Ahmadis still out of electoral process

Published: April 22, 2013
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The election commission used the NADRA data to register Ahmadis in a separate roll. DESIGN: EMA ANIS

The election commission used the NADRA data to register Ahmadis in a separate roll. DESIGN: EMA ANIS

LAHORE: The Ahmadiya community will not cast votes in the May 11 elections because of the “attitude of the State”, Jamaat-i-Ahmadiya Pakistan Spokesperson Saleemudin told The Express Tribune on Sunday.

Ahmadis are unable to register as Muslim voters. The election commission used the NADRA data to register Ahmadis in a separate roll. However Ahmadis say they will not avail their right to vote.

Saleemudin said there were up to 200,000 members of the community in the country. Every government, he said, has pandered to anti-Ahmadiya elements which was why Ahmadis had been unable to cast their votes.

“The separate voter list for Ahmadis published by the election commission contains our latest addresses…this exposes us to great risk,” Saleemudin said. Anyone can obtain these rolls, he said.

Ahmadis have dissociated themselves from elections for nearly four decades. “We do not have voting rights to any assembly or district. We don’t even have representation in the town council of Chenab Nagar where 95 per cent of the population is Ahmadi,” Saleemudin said.

Ahmadis had participated in elections from 1947 to 1977 when there was a single electorate.

Separate electorates were introduced in 1985 through the eighth amendment. Those who claimed to be Muslim now had to sign a ‘certificate of faith’ denouncing the Ahmadi faith. “Because the form compelled us to call ourselves non-Muslims we were effectively excluded from the voting process,” said Saleemudin.

Hope was raised during former president Pervaiz Musharaf’s regime after he announced a return to the joint electorate, he said. However, anti-Ahmadi elements protested against that in May 2002, forcing Musharaf to rescind his decision. On June 17, 2002, the government issued a separate list of voters in which Ahmadis were listed as non-Muslims. “That order…remains in force,” he said.

Saleemudin said many people had asked him why Ahmadis did not simply fill out the form and get themselves registered. “I tell them we would never disassociate ourselves from the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to get registered as voters,” he said.

In December 2007, several members of the Ahmadiya community wrote letters to the acting prime minister, the chief election commissioner and the president protesting the laws discriminating against their community. Saleemudin said no one had responded except the election commissioner’s office which said he was busy.

Saleemudin said a delegation of Ahmadis had met with Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim to convey their grievance, but the election would still be held under the same rules.

Saleemudin said the government should revise the rules and facilitate their participation through joint electorate that should bear no reference to religion. “We will continue boycotting the elections till our demand is met,” he said.

Touch stone

Form A for voter’s registration states that if a voter claims to be a Muslim, he or she must not be  associated with the Qadiani or Lahori Group nor call him or herself an Ahmadi

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Cheema
    Apr 22, 2013 - 3:14AM

    Do you still consider yourself a Proud Pakistani? And a proud PPP PMLN PMLQ PTI MQM ANP member? What a shame. I’m sorry dear Ahmadi brothers for our national bigotry.

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  • Uzzi
    Apr 22, 2013 - 10:48AM

    That’s not only it for us Cheema sb! I wish others could have considered us as brothers too – probably this world could have been a much happier place for all of us :)

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  • ali
    Apr 22, 2013 - 11:11AM

    some pakistanis will be surprised to know that ahmadis were an integral part of pakistan 60 years ago. many of quaid-e-azams closest advisors were ahmadi. it’s a shame how we have treated them for their efforts. lack of tolerance is dangerous for any society, but even more so for a diverse population such as the one we have in pakistan.

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  • Shaami
    Apr 22, 2013 - 11:16AM

    In Democratic countries everyone has the right to vote but what type of Democracy does Pakistan have where Non Muslims have Separate electorate system.??? My brother lives in UK and he is a Muslim and he has been given equal rights to vote irrespective of what religion he have like any Other Britisher and that is what I call a true democracy and same is the case in Other European Countries and in America but in our country i think we are bringing shame to the word Democracy.

