Monday, May 22, 2017

Pakistan: Census source of fear for Ahmadis


Banned from even calling themselves Muslim, they find themselves in a dangerous position when census officials arrive asking them to declare their religion.

An official of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, second left, and a soldier collect
information from a resident during a census at Rabwah in Chiniot District in
Punjab province, Pakistan, in this March 27, 2017 file photo. — AFP
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Saudi Gazette
By AFP (Excerpts*) | May 22, 2017

RABWAH, Pakistan — Marginalized, attacked and frequently hit by blasphemy charges, Pakistan’s religious minorities are hoping the country’s first census since 1998 will be a step toward greater political representation and rights.
...
Fast-growing Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, with an estimated 200 million people, but has not held a census for nearly two decades, despite a constitutional requirement for one every decade.

The count was delayed for years by politicians squabbling over the potential implications.

Estimates are approximate and disputed, ranging from two to 10 million for Christians, and 2.5 to 4.5 million for Hindus.
...
Pakistan’s Ahmadis number an estimated 500,000 and are victims of persecution and violence.

The process is not without complications — and not all religious minorities are eager to make themselves known.

Banned from even calling themselves Muslim, they find themselves in a dangerous position when census officials arrive asking them to declare their religion.

Citizens can declare themselves to be Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Ahmadi or “other.”
...
This desire for more accurate data goes to the heart of the controversy surrounding the census: that it will redraw political boundaries and force a redistribution of resources.
...
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*The structure of this report as originally filed by AFP has been edited and rearranged by AT/TOA. The text has not been edited in any other fashion.

Read original post here: Pakistan: Census source of fear and hope for minorities


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