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India And Denmark Earmark Green Energy And Climate Change For Cooperation

Read the full text of the ‘Joint Statement for India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership’.

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NEW DELHI/COPENHAGEN: According to a Joint Statement for India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership, the two Prime Ministers confirmed the close partnership in addressing global challenges and solutions on green energy transition and climate change.

India and Denmark also agree to be at the forefront of the global fight against climate change.

Both countries have set very ambitious national targets on climate and energy that will contribute to an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement.


Together, the two countries will show the world that delivering on ambitious climate and sustainable energy goals are possible.

The two Prime Ministers also agreed to join efforts and initiatives to support and promote a rule-based multilateral system.

This includes strong multilateral cooperation to face the urgency to step up global efforts to combat the global challenges on energy and climate change and a common commitment to the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Solar Alliance.


Both sides supported the need for cooperation on promotion of an open, inclusive and rule-based multilateral trading system under the WTO at its core to promote global growth and sustainable development.


Joint Statement for India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership

Her Excellency Ms Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark and His Excellency, Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, co-chaired a Virtual Summit between India and Denmark on 28 September 2020.

Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Frederiksen held an in-depth exchange of views in a warm and friendly atmosphere on bilateral relations, discussed the Covid-19 pandemic and global matters of interest to both sides, including climate change and green transition and reached a common understanding with a view to accelerating sustainable economies and societies.

They further noted with satisfaction the continued development of bilateral relations based on historical links, common democratic traditions and shared desire for regional, as well as international peace and stability.

Given the shared desire to remain trusted partners, the two Prime Ministers agreed to elevate India-Denmark relations to a Green Strategic Partnership. This partnership would build on and consolidate the existing agreement establishing a Joint Commission for Cooperation (signed 6 February 2009) between India and Denmark which envisaged cooperation within the political field; economic and commercial field; science and technology; environment; energy; education and culture. In addition, it builds on and complements the existing Joint Working Groups on Renewable Energy, Urban Development, Environment, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Food Processing, Science, Technology and Innovation, Shipping, Labour Mobility and Digitization.


The Green Strategic Partnership is a mutually beneficial arrangement to advance political cooperation, expand economic relations and green growth, create jobs and strengthen cooperation on addressing global challenges and opportunities; with focus on an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The two Prime Ministers acknowledged the importance of establishing the Green Strategic Partnership, under which India and Denmark will cooperate through relevant Ministries, institutions and stakeholders.

Energy and Climate Change

The two Prime Ministers confirmed the close partnership in addressing global challenges and solutions on green energy transition and climate change. The Strategic Sector Cooperation on offshore wind and renewable energy, as well as the India-Denmark Energy Partnership (INDEP) on capacity building, knowledge-sharing and technology transfer on wind energy; energy modelling and integration of renewable energy, illustrate the shared commitment to addressing some of the common global challenges on the path towards global energy transition, green growth and sustainable development. The two sides envisage the energy partnership to be further strengthened over the coming years.

India and Denmark agree to be at the forefront in the global fight against climate change. Both countries have set very ambitious national targets on climate and energy that will contribute to an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement. Together, the two countries will show the world that delivering on ambitious climate and sustainable energy goals are possible.

The two countries agreed to hold regular consultations and dialogue on climate change and renewable energy at various levels.

Environment/Water and Circular Economy

The two Prime Ministers agreed to work towards further expanding and strengthening the existing Government-to-Government cooperation on environment/water and circular economy. They further agreed to cooperate in water efficiency and non-revenue water (water loss) and in this context tasked the Indian Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food to develop a Work Plan for an initial period of three years (2021-23).

The two Prime Ministers expressed their joint wish to enhance cooperation in the specific areas of water supply, water distribution, wastewater treatment, sewerage systems, re-use of treated wastewater, water management and energy optimization in the water sector through the Indo-Danish Water Technology Alliance.


Sustainable Urban Development including Smart Cities

Both sides noted the holding of 2nd India-Denmark JWG on Sustainable Urban Development virtually on June 26, 2020, and agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in sustainable urban development, including in smart cities through the Urban Living Lab in Goa.

Both sides also agreed to strengthen existing City-to-City cooperation between Udaipur and Aarhus and Tumakuru and Aalborg.

