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Ahmadis to seek refuge in China

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Beijing: A considerable amount of oppressed Ahmadis have to abandon their houses in Pakistan to find shelter in China.

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A 37 year old member of the community while talking to media expressed how they are compelled to leave their home town.

“Every day I heard the sound of guns, we prayed every day, because we felt something could happen to us at any time.”

The 37 year old Saeed, who arrived China 4 years ago, said, “From a security point of view, China is good. There is almost no terrorism compared to Pakistan, where there is killing and persecutions of minorities every day.” He also revealed that two of his cousins were killed in the 2010 attacks.

He is among those hundreds of people who have sought asylum in China in recent years, often from conflict and violence-stricken countries including Iraq and Somalia. The government tolerates their presence but provides almost no support, while human rights groups have, for years, condemned Beijing for deporting tens of thousands of asylum seekers who enter it to escape oppression in North Korea and Myanmar. Around 35 of the almost 500 UN-registered asylum seekers and refugees currently in China are from the Ahmadi sect. They are among the most persecuted minorities in Pakistan, which has banned them from calling themselves Muslims or going on Hajj pilgrimage.

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Meanwhile, in 2010, militants stormed two Ahmadi prayer halls, killing 82 worshippers in gun and grenade attacks, before targeting a hospital where victims were being treated. Ahmadi places of worship and graveyards are regularly desecrated. Even highly-achievers, if they belong to the aforesaid sect, have been shunned, including Professor Abdus Salam who won the only Noble prize for Pakistan.

On the other hand, while taking refuge in China, they are feeling much relieved than Pakistan, however, they have to pay more than twice as compared to Pakistan in order to be accommodated in China. A number of the members of minority sect expressed their thoughts and views about current transitional phase of their lives. A teenager Laiba Ahmad, who arrived two years ago with her mother and several siblings, had no doubts, even though she does not have enough Chinese to attend school.

“I am happy here compared with Pakistan. Pakistan was dangerous. We could not go outside without our brothers and fathers, if you are a woman especially, “she said.

Though, it was a critical and somewhat harsh decision to take, yet it was inevitable for these minorities; and they are much happier on the whole.

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