Ahmadis 'never treated as Muslims': Pak govt tells
Islamabad: Pakistan's ruling PPP has informed Parliament that no government department has the authority to declare the minority Ahmadi sect members as Muslims following a complaint from a lawmaker of a hardline party.
"There has been no change in the government's policy. In the light of the Constitution, the Ahmadis or Qadianis are never treated as Muslims," Defence Minister Naveed Qamar told the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament.
He was responding to a point of order raised by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F leader Maulana Atta-ur-Rehman.
Referring to media reports, Rehman said an event organised by the Pakistan embassy in the US to protest the blasphemous film 'Innocence Of Muslims' had referred to the Ahmadis as Muslims.
Rehman claimed that an email sent out by the embassy to invite several organisations to the event had included a reference to the "Ahmadia Muslim Jamaat."
"Aren't the embassies under the Constitution? Have they been given a free hand to undertake such activities?" he asked.
Rehman warned that if "proper action" was not taken by the government, his party would be forced to raise the issue outside Parliament.
Qamar promised a probe into the matter and said Qadianis and Ahmadis were "never treated as Muslims."
He further said no government functionary could go against the Constitution and there had been no change in the government's policy for Ahmadis.
Pakistan's Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims but were declared non-Muslims through a Constitutional amendment in 1974.
A decade later, they were barred from proselytising or identifying themselves as Muslims.
Some 1.5 million Ahmadis live across the country.
Several Ahmadi cemeteries in Punjab province have been vandalised this year. Members of hardline groups destroyed or removed gravestones with Quranic inscriptions.
Earlier this year, police removed Quranic inscriptions from several Ahmadi mosques and shops run by members of the community after receiving complaints from the public.