By Sabiha Basit
Recently, four Ahmadi men decided to tear apart some anti-Ahmadi posters and, as a result, were attacked by an outraged mob in Pakistan. People from this supposedly remote village in Pakistan later on filed complaints against the actions of these four men, three of whom were ultimately sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.
Just days after the death sentences of these men, Pakistan obtained a seat in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The event caused joy for many, including the foreign minister of Pakistan, who posted on Twitter that it is a “Great Victory.” But for me and others, the news served as a shock and made me question the validity of how they managed to get a seat. I found it ironic that the claim of Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, that Pakistan has a good record of “promoting and protecting human rights” became the justification behind winning this seat in the UNHRC.
Blasphemy continues to be a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, where punishment for the simplest of charges can invoke heinous mob attacks and gruesome killings. In fact, a report from a US government advisory claims, “Pakistan’s blasphemy laws [are] more [harsh] than any other country’s, listing fourteen people on death row and nineteen others serving life sentences for insulting Islam”. It sickens me how the deaths of Ahmadi Muslims continue to rise, yet no action has been initiated.
It saddens me how our representatives such as Miss Lodhi refuse to bat an eye when it comes to the reality of their country, and refuse to give voice to the thousands of minorities. In reality, Pakistan has enacted the largest religious apartheid of this age, the Ahmadi Apartheid, and continues to deny many of its citizens their basic rights.
Nevertheless, we can only hope their newfound place in the UNHCR will help provide perspective to reinstate change and reanalyze their amendments for not just the betterment of Ahmadi Muslims, but the country itself.