AUTHORITIES OBSTRUCT AHMADI MISSION
(6 February 2006)
Pakistan Interior Minister today refused to issue visas to human
rights researchers in time for a fact finding mission arranged through
the Parliamentary Human Rights Group to go ahead. The mission was
to have investigated the protection available in Pakistan for members
of the Ahmadi community, a religious sect that recently rose to
international attention following the October 2005 massacre worshipers
in a mosque near Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab.
Avebury, Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, wrote
to the Pakistan High Commission in London on December 22 2005, informing
the High Commissioner of the visit, and giving the planned dates
of February 3-12. No reply to Lord Aveburys letter has been
received, yet on January 31 the Pakistani Interior Minister told
the British High Commission in Islamabad that it was not appropriate
for visas to be issued in the first ten days of the month of Muharram
(first month of the Hijri Calendar). Whilst no alternative dates
for the visit have been suggested by the Pakistani authorities,
the group intends to resubmit their application later this month.
remit of the mission was to have been to establish the reality,
for an Ahmadi asylum seeker, of the availability of protection in
the Punjabi town of Rabwah (where 95% of the population are Ahmadi)
and involved the interviewing of a wide range of sources including
the Pakistan authorities. Members of the Ahmadi religious community
consider themselves Muslims but do not accept that Muhammad was
the last prophet. The Ahmadi sect are rejected by the majority of
Muslims as heretics - and particularly so in Pakistan, where they
are refused civil rights and persecuted unless they forswear their
outcome of the mission was to have been a short report that would
provide independent, sourced and up to date information concerning
the current situation in Rabwah so as to assist the Courts in the
UK when considering asylum appeals submitted by Pakistani Ahmadis.
The members of the mission were to have been Frances Allen and Michael
Ellman, immigration practitioners, and Dr Jonathan Ensor, Senior
Research Officer at the Immigration Advisory Service.
Avebury said today: We are very grateful to the Foreign &
Commonwealth Office for all the help they have given in trying to
get this visit off the ground. We all hope that the Pakistani authorities
will allow the mission at some point in the future, and I regret
that we have not had a direct reply to our original approach more
than a month ago, and that no plausible reason has been given for
the refusal of the visas on the planned dates.
view of the urgent need for better information on the situation
in Rabwah in the light of recent developments, the members of the
mission will be undertaking a desk study so that clear and up to
date information can be provided to immigration judges and practitioners.