They noted that Danish companies are contributing to designing infrastructure projects in India and welcomed the greater engagement of the Danish side in all fields of sustainable urban development.

Business, Trade and Shipping

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the idea of developing partnerships between Governments, institutions and businesses of the two countries with special focus on green and climate-friendly technologies. They recognized the importance of regulatory framework conditions to support public and private investments in green energy.

Both leaders appreciated the deep cooperation on maritime affairs and noted the potential for enhancing cooperation in shipbuilding and design, maritime services and Green shipping, as well as port development.

The two Prime Ministers underlined that they would encourage business delegations, market access activities for SMEs and enhance ease of doing business.

India and Denmark confirmed the emerging cooperation in Intellectual Property Rights, which will help to modernize and strengthen their national intellectual property systems to promote innovation, creativity and technological advancement.

Science, Technology, Innovation and Digitization

India and Denmark recognize the importance of promoting and facilitating investments in science, technology and innovation (STI) via strong public-private partnerships as an important way to accelerate technology development and the implementation of new solutions. Collaboration in STI supports the Green Strategic Partnership by promoting and strengthening relations between authorities, small and large companies and research and higher education institutions in India and Denmark. The two sides agree to build on existing strong bilateral STI partnerships with joint calls for projects in areas such as energy, water, bio-resources and ICT.

The two leaders recognized their shared interest in digitization and digital solutions and business models in the green transition and decided to collaborate for enhancement of development, innovation and demonstration in the field of digital technologies to support green sustainable growth.

Food and Agriculture

Given the immense potential to collaborate in the agricultural sector, the two Prime Ministers encouraged fostering deeper and closer cooperation between authorities, businesses and research institutions in the sectors of food processing and food safety, as well as animal husbandry and dairying.

Health and Life Science

Both sides emphasized the potential and their common desire to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the health sector. They confirmed their interest in expanding dialogue and sharing best practices on health policy issues, including on epidemics and vaccines, especially to combat Covid-19 and future pandemics. They agreed to work on expanding commercial opportunities for businesses by creating more favourable environments for the life science sector, including research collaborations.

Cultural Cooperation, People-to-People contacts and Labour Mobility

The two Prime Ministers acknowledged that the richness of the relationship between India and Denmark is a result of the long-standing people-to-people contacts and agreed to further promote greater awareness and mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries through cultural cooperation.

Both sides agreed to examine the possibilities for labour mobility, as well as to consider ease of travel between the two countries to facilitate greater people-to-people interaction and strengthen cooperation in the tourism sector

Multilateral Cooperation

The two Prime Ministers agree to join efforts and initiatives to support and promote a rule-based multilateral system. This includes strong multilateral cooperation to face the urgency to step up global efforts to combat the global challenges on energy and climate change and a common commitment to the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Solar Alliance.

Both sides supported the need for cooperation on promotion of an open, inclusive and rule-based multilateral trading system under the WTO at its core to promote global growth and sustainable development.

Both sides expressed their support for the ongoing discussions to reform the WTO. Both sides reaffirmed their determination to strengthen cooperation and contribute to comprehensive reforms of the WTO. Both sides agreed that the reforms need to be inclusive and to be carried out in a transparent manner, high priority being the restoration of a full-strength Appellate Body as part of the two-tiered Dispute Settlement System of the WTO.

Both sides expressed their commitment for working towards an ambitious, fair, and mutually beneficial Trade and Investment Agreement between EU and India to further strengthen and deepen the EU-India ties.

Both sides agreed that the Arctic Cooperation within the framework of the Arctic Council has a global dimension and is essential for addressing the need for environmental protection and combating climate change. In this spirit, both sides expressed their willingness for collaboration within the framework of the Arctic Council in the area of climate change.

The two leaders acknowledged the shared values of human rights, democracy and rule of law and agreed to cooperate in multilateral fora to advance democracy and human rights.

CONCLUSION

The two leaders expressed their conviction that a decision of the two countries to establish Green Strategic Partnership between the Kingdom of Denmark and the Republic of India has opened a new chapter in the friendly and cooperative relations between them.

