September 20, 2023
On Wednesday, Shia and Sunni residents of a village in Sheikhupura issued a joint statement to the police, emphasizing that Ahmadiyya worship places should not be demolished and their sanctity be preserved.
The statement was submitted in light of an increasing number of attacks on the Ahmadiyya community’s places of worship since the beginning of the year. A total of 54 people signed the statement, which reads,
“We, residents of Kartu, district Sheikhupura; Sunnis, Shiites, and Ahmadis live together with harmony and peace in this village.”
The statement provides that the Ahmadiyya worship place in Kartu village was built in 1963, prior to the ordinance of 1984, and that the area’s residents do not take issue with the building’s architecture. Moreover, demolishing the arch of the place of worship will cause hurt to the locals’ sentiments.
The applicants included a copy of Lahore High Court Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh’s ruling, which deemed the destruction of pre-1984 Ahmadiyya worship places unlawful.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya community Amir Mehmood said,
“It is not that all of society is aggressive, but there is certainly a specific group, the TLP (Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan) that incites violence in the name of religion.”
He further added that Kartu village’s move to maintain peace is a message of hope.
In Other Places The Story Is The Same
In a separate, distressing recurrence, an Ahmadiyya place of worship on Martin Road, Karachi, fell victim to another attack on Thursday, between 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM. A group of eight to ten assailants gained access to the premises using a ladder, causing significant damage to the worship place.
The attack resulted in substantial damage to various articles within the building, including windows, glass and wooden doors, security cameras, LED screens, tables, and chairs. Pictures of the religious leader of the Ahmadiyya community as well as its present head were also damaged.
Although authorities were alerted promptly, the assailants managed to flee the scene, leaving behind the ladder used for access. Mehmood stated that efforts are currently underway to ensure that the case is registered and a thorough investigation is conducted.
This incident marks the fifth attack on an Ahmadiyya place of worship in Karachi within a span of nine months.
This is the second attack on the same worship place: on January 18, 2023, a group of eight to ten assailants damaging the building, including toppling its minarets and destroying religious symbols. Despite the Ahmadiyya community filing a case at the Jamshaid Quarters police station under FIR No. 29/23, no substantive action was taken.
“If decisive action had been taken against these extremists earlier, these series of tragic incidents in Karachi could potentially have been averted,”
Facing continuous persecution, the Ahmadiyya community has called for urgent attention to this escalating issue, and urged the authorities to ensure the safety and security of all religious communities in the city.
Amir Mehmood shared with Voicepk.net that despite recent statements by the caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakkar in favour of the Ahmadiyya community, no real action has been taken to secure any protection for them.
“He has said very progressive things, but it would only help us if they were applied and practised,” he said.