No freedom to be a Muslim in Pakistan

Mohammad Khan Sherani, second left, allegedly lunged at Tahir Ashrafi, ripping his shirt

A very basic human right is enshrined within the UN’s declaration of Human rights, Article 18 reads …

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

… and almost every nation state on the planet has signed the legally binding International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It should perhaps be no surprise to learn that Saudi Arabia is one of the few nations that have not signed, but others such as Pakistan have, they signed in 2008 and that came into force in 2010.

In Pakistan it is against the law for some to be a Muslim

It may come as a surprise to learn that despite all this Pakistan has laws that prevent some from being Muslim.

In 1974 the second amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan declared that Ahmadis were not Muslims.

In 1984 Ordinance XX was passed, it …

debars Ahmadis from the use of any honorific titles and modes of address specific to the Prophetic community such as the greeting “As-salamu alaykum” (peace be upon you), reciting the Six Kalimas or the shahada (declaring belief in the oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad) etc., from building mosques and calling the Adhan (call to prayer), from undertaking Muslim modes of worship, from worshipping in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms, and from making any citations from the Quran and Muhammad’s hadith. Punishment for anyone convicted of doing any of the above is two years imprisonment. Ahmadis, who self-identify as Muslims and practice Islam, claim that the ordinance criminalises their everyday life

In effect, today Pakistan is in breach of the legally binding covenant that they signed in 2008.

Latest News – A Clerical fight

The Guardian reports on the fight that broke out at the at a gathering of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). They describe it as follows …

Two Pakistani clerics have come to blows at a meeting of the religious establishment over the fraught issue of the status of Ahmadis, a Muslim sect that hardliners want declared apostates.

A scuffle broke out on Tuesday between the two at a gathering of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) when the chairman, Mohammad Khan Sherani, called on the group to consider whether Ahmadis, who are declared non-Muslims by the constitution, should be considered murtads that have rejected Islam.

…Tahir Ashrafi, a liberal-minded voice on the CII, strongly opposed any discussion of the incendiary issue, prompting a furious confrontation with Sherani, who is also an elected member of parliament.

Ashrafi, who is obese and has limited mobility, said he was unable to move from his chair when Sherani lunged at his throat, ripping his shirt and scratching his neck. One of Sherani’s assistants attempted to punch Ashrafi, but was restrained by others at the meeting in the CII headquarters in Islamabad’s government district. The meeting swiftly broke up.


The moment one specific religious belief gains power is the moment that all other variations of belief are in extreme danger. Human history has demonstrated this over and over again, and yet Pakistan appears to be quite determined to repeat this. Pakistan was initially designed to not discriminate against anybody, and yet over time various amendments have changed that position.

Why is it like this?

Basically because from the viewpoint of every single belief, every other variation of belief is Blasphemy, and so when a specific belief, and that applies to almost any belief, gains political power, then it will proceed to discriminate against those that they consider to be blasphemers.

Powder keg

Shoran, who leads the CII, is a religious fanatic who wants to push things even further, but others on the council recognise that in reality it would push Pakistan towards even more violence. To be quite frank, the CII are not in any way solving any problems, because the principle problem here is them and their specific intolerant variation of Islamic belief, and until Pakistan addresses that, there will be no resolution to any of this.

Meanwhile 5 million citizens of Pakistan are not only denied their basic human rights by law, but also face not just discrimination, but intolerance, violence and death at the hands of violent intolerant thugs.

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