Ambitious goals and actions will be identified within the areas and outlined in an Action Plan that will be worked out and endorsed as soon as possible.

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INTERNATIONAL

Rohingya Slugfest At Bangladesh-Myanmar Border?

Bangladesh is currently hosting 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, who have fled from their native Rakhine State of Myanmar, in different batches.

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On October 6, 2020, four people were killed in clashes between two groups of Rohingyas over establishing supremacy at the Lombasia Camp in the Kutupalang area of Cox’s Bazar District. 20 persons were injured in those violent clashes.

On October 4, 2020, two Rohingyas were killed in a gunfight between two rival groups at a refugee camp in the Ukhia area of Cox’s Bazar District. The gunfight erupted between two groups of Rohingya criminals asserting dominance.

On October 2, 2020, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) discovered and neutralized a firearms-making factory at Madhurchhara, adjacent to the Kutupalang Rohingya Camp in Cox’s Bazar District. Two persons identified as Abu Majid and Robi Alam were arrested. RAB recovered two guns, two bullets and several pieces of equipment used for manufacturing firearms from a hut set up by the arrestees. According to RAB officials, the duo had been making and supplying firearms to Rohingya criminals for a long time.


Available data shows that at least 178 cases have been filed against the Rohingyas between January and July 2020, in which 442 Rohingyas have been arrested. 263 cases were registered through 2019 and 649 Rohingyas were arrested. In 2018, the numbers stood at 208 cases and 414 arrests.

The crimes these displaced people are involved in include possession of illegal arms and drugs, robbery, abduction, smuggling, murder, and human trafficking.

Media reports indicate that extremist groups are trying to take over these camps. Deutsche Welle, a German news agency, reported on February 13, 2020, that 40 Rohingyas in a Cox’s Bazar camp were trained by the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in January 2020. The JMB trained these Rohingyas with help from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, from where USD 117,000 was received by JMB for this purpose. The report also revealed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was among those behind the training.

Siegfried O. Wolf, an analyst at the South Asia Democratic Forum, a Belgian-based group based in Brussels, later confirmed the possible involvement of ISI. He said the ISI’s main goal was to destabilize some countries in the region, with Afghanistan and India at the top of their list.


Reports also indicate that the Myanmar-based Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has made deep inroads in these camps. The International Crisis Group (ICG) report “Building a Better Future for Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh” released on April 25, 2019, claimed ARSA militants and gangs mostly controlled the camps and often committed violence against the residents.

Separately, the Deutsche Welle on September 24, 2019, reported that a man claiming to be an ARSA cadre told Deutsche Welle that some 3,500 fighters were sheltering in the refugee camps in Bangladesh and that groups of several hundred fighters secretly crossed to neighbouring Myanmar for military training.

There are apprehensions that these terrorist groups may take advantage of the rising tension between the host community and the refugees, which has reportedly reached an alarming level. Overcrowding in refugee camps has led to encroachment of forests and decreasing opportunities for the host community.

Bangladesh is currently hosting 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, who have fled from their native Rakhine State of Myanmar, in different batches.

The first batch of Rohingyas came in 1977 when an estimated 300,000 Rohingya fled persecution by the Myanmarese Army in the Rakhine region. More recently, an estimated 730,000 Rohingyas came to Bangladesh in 2017. The exodus followed massive clearance operation by Myanmar’s State Forces subsequent to ARSA’s attacks against Police posts in the northern Rakhine State. According to Ontario International Development Agency, nearly 24,000 Rohingya were killed, more than 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down while 113,000 others were vandalised by Myanmar’s state forces.

According to the UN Report of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar released on September 12, 2018, the “clearance operations” constituted a human rights catastrophe. Mass killings were perpetrated in Min Gyi (Tula Toli), Maung Nu, Chut Pyin and Gudar Pyin, and in villages in the Koe Tan Kauk village tract. In some cases, hundreds of people died.


The Rohingya crisis is no longer just a humanitarian calamity but has transformed into a potential threat to Bangladesh’s internal stability. On November 11, 2019, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, addressing the three-day ‘Dhaka Global Dialogue-2019’ in Dhaka city, observed:

“In terms of regional security, I would like to say that more than 1.1 million Rohingya citizens of Myanmar fled to Bangladesh in the face of persecution and they are a threat to the security not only for Bangladesh but also for the region. I urge the world community to take appropriate action realising the gravity of the threat. It will not be possible to ensure development and prosperity of any country without having peace and safety.”

