The Centre for Research and Security Studies reported that at least 65 people have been killed by anti-blasphemy vigilantes since 1990. According to the U.S. Commission on Interreligious Freedom, up to 80 people are imprisoned on blasphemy charges in Pakistan, and half of them face life in prison or the death penalty.
In 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan overturned the blasphemy conviction of Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman who was accused in 2009. Her initial conviction had also been upheld by the Lahore High Court.
The Ahmadi religious group self-identifies as Muslim, but many Muslims do not identify them as Muslim. The movement was founded in 1889 in British-ruled India. They consider their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a "subordinate prophet." Other Muslims see this as a violation of the tenet that Muhammad was the last prophet.
There are about 500,000 Ahmadis in Pakistan and up to 20 million adherents worldwide. Some observers estimate the Ahmadi population in Pakistan is higher, but persecution encourages Ahmadis to hide their identity.
Both government authorities and mobs have targeted their places of worship. In October 2019, police in Punjab partially demolished a 70-year-old Ahmadiyya mosque, according to the 2020 report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
In May Pakistan's government declined to include the Ahmadi religious group in its National Commission for Minorities.
In January 2020, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia wrote to Pakistan's prime minister on behalf of Philadelphia's Pakistani Catholic community, encouraging him to shape a culture of religious freedom in the country.