Nida Mehboob: Shadow Lives
Pakistan is not good to those of its citizens who do not practice the mainstream Sunni faith. A glaring example is the Ahmadi minority who live under a system of apartheid: the Ahmadi Muslim community has been persecuted since the country’s formation. This was institutionalised with the help of constitutional changes made under Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s regime, when Ahmadis were officially declared Non-Muslims; Pakistan is the only country to have enacted this. Ordinance XX established in 1984 criminalised the religious practices of Ahmadis. In 2010, a violent attack on two Ahmadi mosques killed 99 people. Ahmadis in Pakistan are forced to hide their religious identity at social gatherings and public offices, for fear of social bigotry, or worse.
Ordinance XX, 1984
298-C. [Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who directly or indirectly, poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.]