Pakistan News : Beijing (UNN) Fleeing discrimination and violence, members of a Muslim sect have abandoned their homes in Pakistan to find an unlikely refuge in China.
Every day we heard the sound of guns,” informed Sated Ahmed, a family member who seeks refuge in China.
“We prayed every day, because we felt something could happen to us at any time.”
He is one of 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 Ahmadi Muslims.
They are among the most persecuted minorities in Pakistan a constitutional Islamic republic which bans them from calling themselves Muslims or going on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
In 2010 militants stormed two Ahmadi prayer halls, killing 82 worshipers in gun and grenade attacks, before targeting a hospital where victims were being treated. Ahmadi mosques and graveyards are regularly desecrated.
Even high-achieving Ahmadis have been shunned, including physics professor Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate.
China is regularly condemned by the US State Department for its restrictions on religious freedom, which analysts say are key elements of the tensions it faces in Buddhist-majority Tibet and mainly Muslim Xinjiang.
But Saeed, who arrived four years ago, said: “From a security point of view, China is good./UNN/E Pakistan News