outside his home in Darul Salam Colony, Attock, by unknown assailants. According to reports, the deceased was returning home from his clinic after the midday prayer. When he arrived at the gate of his house unknown assailants approached him on a motorcycle and opened fire. One of the shots struck him in the head causing him to die on the spot. After the assault the attackers managed to make a swift getaway.

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Dr Hameed Ahmad

Dr Hameed Ahmad had been facing threats and intimidation for some time now on account of being an Ahmadi. Almost a year and half ago his clinic survived an attempted arson attack. Despite all this he remained committed to his work until the very end and was recognized by all who knew him as a decent and upright man. He is survived by two sons and three daughters.

Expressing his grief at this tragic murder, the spokesperson of Jama’at Ahmadiyya, Salim ud Din said:

“I am shocked and saddened at the news of Dr Hameed Ahmad’s murder. This is a pain that Jama’at Ahmadiyya has long had to get used to. Only recently on May 25, another Ahmadi, Mr Daud Ahmad, was killed in a similar targeted attack in Karachi. It is a cause of great concern to us that in the space of ten days, two innocent Ahmadis have been gunned down outside their homes. It seems that members of the community are again in the crosshairs of extremist groups. On the one hand the authorities speak of good governance, and on the other nothing is done to safeguard the rights of Ahmadis in Pakistan. Hate-speech against Ahmadis has become a matter of routine in the country and enables tragic events like this to take place. The National Action Plan (NAP) was meant to crackdown on hate-crimes but it seems that this isn’t the case when it comes to Ahmadis. I call on the authorities to apprehend Dr Hamid Ahmad’s killers  as quickly as possible and send out a clear message that attacks such as this will not be tolerated and dealt with in the harshest terms.

Source: Nazarat Umur Aama, Pakistan 

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Bangladesh under Blasphemy Law: Witnessing Horror in Father’s Dream Land

By: Rumana Hashem

Waking up at four o’ clock in the morning to the horrific news of appalling murders of freethinkers and culture-minded citizens in the hands of fanatics at home is not a new phenomenon for many Diaspora Bangladeshis for the last few years.  The grim events that began in early 2013 turned out to be a systematic terror attack on all secularists in Bangladesh. Regardless of atheist, non-atheist, activist, blogger, academic, devotee, left and liberal writers, students, University teacher, publisher, harmonious LGBT rights activists, of Muslim and Hindu background, every free thinker and believer of secularism has been living under blasphemy and death threats in a so called independent nation-state, namely Bangladesh. The year 2015 was a nightmare while the year 2016 takes us to even more disturbing episodes of double-murders of harmonious rights activists in residence in a supposedly secular state.

On Saturday the 23rd April, my mobile beeped at four a.m. GMT to wake me up with a shocking message that assailants were able to cut the throat of a peace-loving Professor at broad day light in the publicly accessible street in Rajshahi, a town was previously known as relatively secular and progressive, in north Bangladesh.  Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique was killed one day after Friday when a Hindu-devotee was murdered at Tungipara.  Additionally we have heard about three more brutal murders, including the double-murders of two harmonious LGBT rights activists and a retired prison guard who were killed in similar violent fashion by organised fanatics within two days in the capital city. As if this was not enough, a report in the daily Kaler Kontho revealed that there were nearly 1500 murders in the last four months that went uncovered by national and international media.

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GMA calls on UK Government for ‘Group Recognition Status’ for Pakistani Persecuted Christians

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

(Glasgow: UK) A Scotland-based minority rights group is calling for ‘Group Recognition Status’ for Christians fleeing persecution from Pakistan and seeking sanctuary in the United Kingdom will ultimately be at ‘risk of persecution’ if sent back to Pakistan.

The call for ‘Group Recognition Status’ recommendation was made in light of the recent decision in AK and SK (Christians: risk) Pakistan CG [2014] UKUT 569 (IAC) with reference to UNHRC guidelines on international protection Religion-Based Refugee Claims under Article 1A (2) of the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights (ICESCR).

‘It is utterly ridiculous that UK Government believes Christians are not persecuted in Pakistan if Christians are burnt to ashes in the brick kiln, their houses are chemically bombed, they are shot and poisoned in the police custody. What else counts for persecution’ said GMA’s Chairperson Mannassi Bernard.

‘You cannot make a policy out of a single case you need to consider the plight of Christians in Pakistan holistically and case by case on its merit’ stressed Mr Bernard.

Last month GMA was invited to be part of hearing sessions convened by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Religious Freedom and Belief on the 10 and 11 of November, 2015 chaired by Lord David Alton, in the Houses of Parliament attended by some 20 representatives of various organisations working for minority rights across the UK. GMA’s delegates provided the evidence of persecution of all minorities and expressed GMA’s concern for the safety of minorities’ due to the fragile political, economic and judicial infrastructure which is often used to target the vulnerable minorities of Pakistan.

Following the hearing sessions in London, GMA has compiled the recommendations for the UK government to revisit its policy towards persecuted Christians from Pakistan to consider them under ‘Group Recognition Status’ whilst they seek sanctuary in the United Kingdom given the plight of minorities in Pakistan. Our recommendations will be part of the comprehensive report compiled by the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom and Belief (APPG).

Whilst GMA recognises that Pakistan as with all signatories, have a general reservation to interpret the ICESCR Covenant within the framework of their own constitution, (ICESCR Art 2 para.1 of the covenant) (UN.24 of the Reservations- CESCR General comment 3. 1990) GMA believes that any reservation held should not take precedence to the behest of human suffering or human life).

(AK & SK Christians: risk ) 2014  was an appeals case involving the appellants, a brother and sister (both of whom are Christian, and of Pakistani origin) they initially entered the UK on study visas but later applied for asylum on the basis of religious persecution.  The case highlighted the question as to whether or not Pakistani Christians in general were at serious risk of persecution and as such deserved international protection and group status for the purpose of claiming asylum.

The author of GMA’s recommendation report Chelsea Alexander a legal expert maintained:

In light of GMA’s Report in relation to AK & SK Christians at risk and the recent BBC Panorama Documentary on the “The Taliban Hunters” aired 14/12/15. I believe there is not only an urgent need for Governments in relation to their COI guidance to revisit the Pakistan Governments sufficiency of protection and ability to provide it but also to consider whether or not in the circumstances to adopt and incorporate these findings to the existing asylum procedure in favour of group recognition.

Click on the link below to read in full GMA’s recommendations on (AK&SK Christians: risk) 2014

http://www.globalminorities.co.uk/gma-reports/ak-sk-christian-risk-2014

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