PAKISTAN: Violence against the Ahmadi community continues with the collusion of the police and authorities of Punjab province
Once again violence against the Ahmadi community has erupted in Punjab province. As the election are approaching (May 11) this recent outburst is seen as an attempt to influence the voters to support fundamentalists and right wing parties.
On 28th April 2013 supporters of Khatme Nabuwwat (the movement against the Ahmadi sect of Islam) raided an Ahmadi Prayer Centre in Gulshan-e-Ravi, Lahore, and shouted abusive slogans against the Founder of the Community and members were threatened horribly. Later, the Police arrived and instead of protecting the Ahmadis and securing their safety and their freedom to worship, they entered the Ahmadi Centre premises forcefully and searched the whole place without producing any legal authority to do so. The Police ravaged the Community's library taking away most of the books and arrested eight people including a woman and a 12-year-old child. They were taken to the Gulshan-e-Ravi Police Station followed by the ringleaders of the mob where First Information Report was registered on the basis of false accusations.
The mob was led by the brother of a top Pakistani Muslim cleric in the company of some police officers. At the time of the attack some 40 Ahmadis were in the mosque when the attackers, excited to violence and led by Hasan Mavia, the brother of Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, and a local leader of a political party, PML-N, arrived with the policemen.
Allama Tahir Ashrafi is the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council (the organization of Islamic scholars) and his younger brother, Hasan Mavia is a well known campaigner against the Ahmadis. The PML-N local leader, Abdul Aziz, is also an activist of the Khatme Nabuwwat.
The arrested Ahmadis were accused of possessing blasphemous material. The police later released the woman and child and registered a case against the men. This is the second such incident this month in Lahore. Earlier an FIR was registered under Sections 295-B, 295-C of the PPC and Section-11W of the Anti Terrorism Act on April 12 at Islampura police station against the Editor of a traditional Ahmadiyya Newspaper, Al Fazl. The editor and his staff were arrested in Lahore and houses belonging to Ahmadis were raided. Members of the community were dragged out into the streets, assaulted, arrested and prosecuted. This spate of venomous persecution against Ahmadis is continuing under the very eyes of the law enforcing authorities of Pakistan and it is most evident that they are atrocious, pre-planned acts of hatred, harassment, humiliation and assault against the Ahmadis communities.
This appalling incident is one of a series of hate crimes that have been going on in Lahore and the suburbs for quite some time. Unfortunately, the Police in every incident act against the Ahmadis and support the opponents, actually assisting them in their abominable acts of violence. It should be noted that the Islamic edict (the Kalimah) has been wiped off from various Ahmadiyya Prayer Centres and even the Ahmadi graves in the cemeteries have not been spared desecration. The tombstones have been destroyed and the inscriptions on the tombstones have been destroyed.
The Asian Human Rights Commission, once again, appeals to the international community to confront Pakistan in order that the government respects its obligations to observe and enforce the fundamental requirements of safety, security and universal freedoms of faith, belief and practice particularly where Ahmadis are concerned. At a time when Pakistan is preparing for a general election to establish a democratic government, Pakistan should appreciate, enforce and strengthen the very pillars of democracy.
The AHRC has written numerous statements, articles and Urgent Appeals on the issue of violence against the Ahmadi community. For further information please refer to the following:
Further information may be found at our website: http://www.humanrights.asia/