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Ahmadis in Pak to boycott July 25 polls to protest separate voter list

Religion Belief

Press Trust of India  |  Lahore 

Voters belonging to the minority Ahmadi community will boycott the July 25 elections in Pakistan to protest the "discriminatory" move to have a separate voter list for them, a community representative said today.

Though the elections are being held under a joint electoral system, there is a separate voter list for the Ahmadis in the country.

"The forms issued for the registration of the voters include religion box and oath-declaration. Under the current circumstances, for the Ahmadis to cast votes they first have to distance themselves from Prophet Muhammad and this is something that no Ahmadi can countenance," said Saleemud Din, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community in Pakistan.

He said all religious groups including Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs are part of a voter list, whereas in the case of Ahmadis, a separate voter list is being prepared, bearing the titles "Qadiani men/women".

"This discriminatory treatment on the basis of religion is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the Ahmadis of Pakistan...deny them their right to vote. Such prejudicial behaviour is an open violation of Pakistani Ahmadis' rights as citizens of the state and goes against the vision of the founding father of the country and contravenes both the Constitution and the very joint electoral system," he said.

Saleemud Din said the Ahmadis consider taking part in the elections is against their faith.

"If there is anyone who may be contesting these elections as an Ahmadi, they cannot and should not be seen as a representative of the Ahmadi community as a whole and nor will any Ahmadi accept them as such," he said, adding that in view of the prevailing circumstance, the Ahmadis of Pakistan will not be participating in the July 25 elections.

Ahmadis make a tiny minority of the Muslim-majority Pakistan and are often targeted by Sunni extremists who consider them heretics.

The Pakistan government had declared Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, July 17 2018. 21:20 IST