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  • Muhammad
    Apr 22, 2013 - 12:23PM

    Isn’t it a vilation of basis of democracy to stop someone from casting his opinion based on his faith, or we have our own twisted intertwined type of democracy?

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  • lkhan
    Apr 22, 2013 - 12:27PM

    Shame shame shame..

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  • Tahir khan
    Apr 22, 2013 - 12:55PM

    When Ahmad’s themselves acknowledge themselfs as non Muslims ,what can others say, I know for a fact as in Sind high court, in S.M.A 109 ,an Ahmadi family has openly declared that we Ahmad’s are non Muslims. Anyone can check it out,it’s titled Farida bajwa versus Rizwan khan and others. So what are we to believe. I was later informed that there are many Ahmad’s who accept that they are non Muslims, and do not wish to follow or adopt any fish, they are now trying to establish their own fiqh To check this ,I personally tried to contact their java at in Karachi, and even in london, but got no response,which led me to believe that finally they have acknowledged to not being Muslims, so why this fuss.n

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  • Badshah Khan
    Apr 22, 2013 - 1:07PM

    Though I strongly disagree with the Ahmedis but at the same time I strongly believe in the principle of live and let live.. I think they are as much Pakistani’s as any other community living in Pakistan.

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  • Naveen
    Apr 22, 2013 - 1:29PM

    @Shaami:
    Read History of the British Raj. Pakistani State is merely carrying forward the divide and rule legacy of its former Colonial masters.

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  • san
    Apr 22, 2013 - 1:32PM

    This religion slot in NIC & Passport will cost us all. Soon sub-section Shia-Mulsim, Sunni-Muslim, and Wahabi will be introduced in Islamic Welfare State.

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  • R A
    Apr 22, 2013 - 2:22PM

    Can I ask
    C.J and election commission
    To define FREE and FAIR elections
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  • Vinod Gowda
    Apr 22, 2013 - 3:00PM

    Excluding a certain group of citizens from voting is unfortunate and is very bad in Democratic set-up.The Election Commission should take immediate action to bestow voting rights to all.

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  • Bilal Bajwa
    Apr 22, 2013 - 3:03PM

    The right to vote is a well-established norm of international law. Significant international
    treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and regional
    agreements and UN Convention on Human Rights, enshrine citizens’ claim
    to universal and equal suffrage. Regional human rights systems in Europe and the
    Americas have mechanisms to enforce the right to vote that have been applied in a
    limited fashion.

    All democracies around the world guarantee the right of their citizens to elect their political representatives. In the last three decades—a period of time in which we have witnessed an astonishing increase in the number of politically free states—every single new constitution has established a citizen’s entitlement to vote.

    Every democratic state, however, restricts who can vote. Some constitutions delineate
    those who are deemed ineligible for the franchise (the young, prisoners, the mentally
    incapable, etc. – no one does that on the basis of religious beliefs, this only happens in PAKISTAN, what a shame), while others identify the courts or the legislature as the branch of government responsible for determining citizens’ fitness to take part in elections. There is no reason for us to stand alone in the global village. We look forward to hearing from your intervention Mr. Chief Justice of Pakistan. No ONE can stop you to take notice of this issue as well! We will be highly grateful to you.

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  • Apr 22, 2013 - 3:27PM

    @Tahir khan:
    No Ahmadi worth his salt would say that he is non-Muslim. The Ahmadees in fact call themselves better Muslims or True Muslims – the Muslims who go by the letters and spirits of Islam It is because of their making this assertion that they are persecuted in Pakistan. The whole world knows that Ahmadees claim themselves to be Muslim. One does not need to go far enough. Just visit the Ahmadee website http://www.alislam.org and you get the truth. To suggest or even hint that they consider themselves non-Muslims is preposterous. It is indeed sad that the so-called enlightened and educated people do not think twice before spreading lies, blatant lies and white lies. What a travesty of truth! May Allah help us from the scheming of such people.

