Population: 183,343,000


Minority Population: 1.6 % Hindues whereas Christians constitute 1.9%


But according to Government reports Hindues make up 1.2% and the Christians (Protestants and Catholic) constitute 1.9% of the population. There was a small number of Jews too in Pakistan who supposedly seems to have left the country.


The Shia sect constitute about 10-12% of the total population among which 900000 happen to be Ismailis, the sect of the Shia’s who pay tribute to their living spiritual leader Aga Khan. Then there are smaller groups as the Ahmadis who constitute about 286000 people, Christians being 209000, Hindues being 103000, Paris, Buddhists and Sikhs constituting 60000 people together. The Bahai community also constitutes 50000-100000 population.


Facebook rumors trigger communal violence in Pakistan: Mob Kills Three Minority Muslims


A violent mob in Pakistan’s Gujranwala town burned down several homes belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect killing a woman and her two granddaughters in riots following rumors about blasphemous postings on Facebook. The rioting erupted after claims that an Ahmadi had posted a blasphemous photo of the Kaaba, the sacred structure in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia that faithful Muslims around the world face while praying five times a day. Police official Zeeshan Siddiqi said that the photo allegedly contained nudity.


The victims died of suffocation due to burning of houses, while another woman suffered a miscarriage during the riots and was admitted in hospital. Like other minorities in Pakistan as Christians, Hindu and Sikhs, Ahmadis have long been persecuted by Islamic extremists. They are the followers of a self-proclaimed prophet Ghulam Ahmad and consider themselves Muslims though Pakistani law forbids them from identifying themselves as Muslims.


In May 2014 also two Ahmadis including a visiting U.S doctor were shot dead by extremists. Siddiqi said the Gujranwala incident started with the son of Maulvi saying that an Ahmadi boy had posted the Kaaba photo on Facebook. A mob then followed the boy leading to violence around that also injured the Maulvi’s son. Pakistani TV channels aired footage showing a mob armed with sticks, cheering outside Ahmadi houses set on fire in Gujranwala.


Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Pakistan and those convicted of it can get life sentences or the death penalty. However, mobs take the law into their own hands and neither the offender nor mobs are punished for breaking the law. Witnesses mostly happen to be reluctant to testify in defense of the accused people fearing they could also be targeted.


In May, gunmen in the city of Multan killed a lawyer and a human rights activist who was representing a university professor on trial for blasphemy. The professor is also accused of posting blasphemous material at Facebook. Blasphemy cases, have been on the rise in Pakistan of late and have been also used to settle personal scores.

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