ISLAMABAD: The Religious Affairs Ministry has decided to approach the federal cabinet seeking a review of a decision that pertained to the inclusion of a member of the Ahmadiyya community in the National Commission for Minorities after the move sparked fierce criticism from the religious right on mainstream and social media platforms.
According to sources, Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri told federal secretary Mushtaq Ahmad to approach the Cabinet Division for a review, which will be taken up in the next meeting.
Upon contact, Qadri said the decision was not made by the cabinet and there was only a discussion about the composition of the National Commission for Minorities.
Earlier, the federal cabinet had approved in principle the inclusion of Ahmadis in the National Commission for Minorities on the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and directed the Ministry of Religious Affairs to reconstitute the National Commission for Minorities.
The cabinet had considered the summary titled ‘Re-Constitution of National Commission for Minorities’ dated April 15, 2020 which was submitted by the Religious Affairs Division, and approved the constitution of the commission in principle.
It subsequently directed that the National Commission for Minorities be reconstituted while keeping following aspects in view: majority of members in the commission shall be from the minority communities; chairman shall be from minority communities; Ahmadi community, being a minority, should also be represented in the commission.
While expressing his concerns over the federal government’s decision, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PMll-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain told a private news channel: “The opening of Ahmadis’ pandora box is beyond understanding. The Ahmadis neither accept themselves as non-Muslim minority nor do they accept the constitution of Pakistan. Under these circumstances, favouring Ahmadis is a joke with Pakistan that is unacceptable.”
The Ahmadiyya community of Pakistan is included in the commission for the first time since 1974, when they were declared non-Muslim by the then Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government.