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Pakistan’s non-Muslim minorities have no faith in democracy

  • This Saturday, May 4, 2013 photo shows homeless Hindus sleeping in a shrine cared for by Pakistani Hindu Omparkarh Narian, 55, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Minority Hindus in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Hindus are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Saturday, May 4, 2013 photo shows homeless Hindus sleeping in a shrine cared for by Pakistani Hindu Omparkarh Narian, 55, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Minority Hindus in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Hindus are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows angry Pakistani Christians protesting the beating of a young Christian boy belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows angry Pakistani Christians protesting the beating of a young Christian boy belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows angry Pakistani Christians protesting the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows angry Pakistani Christians protesting the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Ahmedi praying at a heavily fortified mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Ahmedi praying at a heavily fortified mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Shiite worshipper at a shrine in Jhang, Pakistan. Minority Shiites in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them because they fear Sunni radicals, who have targeted Shiites, could gain political strength. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Shiite worshipper at a shrine in Jhang, Pakistan. Minority Shiites in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them because they fear Sunni radicals, who have targeted Shiites, could gain political strength. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows party workers of a radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), hanging an election poster of their leader Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi outside their mosque in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows party workers of a radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), hanging an election poster of their leader Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi outside their mosque in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian woman peering out from inside a church as angry Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian woman peering out from inside a church as angry Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani policeman leaving his makeshift compound outside the Christian community after angry Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani policeman leaving his makeshift compound outside the Christian community after angry Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Ahmedi guards protecting an Ahmedi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Ahmedi guards protecting an Ahmedi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian peering from the rooftop as Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian peering from the rooftop as Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a man passing the flag of the radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), hanging in their mosque in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like ASWJ. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a man passing the flag of the radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), hanging in their mosque in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like ASWJ. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, who heads the radical Sunni party Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, who heads the radical Sunni party Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani policemen leaving a Christian community after angry Christians protested the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani policemen leaving a Christian community after angry Christians protested the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Ahmedi praying in their mosque which displays the Arabic language sign saying 'in the name of god, people are praying' in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Ahmedi praying in their mosque which displays the Arabic language sign saying 'in the name of god, people are praying' in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows workers of the radical Sunni party Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) led by Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows workers of the radical Sunni party Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) led by Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Christian Barber Elias, 25, injured when he was beaten by radical Muslims in the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Christian Barber Elias, 25, injured when he was beaten by radical Muslims in the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian woman crying during a protest by angry Christians after the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian woman crying during a protest by angry Christians after the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Shiite worshipper at a shrine in Jhang, Pakistan. Minority Shiites in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them because they fear Sunni radicals, who have targeted Shiites, could gain political strength. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Shiite worshipper at a shrine in Jhang, Pakistan. Minority Shiites in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them because they fear Sunni radicals, who have targeted Shiites, could gain political strength. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian repairing his home destroyed by mobs of radical Muslims in Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan.  Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian repairing his home destroyed by mobs of radical Muslims in Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Saturday, May 4, 2013 photo shows Hindu man getting ready for prayers at shrine in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Minority Hindus in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Hindus are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Saturday, May 4, 2013 photo shows Hindu man getting ready for prayers at shrine in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Minority Hindus in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Hindus are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Sunday, April 28, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Christian worshippers at a Sunday service in a Christian colony in Islamabad, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Sunday, April 28, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Christian worshippers at a Sunday service in a Christian colony in Islamabad, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows the minaret of a mosque belonging to the radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like ASWJ. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows the minaret of a mosque belonging to the radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like ASWJ. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Ahmedi praying in his mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Ahmedi praying in his mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