On September 12, 2020, raising fears that if the Rohingya problem is not solved quickly, it may lead to radicalism and terrorism, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Momen noted, “Our fear is that, if this problem is not solved quickly, it may lead to pockets of radicalism and since terrorists have no borders, no faith, there’s a high possibility of creation of uncertainty in the region which may frustrate our hope for a peaceful, secure and stable region.”

Not surprisingly, Bangladesh has, for long, been trying to repatriate these Rohingyas. According to a bilateral instrument signed by Bangladesh and Myanmar on November 23, 2017, the repatriation of the Rohingya was supposed to begin from January 22, 2018, and to be complete by January 22, 2020. But, not a single Rohingya has yet been repatriated.

So far, two repatriation attempts, on November 15, 2018, and August 22, 2019, did not materialize due to Myanmar’s failure to create the necessary conditions for the return of its own people.

Indeed, urging the global community to play a more ‘effective role’ in finding a solution for the Rohingya problem, Prime Minister Hasina, in a pre-recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 26, 2020, stated:

“More than three years have elapsed. Regrettably, not a single Rohingya could be repatriated. The problem was created by Myanmar, and its solution must be found in Myanmar. I request the international community to play a more effective role for a solution to the crisis.”

Meanwhile, there are reports of rising tension at the International Border between Bangladesh and Myanmar, directly linked to the Rohingya issue. Bangladeshi has deployed Army troops in Cox’s Bazar District in southeastern Bangladesh along Myanmar’s border. Similarly, Myanmar’s military has recently beefed up security along the border, citing increased activities by ARSA and the Arakan Army.

The Rohingya crisis has created challenges for Bangladesh as the tension between the host communities and the Rohingyas increases. Moreover, the issue has created tensions between Bangladesh and Myanmar as well. While support from numerous humanitarian actors has so far kept the refugees alive, these tensions may soon translate into explicit conflict.


Unless the crisis is resolved, the ‘Rohingya problem’ may morph into an issue of global security at large, and a crisis for Bangladesh in particular.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

S. Binodkumar Singh

Dr S. Binodkumar is a Research Associate at the Institute for Conflict Management. He has done his PhD on "Indo-Bangladesh Relations: Their Impact on the Security of the North East" from the Department of Defence and National Security Studies at Punjab University, Chandigarh.

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Maldives’ DDC Struggling With Prosecutions

The capacities and capabilities of the Maldivian Security Forces need a boost.

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On August 8, 2020, Maldives’ Disappearances and Death Commission (DDC) announced that it is going to hire a foreign expert to assist it in completing its investigations by September 2020.

Earlier, on December 8, 2019, the President of DDC, Uz. Husnu Al Suood, resigned from the Presidential Commission after his nomination to the Supreme Court as a Judge.

A December 12, 2019, report mentions President’s spokesperson Ibrahim Hood saying that President’s Office was working on a replacement for Uz. Husnu Al Suood. However, no further updates are available.


Another member, Adam Ibrahim, also resigned, citing ‘personal reasons’.  DDC has just three members left, Misbah Abbas, Ahmed Nashid and Fareesha Abdulla.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had announced the establishment of the DDC on November 18, 2018. The Commission commenced its work officially on November 21, 2018, with a two-year deadline to investigate 27 cases of Disappearances and Death. On September 1, 2019, DDC revealed that, of the 27 cases being investigated, only 4 or 5 were ‘currently pending’. Three of these were ‘interlinked’ cases, involving al Qaeda. These included:

Recovery of the dead body of Dr Afrasheem Ali bearing multiple stab wounds. The body was discovered in the stairwell of his home in Male in the early hours of October 1, 2012.
Status: Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office has ordered the DDC to resubmit the charges against the accused.


