In the recent census 2017 of Pakistan the registration of population has been revived in all provinces, federal territories as well as Jammu and Kashmir and other federally administered areas of Pakistan. The voter lists are to be updated on the basis of census 2017 which will enlist Ahmadis in separate lists. Subsequently it is more likely that Ahmadis are to stay out of Kashmir polls that is, for not being able to self identify their faith.
Ahmadis in Pakistan after 1974 do not cast vote due to the reason, the separate voter lists for them which is a state’s discrimination against its citizen. This polling walk out by Ahmadis was not there in Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
This new change in demography and politics of region is going to aggravate the already prevent inter-community tensions and discrimination against Ahmadis. Ahmadi voters who are thousands in number had a voice in past on political grounds. There are a number of incidents in which Ahmadis enjoyed political support which otherwise would have resulted into worse outcomes. Block E of New city Mirpur AJK is one such example which is an area with 100% Ahmadis population.
In 2015, there were tensions in region as Sunni Muslims wanted to stop the construction of Ahmadiyya worship place to which local political persons intervened and made sure the building was completed. In 2016 the same block was visited by Chaudhary Abdul Majeed then prime minister of AJK as a part of his election campaign.
Besides this sector Ahmadis in other parts of Kashmir had enjoyed support from local politicians keeping in mind the potential vote bank. Malik Nawaz, the MLA from district Kotli had supported the local Ahmadiyya community in the past.
This recent step of putting Ahmadis into separate voting lists is on one hand applauded by Sunni Tehreek and other local pro-Sunni outfits but on the other hand is seen by critics as a step backward towards state’s minorities’ suppression.
Ahmadis are likely to stay out of Kashmir polls for this state’s discrimination and subsequently their voice in Kashmir politics is at the risk of being suppressed further.