BRUSSELS -- Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from various countries have decided to approach the Government of Pakistan on the issue of alleged violation of human rights of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
According to informed sources and reports, the MEPs have been in regular touch with Ahmadiyya Muslims residing in Europe and have been made aware of the abuses being committed against members of this community in Pakistan. They have therefore decided to flag this issue at the next session of the European Parliament.
Many MEPs are of the view that the European Union should insist on strictly linking assistance to Pakistan with the country's human rights record.
It goes without saying that Islamabad will only be forced to act to arrest the country's deplorable human rights situation and the abuse faced by minority groups, whether Christians, Shias, Ahmadiyyas or Hindus, provided countries like the US and EU members link active diplomatic engagement to human rights.
The Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan has for decades struggled for their basic rights in Pakistan. As per data released by the International Human Rights Committee, since 1984 more than 83 Ahmadi mosques have been demolished more than 250 Ahmadis killed. Despite continued international outcry whenever there has been a major incident of violence against the community, successive Pakistani governments have made no effort to improve the situation.
Lately, incidents of harassment and violence against this minority Muslim community of Pakistan have visibly increased. The community was still recovering from a raid and forceful closure on December 5, 2016 by the local armed police on the Central office of a Ahmadiyya publication in the town Rabwah in Pakistan, when on December 12, 2016 a thousand-strong mob of the majority Sunni Muslims attacked a Ahmadiyya mosque in Chakwal, resulting in the death of two and injuring scores of Ahmadiyya worshippers who were at the mosque at the time of attack. Following the attack, almost all the 70-80 Ahmadiyya families living in Chakwal fled the village during the night of December 12 and 13.
In Pakistan, Ahmadis are declared non-Muslims by law and as per a 1984 legislation it is a criminal offence for a Ahmadi to 'pose' as a Muslim or to refer to their religious gathering sites as mosques. Hence under the law, the Ahmadis who were worshipping in their mosque on December 12 were committing a criminal act. Such legislations coupled with the Blasphemy Law in Pakistan, have given religious fundamentalist elements the lever to promote their radical ideology against Ahmadiyyas and other ethnic minority groups.
With the European Union having experienced in 2016 one of its worst years with regard to incidents of terrorism, there is a growing understanding among the decision-makers in various European capitals that many of these incidents have roots in the increasing radicalisation of society in Pakistan and the rising influence of Islamic fundamentalist there. There are also growing concerns with regard to the complete lack of intent on the part of the Pakistani government to take serious measures on improving the human rights situation in the country.
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