On July 25, Pakistan went to the polls and handed the most seats in parliament to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the party of athlete-turned-politician Imran Khan. While hailed as a victory by many, the reality is that the Khan regime foreshadows immense hardship and violence for Pakistan’s religious minorities — particularly that of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Election Day violence and claims of voter fraud notwithstanding, there’s an additional sinister reality that few in Pakistan are willing to discuss. For decades, Pakistan’s Ahmadi Muslims have suffered complete voter disenfranchisement on account of our faith — and this Election Day was no different. This election, Khan stood silent as Ahmadi Muslims were again disenfranchised.
Pakistan’s version of Jim Crow laws mandate two draconian options for the nation’s some 500,000 Ahmadi Muslims. To vote, Ahmadis must either declare themselves non-Muslim or declare Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Messiah and Mahdi and founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, as a false prophet and liar. Ahmadi Muslims reject both positions, and are thus forced into disenfranchisement.