September 26, 2023
An Ahmadiyya worship palace was attacked on Monday in Bedaadpur Wirkan near Muridke, Sheikhupura, adding yet another incident to 34 reported so far since the beginning of 2023.
According to details, this latest attack was carried out at night with the alleged support of Punjab Police. In the 34 attacks reported this year, around 15 were carried out by or with the complicty of the police.
“No other community has had to face this level of intolerance and bigotry. Yet, no other community has been accorded as little attention by the government, which is obligated to protect every citizen’s right to freedom of religion or belief,”
commented the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Monday.
Ahmadiyya community spokesperson, Amir Mehmood, has pointed out that following the Jaranwala incident, caretaker Prime Minister (PM) Anwar ul Haq Kakkar expressed his utmost commitment to standing by every religious community in Pakistan, vowing that anyone threatening their security would have to answer to the state.
However, Mehmood says that his community is still waiting on the caretaker PM to live up to his promises.
The HRCP stated that the Ahmadiyyas have faced unparalleled levels of discrimination and is appealing for the government to uphold its duty of safeguarding every citizen’s right to freedom of religion or belief. Despite this obligation, the community laments the lack of attention and protection afforded to them.
Earlier, on August 28, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) organized a protest outside the District Police Officer’s (DPO) office in Sheikhupura, mobilizing a crowd of what is purported to be thousands of supporters. The demonstrators issued a demand for the destruction of all minarets in Ahmadiyya places of worship across the district by the 11th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, or else they would take matters into their own hands.
The place of worship in Bedaadpur Wirkan was established prior to the enactment of Ordinance XX in 1984. The Lahore High Court on August 31 unequivocally ruled that Ahmadiyya places of worship built before this ordinance are legally protected, and any alterations or demolitions are prohibited.
HRCP spokesperson Maheen Pracha expressed that “Consistently, we have seen that far-right political parties instigate the desecration of Ahmadiyya sites of worship and browbeat the local police into razing minarets or other architectural features at these sites. The police, for their part, are often unaware of the law, which does not permit such desecration, including the recent Lahore High Court judgment prohibiting the forcible alteration of pre-1984 sites of worship.”
Pracha believes that if one is to guard against a repeat of the Jaranwala violence, not only must the government ensure that the civil administration provides ample security to Ahmadiyya graves and sites of worship, but also enhance the police’s capacity to deal with threats of mob violence in such situations.
“Local police must also take legal action against members of far-right groups that harass or intimidate members of the Ahmadiyya community,”