Pak school expels 4 Ahmadi students for ‘their faith’

Sept 23 (PTI): Four students belonging to the Ahmadi community were expelled from school because of “their belief” in Pakistani province of Punjab on Friday, the latest incident of discrimination against members of the minority community.
Pakistani Parliament in 1974 declared the Ahmadi community as non-Muslims. Ten years later, they were banned from calling themselves Muslim. They are not allowed to preach and are not allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage.
“Four students – Huzaifa Nasir, Aneela Aqib, Abeer Ahmad Saifi and Nimra Qureshi of grades III, VI, IX and X respectively – have been expelled from school by the school board (educators) because of their belief in the city of Attock (about 400 km from Lahore), Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya Punjab spokesman Amir Mahmood told PTI.
He said such incidents had occurred in the country in the past and that it was unfortunate that the school in question told the children’s parents that “they were expelled because of their faith”.
Mahmood said this was a “dangerous trend” set by the educational institutions. “Such a trend will affect the studies of Ahmadi students in Pakistan,” he said.
In the redeeming letter, the head of the school Kulsom Awan said: “The above students are being withdrawn from the school on the basis of the Qadianiat (Ahmadi) religion.”
The school board said the expelled students continued to do well with their studies.
According to an official, the school board took the step in response to complaints from some parents who said, “their children will not study in the class where Ahmadi students attend.”
Minorities, especially Ahmadis, are very vulnerable in Pakistan and are often targeted by religious extremists.
A 62-year-old man from the Ahmadi community was stabbed to death by a “religious fanatic” for refusing to praise a controversial cleric in Pakistan’s Punjab province last month.
Abdul Salam, a member of the Ahmadi community, was brutally stabbed to death in May this year, apparently for his faith.
Former military dictator General Zia-ul Haq had made it a crime for Ahmadiyyas to call themselves Muslims or to call their religion Islam.
In Pakistan, about 10 million of the 220 million inhabitants are non-Muslims. According to the 2017 census, Hindus make up the largest religious minority (5 million) in Pakistan.
Christians make up the second largest religious minority, with almost the same number (4.5 million) and their concentration is mainly in urban Sindh, Punjab and parts of Balochistan. The Ahmadis, Sikhs and Parsi are also among the notable religious minorities in Pakistan.

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