IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Autor)
The following information was provided to the Research Directorate on 5 March 2000 by Karen Parker, a San Francisco lawyer who specializes in human rights and humanitarian law and is director of International Educational Development (IED), a non-governmental organization concerned with human rights and international law which has consultative status at the United Nations. Ms Parker is also the IED chief representative to the UN and the author of Religious Persecution in Pakistan: The Ahmadi Case at the Supreme Court (Dec. 1993).
In reply to the question as to whether a Pakistani passport can be amended to read "Ahmadi" instead of "Muslim" or "Islam," Ms Parker stated that it can, but added:
If a Pakistani-accepted Muslim (which excludes Ahamadis) converts to the Ahmadi sect of Islam, then he/she is subjected to the "insult the Holy Prophet" ordinances in Pakistan which carry the death sentence (male) or life imprisonment (female). Persons born Ahmadi do not carry that stigma as they have not converted. But a change from Islam or Muslim to Ahmadi is evidence per se of a conversion which warrants the above sentences. Muslims from other sects who do convert, however, generally cannot lie to Pakistani officials regarding their passport designation as that would be denying their faith. So these persons face very serious consequences. Note that in the Pakistani passport application process, a Muslim must specifically renounce Ahamdis and must swear that the leader of the Ahmadi Movement in Islam is an "imposter".
The authority to change the religious designation lies with the Pakistani officials, but an applicant or current passport holder who must renew must repeat the denunciation of Ahmadis or change from Muslim to Ahmadi.
If the passport is amended, then "Muslim" would be crossed out and "Ahmadi" substituted (5 Mar. 2000).
No information to corroborate the above could be found by the Research Directorate within time constraints.
Please note that there is a reference to the Pakistani government's policy regarding the use of the term "Ahmadi" on passports in the section on "Freedom of Religion" in the entry for Pakistan in the US State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Parker, Karen. Director, International
Educational Development, San Francisco. 5 March 2000.
Additional Sources Consulted
One non-documentary source contacted did
not provide information on the above subject
Unsuccessful attempts to contact two