February 7th, 2022
By Ahmed Saeed
Some 45 graves were recently desecrated in Hafizabad, according to the spokesperson of the Ahmadiya community in Pakistan, who blamed the incident on an operation by the police in the darkness of the night.
In a talk on Monday afternoon, the Hafizabad police denied their involvement in the incident, whereas an earlier version had an unnamed police spokesperson admitting to the police involvement while responding to a question by the Voice of America.
According to this earlier response, the police had considered the razing of the graves necessary to maintain peace in the area.
The incident happened in a graveyard situated in the Premkot area on the night between Feb 4 and 5.
According to the spokesman, the police first approached the local leaders of the community and asked them to remove the gravestones which carried Islamic verses and thus enraging the local Muslim community.
Upon refusal by the Ahmadiya community to carry out the alleged directions, the police broke the ‘offensive’ gravestones, says the version which squarely identifies the law enforcers as the culprits here.
The spokesman said that earlier the police had told a court that removal of holy verses from graves would be an inappropriate act.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the alleged police action and demanded the govt to take action against the perpetrators.
Section 298-B of the PPC outlaws members of the Ahmadiyya community from the usage of epithets, descriptions and titles reserved for certain holy persons, while Section 298-C prohibits them to call or refer to their faith as ‘Islam’, or preach or propagate their faith. Violating these Sections is an offence punishable with a fine and imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years.
These Sections along with a few other amendments in the PPC and Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) were introduced by former military dictator General Zia ul Haq through a Presidential Ordinance known as the “Anti-Islamic Activities of Qadiani Group, Lahore Group and Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance 1984”.
After the promulgation of the 1984 ordinance, a number of Ahmadiyya worship places were desecrated and demolished by enraged mobs and sometimes by official authorities.
In April last year, Muzaffargarh police admitted to removing the tombstone from the graves belonging to the Ahmadiyya community.
According to Jamat Ahamdiya, at least 30 Ahmadi places of worship have been demolished since 1984 while 42 Ahmadi bodies are exhumed after burial.