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  • doom
    Apr 22, 2013 - 3:29PM

    @Tahir khan:
    Regardless of whether or not your comment has any truth at all (and I highly doubt it does as I have many Ahmedi friends), it is entirely irrelevant.

    The point is religion should have nothing to do with elections and voting. There should be no “Muslim voters” and “non-Muslim voters”. There should simply be voters.

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  • Aysha
    Apr 22, 2013 - 4:01PM

    Anybody who professes to be a muslim should be considered a muslim period

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  • Aashir
    Apr 22, 2013 - 4:19PM

    To all those who are saying “shame shame”, I say shame on you. Do you people have any idea what the “beliefs” are of ahmadis? Any decent muslim would find some of mirza’s claims revolting. They are rightly classified as non-muslims. That they do not wish to take part in elections is their choice. Do not take your religion lightly folks.

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  • Genesis
    Apr 22, 2013 - 4:24PM

    @Tahir khan:
    They are still Human Beings Right

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  • They can cast votes as a Non-Muslim, so the subject of the topic is wrong as well.

    پاکستان میں الیکشن اور وٹ کی طاقت Election in Pakistan & the power of Vote.
    http://bit.ly/XXjYNO

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  • Khan
    Apr 22, 2013 - 5:02PM

    After studying Ahmadi views, I believe that if Ahmadi faith is true, then rest of “muslims” are non-muslims….. so Ahmadi faith has to be treated as another religion.

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  • Saeed M.A.
    Apr 22, 2013 - 6:51PM

    @Syed Zafar Ahmad
    @Aashir

    They are better Muslims than you.

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  • Faisal
    Apr 22, 2013 - 7:43PM

    @Aysha
    What a stupid comment

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  • londonistani
    Apr 22, 2013 - 9:01PM

    If people here doubt the kufr of Ahmadis please have a look into Mirza Ghulam Qadianis writings (just google it)……

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  • Apr 22, 2013 - 9:15PM

    @Faisal:
    @Saeed M.A.:
    Please do not play God. Who is (good) Muslim and who is not, is for Allah to judge, and no human being, nor even the Pakistan’s Constitution has any right to question the faith or imaan of Ahmadees or anyone else. One cannot abrogate to himself the right to define my religion. It is as simple as that.. One does not need to be a super intellectual to understand this simple and basic fact. If the Ahmadees believe themselves to be Muslims, no one save Allah Himself can question that. Now, if some misguided elements go with ‘holier than thou’ mindset, it is primarily their problem. When however the state – armed with the Constitutional provisions – chooses to discriminate between its citizens based on their beliefs, it amounts to gross violation of their democratic aspirations. It is here that the Ahmadees object.

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  • Ahmad
    Apr 22, 2013 - 10:53PM

    Whatever happened to Equal Human Rights?

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  • Hibba
    Apr 22, 2013 - 10:55PM

    How shameful and lame. Come on Pakistan

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  • Bilal
    Apr 23, 2013 - 2:01AM

    In India , do they have seperate voter list for Hindus and Muslims e.t.c ?

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  • Saneem Ahmed
    Apr 23, 2013 - 4:52AM

    What a shame.. :(

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  • bla
    Apr 23, 2013 - 5:58AM

    @ Syed Zafar Ahmed
    “The Ahmadees in fact call themselves better Muslims or True Muslims –”
    I agree with everything else but i have a problem with the above statement. If it’s upto God to judge all of us then who are we to say that we are the true or better Muslims. there are good and bad people in every religion. So, saying that all ahmadis call themselves better or true Muslims is saying that they under the influence of ‘holier than thou’ syndrome as well, which maybe true, maybe not.

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  • JSM
    Apr 23, 2013 - 6:29AM

    @Bilal:
    No Bilal, they do not. In India, there is only one Voter’s lest.
    Friends in Pakistan would do well by studying Srilankan Tamil conflict- it started by denial of rights of various types to Tamils and discrmination between communities.

