The Politics of Religious Exclusion in Pakistan

The Diplomat: Last week, a court in Pakistan’s Punjab province sentenced to death three men of the persecuted Ahmadi community on charges of violating the country’s blasphemy law. According to a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, “The convicted men were trying to take down a poster, which had anti-Ahmadi slogans and text that urged the community to socially boycott the already persecuted Ahmadi community.”

Pakistan’s 1973 constitution declares Ahmadis to be non-Muslims and any act that promotes their faith is considered blasphemous and punishable by death. Yet it’s tragic that no one in Pakistan is ready to discuss that why Jinnah, the country’s founder, appointed an Ahmadi Muslim as his foreign minister and a Hindu as his law minister if he wanted to create a state that would accept an Islamic faith preached by the majority of the population while rejecting the ones preached and practiced by other minority Islamic groups.

The persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, including minority Muslims, traces back to how the agenda of Pakistan’s movement was formulated and how Pakistan as a country grew after it became an independent state. The question of why Pakistan’s founding fathers needed Islam to build an agenda for an independent state is still hotly debated both inside and outside the country.

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