Pakistan’s Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs has called for the beheading of people who commit blasphemy.
“Beheading is the only punishment for those who mock the Prophet Muhammad,” Ali Muhammad Khan tweeted this week in the Urdu language, UCA News reported Friday.
In his remarks, Mr. Khan was addressing reports that Ahmadis, members of an Islamic revival movement founded in Punjab, had been given representation on a newly established National Minorities Council in Pakistan. Among their beliefs, Ahmadis hold that Muhammad was not the last prophet.
“Separate the head from the body. Separate the head from the body. Allahu Akbar!” Khan wrote.
“One cannot be a Muslim unless one considers the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last prophet and the last messenger. Belief in the end of prophethood is the foundation of Islam,” Khan added in another tweet.
Although media have reported that Prime Minister Imran Khan has given his consent to include Ahmadis in the minorities council, these reports have been contested and in a video statement on April 30, Mr. Khan categorically denied the reports.
“No such decision has been taken by the cabinet. Imran Khan rejected the proposal, saying it’s a sensitive topic which should not be touched,” the minister said.
“Qadiyanis [a slang term for Ahmadis] can only become part of any commission if they first declare themselves to be non-Muslims as per the constitution of Pakistan. If they don’t accept the Pakistani constitution, there is no question of them being part of any commission,” he said.
The U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2020 report this week, once again designating Pakistan a “country of particular concern” for engaging in systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.
“In 2019, religious freedom conditions across Pakistan continued to trend negatively,” the report stated. “The systematic enforcement of blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws, and authorities’ failure to address forced conversions of religious minorities—including Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs—to Islam, severely restricted freedom of religion or belief.”
“While there were high-profile acquittals, the blasphemy law remained in effect,” the report continued. “USCIRF is aware of nearly 80 individuals who remained imprisoned for blasphemy, with at least half facing a life sentence or death.”