The disappearance of Journalist Ahmed Rilwan: Ahmed Rilwan (28), a journalist with now discontinued Maldives Independent, was last seen on August 8, 2014.
Status: The case has yet to reach trial phase. The DDC on December 3, 2019, said that the case was forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s Office, to press charges against Mohamed Mazeed and Smith Mohamed, suspected of masterminding Rilwan’s enforced disappearance. Subsequently, the Prosecutor General’s Office had rejected the case over procedural issues, and no charges were pressed against any suspects.

The killing of Blogger Yameen Rasheed: A local affiliate of al Qaeda killed blogger Yameen Rasheed, who had received repeated death threats for his ‘anti-Islamic views’, on April 23, 2017.
Status: PG office in January 2020, citing inadequate investigations, rejected the charges against the suspects. Further, the Prosecutor General sent the case back to DDC for further investigation, following which the commission stated they would resubmit the charges. DDC could not find any fresh leads in the case.

The Al Qaeda is a major threat to the Maldives. On September 19, 2019, the Maldives Government made public the details of 17 terror organisations placed under its Anti-Terrorism Act on the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. Five of these were related al Qaeda: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

Meanwhile, since the formation of the DDC on November 18, 2018, another five terrorism cases have taken place in the country (data till August 30, 2020), though these have not resulted in any fatalities. These include:

  • April 15, 2020, arson attack at Mahibadhoo Harbour: On April 15, 2020, five government speedboats were damaged in an arson attack at Mahibadhoo Harbour on Ariatholhu Dhekunuburi. According to reports, the attack was a retaliation against Government investigations into extremism and drug trafficking.
  • March 22, 2020, Police boat attack: Unidentified attackers set ablaze a Police boat docked at the Harbour of Gan Island in Laamu Atoll on March 22, 2020.
  • March 21, 2020, arson attack: An arson incident occurred at Villa number 47 in Cheval Blanc Randheli, a luxury hotel located in Noonu Atoll.
  • February 4, 2020, stabbing incidents: Extremists, suspected to be inspired by the Islamic State, stabbed and injured three foreign nationals – two Chinese and one Australian – near Hulhumale Red Bull Park Futsal Ground in the Hulhumale city of Kaffu Atoll on February 4, 2020.
  • Attack on Turkish national: Extremists stabbed a Turkish national in Hulhumale city in December 2019.

Though all these cases are still under investigation, it is suspected that the Islamic State is behind each of them. Indeed, IS has claimed two of these incidents (April 15) and (March 21).


Though none of the cases reported since November 18, 2018, the date of establishment of the DDC, are under the purview of the DDC, other agencies investigating the cases have also failed to prosecute a single person in these cases, with the exception of the March 22, 2020, arson incident.

On August 2, 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor General filed an additional terror charge against terror accused Moosa Inaas, for setting ablaze a Police surveillance speedboat on March 22. The speedboat was docked in the harbour of Thundi District of Gan in Laamu Atoll.

The Prosecutor General’s office disclosed that it has filed the charge of carrying out an act of terrorism under Article 6 (b) of the Counter-Terrorism Act, with reference to Article 6 (a) (i) of the Counter-Terrorism Act. Earlier, on July 29, 2020, the Prosecutor General’s Office had charged Moosa Inaas and Abdul Latheef Ibrahim for “possession of material implying support for a terrorist organization” under Article 6 (b) of the Counter-Terrorism Act.

The State continued failure to successfully prosecute those involved in violent acts could strengthen the resolve of terrorist and extremist formations. It will also help such elements to claim that the case filed against them were the vendetta of a secular’ government against the ‘faithful’.

In the meantime, there is a strong possibility of more arson attacks by the extremists, as evident from available online content. On July 30, 2020, the Australia-based scholar of Maldives, Azim Zahir, tweeted that the Maldivian IS group had released a video encouraging arson attacks.

Further, the SITE Intelligence Group, an organisation that monitors online activities of extremist groups, disclosed that the original 4-minute video version “Incite the Believers” was released in both English and Arabic by the IS-linked Al-Hayat Media Center on July 26, 2020. The SITE Intelligence group added further that the video asked supporters to use arson as a method to attack enemies across Africa, North and South America and Europe.

The outbreak of Novel Corona Virus-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to massive financial losses for the State; the full extent of this is yet to be fully assessed. According to data published by the Ministry of Economic Development, Government of Maldives, and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), the best-case scenario for the island nation would be negative economic growth of -11.5 per cent, but at worst could go down to -29.7 per cent.

