ISLAMABAD: The UN human rights body has expressed concern over the treatment of Ahmadis in Pakistan and sought a reply from the government by the end of this month to allegations that the community does not enjoy the freedoms and rights granted by international law to all individuals regardless of their religion, caste, creed or colour.

The concern was expressed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) through a letter submitted to Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzer­land.

The Permanent Re­­presentative’s office forwarded the letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week.

The OHCHR wrote the letter after receiving a report prepared by a team of its Special Rapporteurs — Fernand de Varennes, Irene Khan, Margaret Satterth­waite and Nazila Ghanea.

The letter went on to say: “We would like to bring to the attention of your excellency’s government information we have received concerning growing discrimination and rising incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence against the Ahmadi religious minority in Pakistan, including attacks against places of worship and other acts of intimidation.”

The UN agency called upon the government to take measures for putting an end to the alleged violations, ensure that they did not recur and take action against individuals found responsible.

“While awaiting a reply, we urge that all necessary interim measures be taken to halt the alleged violations and prevent their re-occurrence and in the event that the investigations support or suggest the allegations to be correct, to ensure the accountability of any person(s) responsible for the alleged violations.”

The High Commissioner’s office said “religiously motivated instances” of hate speech and “acts of intolerance” against Ahmadis were on the rise in Pakistan.

“We are deeply concerned about violent attacks against the Ahmadi minority, which we have previously addressed in several communications that despite our requests for remedial actions from authorities, the safety of the Ahmadi minority continues to deteriorate.” the OHCHR said.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2023

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