On 20th November, an Ahmadi Muslim owned factory was torched in Jehlum, Pakistan. The day after, a nearby Ahmadi mosque was also attacked and occupied. Police have confirmed that the mob responsible reacted in response to an unconfirmed blasphemy accusation.
In response, Intergroup co-Chair Dennis de Jong stated:
“Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan face daily harassment, intimidation and persecution on the basis of their religion. Since 1984, more than 250 Ahmadis have been killed. The latest violent attacks show the continued lack of protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms offered by the Pakistani government to the Ahmadis. According to international law, governments have the duty to protect freedom of religion or belief for all, not only by making it possible to manifest one´s religion or belief, but also by actively protecting religious and belief communities against violence and intimidation by others. I call upon the Pakistani government to show its respect for these international obligations by drawing up and implementing an emergency action plan to actively protect the rights of any such communities´.
Intergroup co-Chair, Peter van Dalen MEP, also stated:
“Having visited Pakistan earlier this month – including the family of Asia Bibi – blasphemy laws clearly remain a serious threat for religious minorities. Accusations are often invented arbitrarily to settle personal disputes without due diligence, and mobs often take this law into their own hands. The Intergroup has encouraged the Pakistani government to repeal Articles 295B and 295C of its Penal Code, and recommended a European Commission programme to assist the Pakistani government in training a Special Police Force protecting religious minorities.