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Asian Insights

By in Asia on August 2, 2016
ASIA • Insights
Pakistan’s new government betrays the Ahmadi minority
September 13, 2018

IT SEEMED a speech worthy of a place in history, and one to delight Pakistan’s shrinking cohort of liberals. On September 4th Fawad Chaudhry, information minister of the Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI), the party that leads the new government, hit out against religious bigotry. He defended the appointment of Atif Mian (pictured), a Princeton professor, as an economic adviser. That Mr Mian belongs to Pakistan’s 400,000-strong Ahmadi minority should not matter, he thundered. Why, he asked, should the PTI not appoint “the person everyone thinks will win a Nobel prize in the next five years?”

In the 44 years since Pakistan declared Ahmadis non-Muslim, no politician has spoken so openly in their support. They believe a second prophet, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, born in 1835, followed Muhammad. So many Pakistanis deem Ahmadis heretics; the law forbids them from even reading the Koran. In the past decade, around half of them have left Pakistan. Conspiracies painting them as wealthy, Jewish-backed...