Human Rights Section


The Human Rights Section is working under the auspices of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Foreign Mission Office, (Wakalat Tabshir). The office is responsible to highlight the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in different countries, especially in Pakistan. The news mentioned on the website and in our reports is factually accurate, verified by multiple sources, and is the least sensationalized. The Human Rights section aims to raise awareness and promote the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms for members of the Ahmadi Muslim community, as guaranteed by the constitution and international human rights norms.

The persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan is a clear example of state-sponsored religious discrimination where the state has declared Ahmadis ‘non-Muslim’ against their will and contrary to their core beliefs. This state-sponsored persecution is evident through various laws and regulations that restrict their basic rights. The government has failed to protect Ahmadi Muslims and instead, has created a hostile environment for them through its policies and actions.

Ahmadis truly believe that ‘the love of one’s country is part of faith’ (Saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad pbuh.) Ahmadi Muslims were at the forefront in the creation of Pakistan, they sacrificed for its stability and will continue to work towards making it a great nation. The goal is not to criticize or lobby against any state, but rather to collaborate with relevant authorities and stakeholders in creating a just and inclusive society where every individual can exercise their rights without discrimination.

We ardently desire Pakistan to flourish and emerge from the entanglement of religious intolerance, hatred towards each other, and the culture of declaring each other Kafir. Together, let us work towards breaking the bonds of division and discrimination to make Pakistan a great nation as envisaged by the founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.


The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is established in 214 countries of the world. This community was formed in Qadian, India in 1889 by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who was a great Muslim divine and reformer. The movement he started is an embodiment of the benevolent message of Islam – peace, universal brotherhood, universal justice, and submission to the will of God. It rejects all forms of terrorism and is opposed to the concept of aggressive violence to promote religion i.e. the present-day concept of Jihad. Extremist ulama are vehemently opposed to this peaceful interpretation of Islam. They have used it as an excuse to excommunicate this Jama‘at from the fold of Islam. In Pakistan and some other Muslim countries, mullas, politicians, and generals in power have cooperated with one another to suppress and persecute this reformist community.

In 1974, Mr. Z.A. Bhutto, the prime minister, found it politically advantageous to impose Non-Muslim status on Ahmadis through a constitutional amendment.  In this vile innovation, mullas supported him to the hilt. The change opened the door for the persecution of the community. Since then, the state and the mulla have acted as a team to severely persecute Ahmadis.

In 1984, ten years after the Amendment, dictator-president Zia-ul-Haq promulgated Ordinance XX which adversely affected the everyday life of Ahmadis. This legislation made it a criminal offense punishable by three years imprisonment and an unlimited fine if they practiced, propagated, or even proclaimed their faith in Islam.

Yohanan Friedmann, a research scholar, in his book ‘Prophecy Continuous’ has written: “The Ordinance promulgated by the President on April 26, 1984, goes a long way in accepting the most extreme anti-Ahmadi demands and transforms much of the daily life of the Community into a criminal offense.”(University of California Press, 1989; p 46)

This law breaks the guarantee provided by the Constitution in Article 20 on freedom of religion. It blatantly violates Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, goes against the spirit of the United Nations Charter, and is an obvious outrage against the UN General Assembly’s Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination based on Religion or Belief. The UN Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities expressed its ‘grave concern’ at the promulgation of this Ordinance and requested the UN Commission on Human Rights to call on the Government of Pakistan to repeal it (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/L.42 of 27 August 1985). It is nevertheless relentlessly applied.

As a result, since 1984, hundreds of Ahmadis have been murdered because of their faith, and the authorities have not prosecuted even 5% of the assailants. In 2010, 86 Ahmadi worshipers were slain in two mosques in Lahore in a simultaneous attack. The authorities decided to delay counteraction during the massacre; there is highly reliable evidence that they colluded with the terrorists. PML (N) was in power. In October 2005, eight Ahmadis were killed and 20 wounded when religious zealots sprayed bullets at worshippers in an Ahmadiyya mosque at Mong, District Mandi Bahauddin. Later, the killers were arrested but a trial court let them off. In March 2012, the police tortured to death an Ahmadi president of a local community in Rabwah. In July 2014, an Ahmadi woman and her two granddaughters including a seven-month-old baby died of asphyxiation in an arson attack in a police presence in Gujranwala.

Both the state and the mulla have targeted Ahmadiyya mosques. To date thirty-three mosques have been demolished, 40 sealed by the authorities, 30 set on fire or damaged, and 18 have been forcibly occupied by opponents in Pakistan.