A lethal combination of economic meltdown and poverty-led marginalisation could lead to heightened radicalisation, greatly destabilising the island nation. Lieutenant Colonel Amanulla A. Rasheed in his article ‘Global Trends of Crime and Terror Nexus during COVID-19 Pandemic: Building Community Resilience to Prevent Violent Extremism’ published in National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Newsletter Volume 37: April 2020 observes:

“…crime and terror would transform, changing its ways and means to exploit the situation and target the vulnerable communities in order to create chaos and misconceptions amongst the public and hate towards the State Governments. Extremist sympathizers are covertly playing their role in spreading the Jihadist beliefs in the vulnerable communities, which is part of terror tactics, and yet the spread of violent extremism has been managed…”


There is a need for greater synergy between various security agencies both at the level of intelligence sharing and investigation so that cases that are registered can be brought to their natural conclusion.

The capacities and capabilities of the Maldivian Security Forces need a boost, in order to effectively meet increasing challenges of terrorist groups and radical elements.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Giriraj Bhattacharjee

Giriraj Bhattacharjee is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi.

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Ahmadi Muslims And The Islamic Pakistan

Ahmadis, like other religious minorities in Pakistan, continue to face violence and discrimination.

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On August 13, 2020, a 61-year-old Ahmadi man, Meraj Ahmed, was shot dead near his medical store in the Dabgari Gardens area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

On July 29, 2020, Tahir Naseem, a US citizen and an Ahmadi, accused of blasphemy, was shot dead inside a District Court in Peshawar, in the presence of security and the presiding judge. Though he was killed as an Ahmadi, Saleem ud Din, spokesman of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan, later claimed, “He was born Ahmadi but left the community many years ago. Therefore, to avoid any misinformation, I would like to clarify that the deceased was not part of Jamaat Ahmadiyya.”

Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan is an organisation that, among other things, watches over the religious, economic and political interests of Ahmadis in Pakistan.


On July 15, 2020, graves of members of the Ahmadi community were desecrated in Tirigiri village of Gujranwala District in Punjab Province, as Quranic verses were written on these graves. Pakistani law prohibits Ahmadis from calling themselves or “posing as” Muslims.

On July 1, 2020, local clerics allegedly vandalised graves of members of the Ahmadi community in the Nawa Kot area of Sheikhupura District in Punjab Province. Saleem ud Din, the spokesman of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan, condemning the attack, Tweeted:

“How long the state apparatus will act as enabler in the hands of extremists? How long our dead will be persecuted in their graves? How long the state & others will turn a blind eye to this?”


On February 29, 2020, three graves belonging to Ahmadis were allegedly desecrated by the Police in the Khushab District of Punjab Province.

According to partial data collated by South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), these were the five reported incidents in 2020 in which the Ahmadi community was targeted (data till August 23, 2020). Two of these incidents resulted in one fatality each.

Since March 6, 2000, at least 128 Ahmadis have been killed and 113 injured in 28 incidents of killing.

The worst-ever attack targeting the Ahmadis took place on May 28, 2010. 94 people were killed when two Ahmadi mosques were targeted in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, in attacks that included grenades, small arms fire and two suicide bombers. 27 people were killed at the Baitul Nur Mosque in Lahore’s Model Town area and 67 people died at the Darul Zikr Mosque in the suburb of Garhi Shahu. The Punjabi Taliban, a local affiliate of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), had claimed responsibility.

Britain’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in its Report titled, “Suffocating the Faithful: The Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the Rise of International Extremism”, published in July 2020, stated that between 1984 and July 2020, at least 269 Ahmadi Muslims have been killed on grounds of faith. The report also explains the abuse that Ahmadis experience in educational institutions:

“Young Ahmadi Muslims face a constant risk of being denied access to education and those who secure a place are routinely targeted and stigmatised through physical and emotional abuse at the hands of teachers and fellow pupils.”


Indeed, apart from death and desecration, the Ahmadi community faces constant oppression and discrimination in eligibility to hold government positions, in contesting elections, in their businesses, and in the destruction of their homes and places of worship. Ahmadi Muslims are prevented by law from publishing and possessing their core religious texts, crucially including the Holy Quran.