  • This Saturday, May 4, 2013 photo shows homeless Hindus sleeping in a shrine cared for by Pakistani Hindu Omparkarh Narian, 55, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Minority Hindus in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Hindus are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows angry Pakistani Christians protesting the beating of a young Christian boy belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows angry Pakistani Christians protesting the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Ahmedi praying at a heavily fortified mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Shiite worshipper at a shrine in Jhang, Pakistan. Minority Shiites in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them because they fear Sunni radicals, who have targeted Shiites, could gain political strength. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows party workers of a radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), hanging an election poster of their leader Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi outside their mosque in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian woman peering out from inside a church as angry Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani policeman leaving his makeshift compound outside the Christian community after angry Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Ahmedi guards protecting an Ahmedi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian peering from the rooftop as Pakistani Christians protest the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a man passing the flag of the radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), hanging in their mosque in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like ASWJ. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, who heads the radical Sunni party Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani policemen leaving a Christian community after angry Christians protested the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Ahmedi praying in their mosque which displays the Arabic language sign saying 'in the name of god, people are praying' in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows workers of the radical Sunni party Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) led by Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like Ludhianvi's. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Christian Barber Elias, 25, injured when he was beaten by radical Muslims in the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian woman crying during a protest by angry Christians after the beating of a young Christian man belonging to the Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Shiite worshipper at a shrine in Jhang, Pakistan. Minority Shiites in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them because they fear Sunni radicals, who have targeted Shiites, could gain political strength. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Christian repairing his home destroyed by mobs of radical Muslims in Joseph Colony in Lahore, Pakistan.  Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Saturday, May 4, 2013 photo shows Hindu man getting ready for prayers at shrine in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Minority Hindus in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Hindus are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Sunday, April 28, 2013 photo shows Pakistani Christian worshippers at a Sunday service in a Christian colony in Islamabad, Pakistan. Minority Christians in Pakistan have little hope that the May 11, 2013 general elections will help them. Christians are part of the four percent of Pakistanis who belong to minority religions.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo shows the minaret of a mosque belonging to the radical Sunni group Ahle Sunat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) in Jhang, Pakistan. Minorities fear the May 11, 2013 general elections will give strength to radical Sunni groups like ASWJ. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • This Tuesday, April 30, 2013 photo shows a Pakistani Ahmedi praying in his mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Ahmedis are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet followed Mohammed, defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed is the last prophet. Ahmedis worry the May 11, 2013 general elections will strengthen radical Islamists. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

I n majority Muslim Pakistan, religious minorities say democracy is killing them.

Intolerance has been on the rise for the past five years under Pakistan’s democratically elected government because of the growing violence of Islamic radicals, who are then courted by political parties, say many in the country’s communities of Shiite Muslims, Christians, Hindus and other minorities.

Today, the country will elect a new parliament, marking the first time one elected government is replaced by another in the 66-year history of Pakistan. But minorities are not celebrating. Some of the fiercest Islamic extremists are candidates in the vote, and minorities say even the mainstream political parties pander to radicals to get votes, often campaigning side-by-side with well-known militants.

More than a dozen representatives of Pakistan’s minorities interviewed by The Associated Press expressed fears the vote will only hand more influence to extremists. Since the 2008 elections, under the outgoing government led by the left-leaning Pakistan People’s Party, sectarian attacks have been relentless and minorities have found themselves increasingly targeted by radical Islamic militants. Minorities have little faith the new election will change that.

“We are always opposed to martial law (but) during all the military regimes, the law and order was better and there was good security for minorities,” said Amar Lal, a lawyer and human rights activist for Pakistan’s Hindu community.

About 96 percent of Pakistan’s population of 180 million is Muslim. Most are Sunni, but according to the CIA Factbook 10 to 15 percent are members of the Shiite sect. The remaining 4 percent are adherents to other religions such as Christians, Hindus and Ahmedis – a sect reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics because they believe a prophet came after Muhammad, defying a basic tenet of Islam that Muhammad was the last prophet. Sunni radicals view Shiite Muslims as apostates.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in a report last month berated the Pakistani government for its poor record of protecting both its minorities and its majority Sunni Muslims and recommended that Pakistan be put on a list of worst offenders, which could jeopardize billions of dollars in U.S. assistance.

Lal said that in the past three years, 11,000 Hindus living in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province have migrated to India because they were worried about security and frustrated by kidnappings and forced conversions of young Hindu girls to Islam.

Pakistan’s Christian communities have complaints as well. In March, a mob of young Muslims stormed and set fire to nearly 150 homes and shops in the Joseph Christian Colony, a Christian enclave on the outskirts of Lahore, the capital of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province .

“We do not have any hope in elections,” said Salim Gabriel, a self-declared social worker for Christians and colony resident. “Dictatorship is better for minorities.”

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