In June of 2008, the authorities in Azad Kashmir blew up an Ahmadiyya mosque that was under construction in District Kotli. On January 14, 2010, the authorities in Punjab handed over an Ahmadiyya mosque in Ahmad Nagar to non-Ahmadis, although it was built by Ahmadis on privately owned land, and was under Ahmadiyya management for twenty years. More recently, a threatening mob attacked the Ahmadiyya mosque in Dulmial on December 12, 2016. After the clash, the authorities locked the only mosque there; this is what the criminal gang demanded. The Ahmadi worshippers have had no place to congregate for worship for the last five years. In May 2018, a mob almost completely destroyed a historic Ahmadiyya mosque in Sialkot, in police presence. Later, the riot leaders thanked the district administration for substantial support.

The anti-Ahmadiyya law has been interpreted and applied maliciously all over Pakistan, often out of all contexts. For instance, grieving the survivors of the deceased further, more than thirty bodies of Ahmadi dead have been disinterred from public graveyards, despite the fact that there is no provision in law for this atrocious act. In the year 2020, at the behest of miscreants, the police and the administration damaged 67 gravestones in District Gujranwala.

Under the rules, Ahmadis cannot vote unless they do so as ‘non-Muslims’. Those who believe in Islam have to sign an affidavit of faith in the ‘end of prophethood’ and deny being an Ahmadi to qualify as a voter. Despite joint electorates, Ahmadis are placed on a separate list of voters, as Non-Muslims. The latest Election Act 2017 was amended to include all the discriminatory and prohibitive provisions to prevent Ahmadi’s voting.

In the town of Rabwah which serves as the center for the community in Pakistan, and where 95% of the residents are Ahmadi, the local councils do not have even a single Ahmadi representative. Practically, Ahmadis have no say in the affairs of the local union councils. Therefore, essential civic services like water, streets, sewage, etc. are in a deplorable state in this town of 60,000 population.

Ahmadis’ right of peaceful religious assembly has been severely curtailed. The annual convention of the community in Rabwah has not been allowed since 1984, while non-Ahmadis, with the help of the government, are able to hold numerous highly slanderous open-air conferences every year in Rabwah causing disquiet and discomfort to its residents and flagrantly injuring their feelings. The government changed the name of Rabwah to Chenab Nagar in 1999 against the wishes of its residents.

In May 2008, Ahmadis planned to celebrate the centenary of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat but the police prohibited them to do that. Some years ago, they booked the entire population of Rabwah. The authorities have prohibited the community’s annual sports, rallies, celebrations, etc.

In the field of education, Ahmadi students encounter unabashed prejudice in public institutions of higher learning and professional education. The events that occurred in the Punjab Medical College Faisalabad during June and July 2008 are public knowledge. The principal rusticated all 23 male and female Ahmadi students. In November 2020, the principal of Naseer Millat School in Syedwala, District Nankana, Punjab told Ahmadi children that they were not welcome in his school, so all nine of them had to migrate elsewhere.

This deplorable anti-Ahmadiyya law (Ordinance XX) continues to be applied extensively and heedlessly. Violations of Ahmadis’ religious freedom are systematic, ongoing, and egregious. To date, criminal cases have been registered against more than three and a half thousand Ahmadis throughout Pakistan under the provisions of the anti-Ahmadiyya and other religious laws like the Blasphemy laws. The entire population of Rabwah has been booked twice in criminal FIRs, and the cases remain open. Since the promulgation of Ordinance XX, hardly a day passed when an Ahmadi was not in prison for an offense or incident rooted in his faith. Last year, 50 Ahmadis were booked by the police in cases based on religion.

For almost five decades now, the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan has experienced prolific and persistent hate propaganda from the vernacular print media. The electronic media has joined this ugly race. News, op-eds, and comments against Ahmadis are often grossly false, provocative, and orchestrated. The law does not allow Ahmadis to explain their position in public (proselytizing!), while the authorities, in the name of freedom of the press and media, do not advise the hate-mongers to stop their hate and rancor. Referring to the Ahmadiyya situation in Pakistan, International Humanist and Ethical Union conveyed to the UNHRC in 2010, “Need we remind the Council and the government of Pakistan that it was government and media support for expressions of hatred that led to the Nazi Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda.”