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  • O B Server
    Apr 23, 2013 - 7:35AM

    Anyone professing kalamah shadat is Muslim. It is the Muslim majority/State that does not allow Ahmadis to even call the Azan publicly.
    .Every Citizen (Muslim or otherwise) should have the right to cast a vote in favour of a candidate of his choice. Religion is no business of the state. Allah is the best judge.

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  • Zia-Ur-Rehman Malik
    Apr 23, 2013 - 12:11PM

    This is the height of discrimination which had been shown by Government of Pakistan from past 36 years. We can only pray to God. Allah may show them right path and sense. Long Live Pakistan.

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  • tman
    Apr 23, 2013 - 12:18PM

    I would sincerely advise my brothers to look into the belief of Ahmadis before passing any judgement

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  • Agnostic khan
    Apr 23, 2013 - 2:37PM

    I feel really ashamed….The silence of the media and all of us is really shameful…..

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  • socko
    Apr 23, 2013 - 3:33PM

    @Zia-Ur-Rehman Malik

    This is the height of discrimination
    which had been shown by Government of
    Pakistan from past 36 years. We can
    only pray to God. Allah may show them
    right path and sense. Long Live
    Pakistan.

    Unfortunately, if you happen to be Ahmadi, Pakistani constitution denies you the right to pray to Allah, ’cause Allah is the god only for Muslims (God Knows the definition for “MUSLIM”… I mean GOD, i don’t claim His name is Allah.. I know nearly nothing about him, only HE knows “what is” & “What is not”)

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  • sibbi
    Apr 23, 2013 - 8:25PM

    **i’m not a proud pakistani anymore.

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  • KTShamim
    Apr 23, 2013 - 8:49PM

    We contributed in a major way to PPP’s election in early 1970s. Unfortunately, we were subsequently kicked out of the process.

    By a very accurate estimate 100,000 to 150,000 Ahmadis voluntarily helped PPP win elections (without forming any sort of alliance with them) for the benefit of Pakistan. Supposing they earned 200 per month (on average) it comes to 30,000,000 rupees worth of time was given by them (back in 1970s when the rupee was at most 25 and at least 5 to the dollar).

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  • Apr 23, 2013 - 10:29PM

    Please correct a mistake printed in the statement of Mr. Saleemuddin Sahib.. The total number of Ahmadis in Pakistan is twenty million (20000000 and not 200000(two lac)as the first two zero are missing which makes 20 million just 2 lac of the total number of Ahmadi Muslims in the Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan as created on August 14, 1947, and in the creation of Pakistan Ahmadis of British India made all possible sacrifices, whereas Mullah did play all
    negative and foul things to fail the Quaid and his Muslim League in achieving the separate homeland for Pakistani Muslims. In view of all these facts, it is requested that Ahmadis of Pakistan be restored/given their basic human rights as equal citizens and be allowed to worship their God Almighty as their faith entitles them, with their freedom of human conscience fully intact.

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  • Huzaifa
    Apr 24, 2013 - 11:11AM

    Kudos to the writer and ET to discuss such a controversial topic. It is important for us to open up and let our society be out of the cocoon of frustration where every other topic is declared off limits by a certain class on the name of religion.
    My advice to Qadianis will be to proceed with their case in the supreme court of Pakistan. It is the only viable option left for them. It should be an open case with international monitoring as it is the life and death matter for more than 2 million people of Pakistan.

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  • Tahir Nasser
    Apr 26, 2013 - 11:28PM

    @Tahir khan:

    This is a total absurdity. Ahmadi’s have boycotted elections for nearly 30 years BECAUSE they regard themselves as Muslims. You bring up some nonsense anecdote to refute 30 years of behaviour from hundreds of thousands of individuals?

    We call ourselves the “Ahmadiyya Jamaat (community) in ISLAM”

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