Home Latest News U.S. Panel Slates Religious Persecution in Pakistan

U.S. Panel Slates Religious Persecution in Pakistan

by AFP
File Photo. Jack Guez—AFP

File Photo. Jack Guez—AFP

CIRF annual report cites suffering of Ahmadi community as basis for recommending sanctions.

An expert panel on Wednesday urged the United States to add Pakistan to a blacklist of violators of religious freedom, saying that the Ahmadi minority suffers “apartheid-like” conditions.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the government on policy but does not take action on its own, urged the State Department to add Pakistan to its list of “countries of particular concern” subject to potential sanctions.

In an annual report, the commission said Pakistan “represents the worst situation in the world for religious freedom” among countries that are not already on the U.S. blacklist and that conditions in the past year “hit an all-time low.”

Robert George, chairman of the commission, voiced alarm over treatment of the Ahmadis, who were declared by Pakistan to be non-Muslims in 1974. “The Ahmadi minority Muslims in Pakistan live under something really resembling an apartheid-like system subject to severe legal restrictions,” said George, comparing the situation to South Africa’s 1948-1994 system of forced racial separation.

“They suffer from officially sanctioned discrimination, not just social or cultural prejudice,” he told reporters. Ahmadis have faced a series of deadly attacks and desecration of their graves in recent years. Many Ahmadis also had to boycott last year’s election because they would have had to identify themselves as non-Muslims.

The report also voiced alarm about Pakistan’s treatment of Hindus, Christians and Shia Muslims. It said Pakistan has sentenced to death or jailed for life 36 people for blasphemy, far more than any other country.

The United States has urged Pakistan to improve its treatment of religious minorities but has stopped short of putting the country—an uneasy ally in the Afghanistan war—on the blacklist.

The United States designates eight nations as countries of particular concern: China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. The commission urged the State Department re-designate all of them.

Besides Pakistan, the commission once again called on the State Department to add to the list Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

And, in an addition from the previous year, the commission called on the State Department to put Syria on the list, saying both President Bashar al-Assad and his largely Sunni rebel opponents are responsible for “egregious” violations.

The United States has imposed export restrictions and other measures against countries of particular concern although successive administrations have waived sanctions against ally Saudi Arabia.

Related Articles


Javaid Bashir May 3, 2014 - 4:02 pm

I think this report is slanted, and engineered under the influence of some Ahmadis living in America, who have been lobbying against Pakistan. Since they have been declared non Muslims. No persecution of these people have taken place. They have all the freedom to exercise and practice their religion according to their faith.

It will be absolutely wrong to include a liberal country like Pakistan in the rogue states.list.

Imran May 3, 2014 - 10:54 pm

Mr. Bashir, are you sure? Then what happened against Shezan? Whats happening against Business Community of Faisalabad? How can you justify the attacks in Lahore? How can you justify the treatment of Mosques and graves having Kalima Tayyaba or some Quranic version on them? Do you think Kalima or Quran is the personal property of Sunni/wahabi Muslims that other cannot read or put on Mosques or graves? If you can justify all that then call yourself liberal. And for your kind information any country belongs to its inhabitants and not some religious sect, and Pakistan also belong to us. Muslims are living in India, if they are persecuted and they voice against it, will you call it propaganda?

Imran May 3, 2014 - 10:57 pm

And sorry to say your own words “engineered under the influence of some Ahmadies living in America and who have been lobbying against Pakistan” depict that how liberal you are.

sarah May 4, 2014 - 8:16 am

The death family and friends, desecrations of our graves is not a hoax. The massacres of people attending juma prayer in Lahore is not sensationalism. It is real and needs to stop. Do not blame Pakistan’s social and economic shortcomings on the victims of its unjust law.

aslam May 28, 2014 - 1:26 pm

mr basheer i think you are blind or fool that you cant see what happing in pakistan .you are such a munafiq like others in pakistan


Leave a Comment