In a recent press statement, the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan, through its Press Section, has announced its decision to dissociate from the upcoming General Elections scheduled for 8 February 2024. The move is a response to the discriminatory treatment in the electoral process.
The Ahmadiyya Community, a religious minority in Pakistan, claims that despite the elections being ostensibly held under a joint electorate, a separate voter list has been prepared exclusively for Ahmadi citizens based on their faith. Unlike other religious groups like Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Sikhs, Ahmadis find themselves listed under the title “Qadiani Men/Women”, a distinction that the community deems prejudicial and an attempt to disenfranchise its members.
An attempt to disfranchise Ahmadiyyas
This unique categorization of Ahmadis in a separate voter list is seen as a deliberate effort to marginalize and exclude, the already discriminated community from the political process, denying them the right to vote. The Ahmadiyya Community argues that such treatment contradicts the vision of Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and is a violation of both the Constitution and the principles of the joint electoral system.
Amir Mahmood, the spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Community, expressed the community’s stance in the face of these challenges. Mahmood stated that given the prevailing circumstances, it is not feasible for the Ahmadiyya Community to actively participate in the upcoming General Elections. Consequently, the community has decided to disassociate itself from the electoral process and has distanced itself from any individuals claiming to represent the community in these elections.
This decision underscores the community’s commitment to standing against discrimination and a violation of their fundamental rights. Significantly, the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan received an official classification as non-Muslims through a constitutional decree in 1974. Additionally, in 1984, Pakistan stripped them of the right to self-identify as Muslims.