Amnesty calls for probe into Pakistan Ahmadi attack

Woman and two children killed over 'blasphemous' Facebook post
ucanews.com reporter, Karachi
Pakistan
July 31, 2014
Pakistan's government must investigate the deadly attack on the minority Ahmadi community in Punjab province, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

Amnesty called on citizens to write Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, "urging them to investigate the mob violence."

The violent attack occurred on July 27 after an Ahmadi youth posted a picture  on the social networking site Facebook that was deemed blasphemous.

A 55-year-old woman and two young children were killed in the attack. One of the injured, a pregnant woman, later miscarried in the hospital.

Amnesty also urged people to call on authorities to ensure no charges of blasphemy are brought against members of the Ahmadi community.

Saleem ud Din, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community, said state authorities are not investigating the case, even though the community has identified numerous suspects.

"Those involved in the brutal attack are roaming free in the city while the Ahmadi people are still in hiding due to fear and the tense situation," he said.

The Ahmadi community are a religious minority that consider themselves Muslim but are regarded as heretics by most Muslims in Pakistan. They were declared non-Muslims by a constitutional amendment in 1974.

In the 1980s, Pakistan's government made it a crime for the Ahmadis to publicly preach or claim they are Muslim, an offense carrying a maximum penalty of life imprisonment or death under blasphemy laws.

Pakistan's independent Human Rights Commission said the attack on the Ahmadi community  "represents brutalization and barbarism stooping to new lows".

"The people who were killed were not even indirectly accused of the blasphemy charge. Their only fault was that they were Ahmadi. Torching women and children in their house simply because of their faith represents brutalization and barbarism stooping to new lows."

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