Regrettably, the judiciary provided little relief to the persecuted community. Lower courts generally, and higher courts often interpret the anti-Ahmadi laws very harshly. Even the Supreme Court has given the senseless inference in 1993 that an Ahmadi who displays any commitment to the Islamic creed commits blasphemy against the Holy Prophet [p.b.u.h.]. With such a loose definition of ‘blasphemy’ and the attitude of the apex court, hundreds of Ahmadis have been exposed to the mischief of the blasphemy law that now prescribes nothing but death for its victims. Over three hundred Ahmadis have faced fabricated charges under the Blasphemy laws to date. In October 2017 three Ahmadis were wrongfully charged under PPC 295-C and sentenced to death. In 2018, Justice Siddiqui of IHC wrote a 172-page judgment against Ahmadis, without giving a minute’s hearing to an Ahmadi. His judgment is worded as if it were written by a mulla. More recently, in May 2021, Justice Farooq Haider of Lahore High Court issued an Order justifying the application of blasphemy laws on Ahmadis who read the Holy Quran or are in possession of a book of their Founder. This has criminalized the entire Ahmadi Community in the country.

Since the death of General Zia in 1988, no government, democratic or military, has provided any relief to Ahmadis. Pakistan adopts a medieval approach in its treatment of Ahmadis. They continue to face severe discrimination and persecution during the present democratic regime as well, in every sphere of personal and public life. The severity of state-supported persecution has forced thousands of Ahmadis to flee the country and seek shelter abroad. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan candidly wrote in its annual report: “Ahmadis faced the worst discrimination and remained effectively disenfranchised. HRCP continued to demand that joint electorate be fully restored.” International human rights organizations like Amnesty International and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom have often reported on the plight of Ahmadis in Pakistan.

‘Blood, Jihad, and Duty to kill’ have been discussed in popular electronic media in the Ahmadiyya context, and target-killings of Ahmadi leaders have taken place. In 2011, mullas declared Ahmadis ‘worthy of death’ and published in leaflets addresses of prominent Ahmadis and their businesses in Sargodha, Faisalabad, and Khushab. The authorities took no action against the instigators.

The provincial government in Punjab has adopted the policy of doing the mulla’s bid. It has banned more than 90 books and publications of the Ahmadiyya community on recommendations of its Ulama Board. It forbade Ahmadis to publish their translations of the Holy Quran. In addition, the only private book depot in Rabwah was raided by authorities; its octogenarian proprietor was arrested and was given 8 years imprisonment after a speedy trial for selling Ahmadiyya publications. On December 5, 2016, the authorities mounted a Counter Terrorism raid on Ahmadiyya central offices. This was like adding insult to injury, in addition to being the first ever such action against Ahmadis. The persecution has worsened with time, most Ahmadis feel. They are at great risk due to the continuous flood of hateful propaganda.

Regrettably, the PTI government has adopted the policy of caring little for the human rights of Ahmadis; in fact, it has become proactive to violate these, presumably in its political interest. The plight of the Ahmadis has worsened progressively during this regime. For example, it has become routine in Punjab to desecrate Ahmadiyya mosques and graves severely—and unbelievably, the police and the administration undertake it. They do that simply for asking, and Tehrik Labbaik is always there to demand that. At the turn of 2020/21, Peshawar became the center of target killings of Ahmadis. It seemed that the killers had planned to clear the provincial capital of its Ahmadi population by making them flee for safety. The PTI leadership made no secret of its hate for Ahmadis. Mr. Azam Sawati, a PTI senior, said in public, “I curse them (Ahmadis) and Imran Khan also curses Qadianiat”. Hafiz Ashrafi, the Chairman of the official Ulama Board in Punjab callously observed, “I am not willing to accept these (Ahmadis) in the country.” A few weeks later, he was elevated to become PM’s Special Representative on Religious Harmony and the Middle East. The toxic political environment attracted a section of the judiciary to join the disgusting hunt; Justice Farooq Haider, an LHC judge issued an Order Sheet whereby Ahmadis reading the Holy Quran or in possession of their Founder’s books could be booked under the Blasphemy laws that prescribe death/life imprisonment. This amounts to providing a key to the religious genocide of this marginalized community.

Ahmadis are denied participation in national elections, through Ahmadi-specific discriminatory laws and rules.

The PTI stalwarts often brush off the accusation of anti-Ahmadi persecution as false reports. Let there be a litmus paper test. No long lists of demands. We propose two very simple ways for the present government to prove their respect for Ahmadis’ freedom of religion and human rights:

  1. Lift the ban on Ahmadi founder’s works and allow publication of their daily paper and monthly periodicals for their children, women, youth, and elders.
  2. Forbid its police and administration the desecration of Ahmadis’ places of worship and graves.

The Riasat-e-Madinah never desecrated others’ places of worship and graves, nor did it put a ban on their scriptures. Even the allegedly “corrupt” PML (N) and PPP regimes provided relief to Ahmadis on these two counts. The PTI regime should see to it that it is not rated third in respect for human rights and freedom of religion. History takes strange turns, and accountability is on the lookout for even the most powerful.

January 1, 2022