LAHORE: Pakistan's minority Ahmadiyya community on Monday lashed out at Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Swati for spearheading a "hate campaign" against it in the backdrop of the opening of the Kartarpur corridor.
A persecuted minority sect, the Ahmadiyya community was declared non-Muslims in Pakistan through a constitutional amendment in 1974. A decade later, they were banned from calling themselves Muslims. Members of the community in Pakistan have often been targeted, including in terror attacks.
During a talk show on a private television channel last week, Swati said that he and Prime Minister Imran Khan both "send curse" upon Qadianiyat.
"We ask Prime Minister Khan is this official point of view of the government of Pakistan...?" Ahmadiyya community spokesperson Saleemuddin said in a statement here on Monday.
He asked Prime Minister Khan to clarify his position on the issue.
Khan often boasts about his government's commitment regarding protecting the rights of minorities in the country.
There has been propaganda on the social media that the Khan government opened the Kartarpur corridor to facilitate Ahmadis as their holy place Qadian - the birthplace of Ahmadiyya movement founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad - is located a few kilometres in India from that corridor.
The Kartarpur corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur.
Saleemuddin condemned the remarks made by the federal minister in the strongest words and said that on one side the government is inaugurating Kartarpur corridor to give a message to the world that this government is making lives of minorities easy in Pakistan but on the other hand its own ministers are using disgusting language against a peace-loving community.
The spokesperson said that this whole hate campaign is deliberately orchestrated and it is part of a well thought out plan.
"This hate campaign can result into increase in violence against the Ahmadi community that is already persecuted and vulnerable. It is the responsibility of the government to stop this vicious hate campaign against it," he said.
Former military dictator Gen Zia-ul Haq had made it a punishable offence for Ahmadiyyas to call themselves Muslims or to refer to their faith as Islam.
The community is banned from preaching as well as from travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.