PAKISTAN: No legitimacy to be at the UN with Ahmadis disfranchised

The Ahmadis, a sect that believes in Islam and claims to be an ardent follower of it, has been declared as non-Muslim under the Pakistani legislation. Evidently, the Government of Pakistan has not only confiscated their freedom to faith, belief and practice, but also proactively victimises them socially, economically and educationally.

The declaration goes against the very fundamental tenets of democracy which accords all the citizens of the country their fundamental rights and freedom, of which freedom to faith is an integral part. It is to this effect that the United Nations has provided a declaration on human rights and there are international civil rights which provide the basic traits of a Democracy. Pakistan had proclaimed to be a democracy four years ago and it was in this context that everyone hoped that its government will soon fulfill all criteria essential for being recognized as a democratic State.

However, even today, there is a substantive portion of the citizenry of Pakistan who have been deprived of their voting rights and there are many others who can only vote as members of minority groups and use their vote strictly within their own minority.

Ahmadis are one such group which is denied their right to vote; they cannot register as a voter in Pakistan. It is a most shameful and horrifying fact that all Muslims in Pakistan in order to get their I.D cards which are essential for registering as a voter, have to make a mandatory declaration pronouncing the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community as an imposter and a liar. No civil society in the modern times can tolerate such arrogance of a country towards its own nationals.

Pakistan has been a member of the UN Human Rights Council despite the fact that it has totally failed in fulfilling its responsibilities and obligations entrusted to it. It may once again be aspiring to become a member of the Human Rights Council but the world must know that a country which has shown little respect for the Human Rights Charter and which is openly discriminating against, abusing and victimising a peace-loving, law abiding Community should never even be considered for such an honor.

The UN Human Rights Council members during the upcoming UPR must pressurise and question Pakistan on its gross failures as a Democracy and censure Pakistan for the way it is treating and depriving the Ahmadis in every sphere of life. It is only then that Pakistan can face the world and claim itself to be a member of the World Democracies.