“Stop faith-based killings” in Pakistan - UN Urges
“Stop faith-based killings” – UN rights experts urge Pakistan to protect Ahmadiyya Muslim minorities
GENEVA (2 June 2014) – Three United Nations experts on freedom of religion, minority issues, and summary executions today call on Pakistan to adopt urgent measures to stop faith-based killings and ensure the security of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, whose faith is outlawed in the country.
The human rights experts’ call comes after renewed violent attacks against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan, in which two members of the community have been killed, as well as a number of arrests on blasphemy charges. These attacks are believed to be related to their choice and peaceful practice of religious beliefs.
“I am very concerned by the recent surge of violent attacks against Ahmadiyya Muslims by militant extremists. Such violence is fueled by existing blasphemy legislation in Pakistan particularly targeting minorities,” the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said. “I urge Pakistan to guarantee the right to freedom of religion or belief of members of minority religious communities.”
“Pakistan must urgently put in place protective measures to ensure the personal security of Ahmadiyya Muslims, as well as any other religious minorities living in the country, under threat of hostility and violence by militant extremists,” the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák, stressed. “The full range of rights of religious minorities must be guaranteed in law and in practice.”
“In addition to robust protective measures, the authorities in Pakistan need to undertake urgent and firm steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of those killings,” stressed the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. “Showing determination in ensuring accountability in such cases must be a key element of the Government’s efforts to reduce the attacks and guarantee the safety of not only the Ahmadiyya Muslims, but other vulnerable groups.”
On 13 May 2014, four Ahmadiyya Muslims were arrested by police on blasphemy charges in Sharaqpur, Pakistan. While three were released on bail, Khalil Ahmad was kept in detention, where he was shot dead by a visiting fifteen year-old teenager, who brought a gun, concealed in his lunch box, into the station.
On 26 May 2014, Mehdi Ali Qamar, a US citizen and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a doctor on a humanitarian mission to Pakistan, was murdered in Rabwah, Pakistan. He was killed by two unknown men on motorbikes, while taking an opportunity to visit the graves of his relatives at a local cemetery.
Seven members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community were reportedly killed in 2013.