As reported on January 10, 2020, the Punjab Assembly’s Special Committee decided to ban the Ahmadi newspaper, Al-Fazl. This, in a state and a country where dozens of terrorist organisations openly publish multiple magazines.

The oppression and suppression faced by Ahmadis are at the behest of the Pakistani establishment. Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Religious and Inter-faith Harmony Affairs, declared in May 2020 that any form of “soft-heartedness” toward the Ahmadis was both un-Islamic and un-patriotic:

“Whoever shows sympathy or compassion towards [Ahmadis] is neither loyal to Islam nor the state of Pakistan.”

Unsurprisingly, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), constituted in May 2020 has no member from the Ahmadi community. Initially, it was suggested that Ahmadis should get a representation in the Commission, but, as reported on May 18, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected that idea after it sparked severe criticism from orthodox Sunnis who consider the Ahmadi belief an insult to Islam.

Moreover, under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), fundamental religious rights are denied to Ahmadis in Pakistan. Ordinance XX prohibits Ahmadis from self-declaration as a Muslim, to make azaan (prayer call), from paying zakat (alms), from observing fast during Ramzaan, and from making a pilgrimage to Mecca. PPC 298 C , thus states:

Person of Qadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith:-

Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who directly or indirectly, poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

The Ahmadi community, accepted as a minority sect of Islam at the time of the country’s independence in 1947, became the first minority group to be targeted for sectarian violence when anti-Ahmadi riots broke out in 1953 in Lahore, leading to the first imposition of Martial Law in the country’s history, limited to Lahore. 2,000 Ahmadis were killed in violent protests.

Later, in 1974, under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Administration, the Parliament brought the Second Amendment to the 1973 Constitution and declared the Ahmadis non-Muslims.

Unlike all other Muslims in the country, Ahmadis were prohibited from calling their place of worship a mosque and saying the common Islamic greeting of Assalamo Alaikum (Peace be upon you ) or reading the Kalima (the testimony of faith).


Further, in 1985, the then President Zia ul Haq pushed through the Eighth Amendment to the 1973 Constitution in Parliament, which was accompanied by a series of laws effectively creating a separate electorate system for non-Muslims, including Ahmadi Muslims.

Moreover, according to the Amendment, they cannot hold government office without publicly denouncing Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadi community.

The status of the Ahmadis has become precarious. Several reports have highlighted the pathetic conditions of the sect, including the International Human Rights Committee report, Ahmadis in Pakistan Face an Existential Threat, published in 2017, which demonstrates that Ahmadis in Pakistan are violently targeted, intimidated, harassed and persecuted at all levels of society. It also testifies to the grave injustices that are meted out to minority religious groups such as Ahmadi Muslims.

Likewise, South Asia Democratic Forum’s report, Persecution against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan: A multi-dimensional perspective, published on May 10, 2019, underlined the multifaceted and multidimensional persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan in all spheres of public and private life.

More recently, the US States Commission on International Religious Freedom in its Annual Report 2020, released in April 2020, explaining the situation of Ahmadi community of Pakistan, noted:

“Ahmadi Muslims, with their faith essentially criminalized, continued to face severe persecution from authorities as well as societal harassment due to their beliefs, with both the authorities and mobs targeting their houses of worship.”

In February 2020, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, declaring that minorities are equal citizens of his country, had issued a warning that anyone targeting the non-Muslim population of Pakistan would be strictly dealt with.

Regrettably, Khan has failed to back words with convincing action, as evident in the failure to include an Ahmadi representative in the NCM, and also to ensure effective legal action in any of the continuous stream of cases of atrocity and discrimination targeting Ahmadis.

Ahmadis, like other religious minorities in Pakistan, continue to face violence and discrimination, targeted by acts of vandalism and violence, forced to declare themselves as “non-Muslims” and prohibited by law from professing or practising their faith.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Dr. Sanchita Bhattacharya

Dr Sanchita is a Research Fellow at Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi. Assistant Editor: Faultlines Area of Interest: Political Islam in South Asia, Pakistan, Terrorism Education: PhD from JNU, Delhi M.A. in International Relations from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

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