An expert panel on Wednesday urged the United States to add Pakistan to a blacklist of violators of religious freedom, saying that the Ahmadi minority suffers “apartheid-like” conditions.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the government on policy but does not take action on its own, urged the State Department to add Pakistan to its list of “countries of particular concern” subject to potential sanctions.
In an annual report, the commission said Pakistan “represents the worst situation in the world for religious freedom” among countries that are not already on the US blacklist and that conditions in the past year “hit an all-time low.”
Robert George, chairman of the commission, voiced alarm over treatment of the Ahmadis, who were declared by Pakistan to be non-Muslims in 1974.
“The Ahmadi minority in Pakistan lives under something really resembling an apartheid-like system subject to severe legal restrictions,” said George, comparing the situation to South Africa’s 1948-1994 system of forced racial separation.