Fri, 01 Dec 2023

Rome [Italy], November 23 (ANI): Sara Taseer, the daughter of assassinated Pakistani politician Salman Taseer refused to sign the anti-Ahmadi passport statement.

Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist of religions, writing in Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights said that in Pakistan, Muslims to get a passport should state they are not Ahmadis.

The daughter of the Punjab Governor killed for his support of Asia Bibi did not sign the passport statement. On November 7, 2010, a court in Nankana Sahib, Punjab, Pakistan, sentenced a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, to death on charges of blasphemy that were obviously trumped up.

The Governor of Punjab, a Sunni Muslim called Salman Taseer, visited Bibi in jail and said he would do his best to prevent her unjust execution.

On January 4, 2011, Taseer was assassinated. His assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, executed in 2016, became a hero and a saint to Pakistani Sunni ultra-fundamentalists, said Introvigne.

On November 15, 2022, Sara, who lives mostly in Singapore but is a citizen of Pakistan, tried to renew her Pakistani passport. On passport applications, Pakistani citizens need to indicate their religion, reported Bitter Winter.

If they are Muslims, they should further sign a statement that they have an "absolute and unqualified" belief in the doctrine of the finality of prophethood, i.e., that there can be no prophet after Muhammad.

This doctrine is used in Pakistan to persecute the Ahmadis, who believe that their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who died in 1908, was "both a prophet and a follower of the Holy Prophet [Muhammad]."His followers are divided into two branches, Lahoris and Qadianis, but since both believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet, both are declared heretic and non-Muslim by Pakistanis, said Introvigne.

To get a passport, Pakistani Muslims should sign a statement including the sentence: "I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmed [sic] Qadiani to be an imposter nabi [prophet] and also consider his followers whether belonging to the Lahori or Qadiani [sic] group to be non-Muslims."Honouring the memory of her father, who died for religious liberty, Sara posted her unsigned passport application on Twitter. She stated that she "refused to sign anything against my fellow Pakistanis [part of] Ahmadiyya."She did not get her passport. What she is getting are death threats from Sunni ultra-fundamentalists, who wrote on social media that both she and her father may have been Ahmadis (they aren't), reported Bitter Winter.

With the thirteen anniversary of the assassination of Salman Taseer approaching, his daughter is now also at risk.

Pakistan's minority communities, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Ahmadis, continue to live under clouds of fear and persecution by the majority community, according to Pakistan vernacular media.

Several members of minorities, including a Sri Lankan national, have been killed and attacked in various cities and towns of Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for allegedly committing blasphemy, which in this country is commonly used to settle personal scores relating to business, financial and land issues.

Abduction, forcible conversion to Islam and marriage of Hindu girls, mostly minors to Muslims, continue unabated in various areas of Pakistan, particularly in Sindh without invoking any concern and attention of the administration, human rights organisations, mainstream media and social media platforms in Pakistan.

Amid the persecution of minorities, rights experts have said Pakistan's legal system is in need of urgent reform to protect the safety and dignity of the minorities including the Ahmadi community.

Notably, the Ahmadi community in Pakistan lives as second-class citizens. The anti-Ahmadi Muslim sentiment is powerful in Pakistan. It is amongst one of the most persecuted minority communities in the country.

A member of rights groups expressed alarm and a strong sense of outrage at the continued exodus of religious minority communities in the country and said that the state has consistently failed to allay the concerns of these communities despite repeated reminders by civil society.

They have condemned the persecution of religious minorities in Sindh and Balochistan, saying this is a reflection of the state's failure to save these citizens from violence and discrimination. (ANI)

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