ISLAMABAD: Three int­er­national human rights gro­ups on Thursday denounced recent attacks on members of the minority Ahmadi community and asked Islamabad to urgently and impartially investigate a surge in violence against them.

The joint appeal from the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and International Commission of Jurists came days after a 16-year-old youth opened fire on a group of Ahmadis gathering for worship at a home.

The attack killed a doctor, Tahir Mehmood, and wounded three other Ahmadi men, including the doctor’s father.

The family have since gone into hiding for security reasons. The suspected attacker was taken into police custody.

In a statement, the three rights groups called on Pakistan to take legal action against those responsible for threats and violence against Ahmadis.

Since July, five members of the Ahmadi community have been killed in separate attacks.

There are few communities in Pakistan that have suffered as much as the Ahm­adis, said Omar Wara­ich, the South Asia head at Amnesty International. “The recent wave of killings tragically underscores not just the seriousness of the threats they face, but also the callous indifference of the authorities, who have failed to protect the community or punish the perpetrators,” he added.

Ian Seiderman, legal and policy director at the Inte­r­national Commission of Juri­sts, reminded Prime Minis­ter Imran Khan’s government of commitments made in the United Nations Gene­ral Assembly to protect minorities’ human rights.

Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at the Human Rights Watch, also called on Islamabad to take immediate legal and policy measures to eliminate “widespread and rampant discrimination and social exclusion” of Ahmadis.

Earlier this month, gunmen shot and killed an 82-year-old Ahmadi man. In October, a Muslim professor shot and killed an Ahmadi professor a day after the two allegedly had a heated discussion over a religious matter.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2020

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