The first information report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was registered at Sialkot’s Qila Kalar Wala police station earlier today. The case was registered under Section 295-A (insulting religious beliefs) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
This comes despite a 2022 judgement of the Supreme Court, ruling that obstructing non-Muslims from practicing their religion within the confines of their place of worship was against the Constitution.
In the FIR, the complainant said that he was a resident of Daska and had travelled to Kot Agha on June 29 — the first day of Eidul Azha — in connection with communal sacrifice of animals.
He said that around 8:30am he saw that two members of the Ahmadi community were doing qurbani (sacrifice) on the street facing their haveli (mansion).
He said that the Ahmadi community were forbidden from performing Islamic rituals and called for taking action against them.
Earlier, at least five similar FIRs were registered across Punjab against the Ahmadi community members for sacrificing animals on Eidul Azha. All five cases were registered under Section 298-C of the PPC, which elaborates on the penalty for persons of the Ahmadi group calling themselves Muslim or preaching or propagating their faith.
Two of the cases were registered at the Saddar Gojra police station in Toba Tek Singh, while one each was registered at the Saddar Shahkot police station in Nankana Sahib, Roshanwala police station in Faisalabad and Badami Bagh police station in Lahore.
After the cases were registered, a suspect was arrested in Toba Tek Singh and another was picked up from Lahore’s Badami Bagh area.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), meanwhile, said it “strongly condemns the judicial harassment of the Ahmadi community, most recently in the shape of cases filed against them by individuals with far-right political links for engaging in ritual sacrifice during Eidul Azha”.
In its condemnation issued on Monday, the HRCP said, “No progressive society can afford to be held hostage to the whims of religious extremists in this manner.”
The commission also cited the 2022 SC judgement and demanded that all cases as those registered against members of the Ahmadi community over sacrificing animals on Eidul Azha must be immediately quashed.
The SC judgement, penned by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, said, “To deprive a non-Muslim (minority) of our country from holding his religious beliefs, to obstruct him from professing and practicing his religion within the four walls of his place of worship is against the grain of Constitution and repugnant to the spirit and character of Islamic Republic”.
The order stated: “It also deeply bruises and disfigures human dignity and the right to privacy of a non-Muslim minority, who like all other citizens of this country enjoy the same rights and protections under the Constitution.
“Bigoted behaviour towards our minorities paints the entire nation in poor colour, labelling us as intolerant, dogmatic and rigid. It is time to embrace our constitutional values and live up to our rich Islamic teachings and traditions of equality and tolerance.”
The verdict was issued in connection with a case registered against an Ahmadi community member for “styling their place of worship as a mosque and displaying Shaair-i-Islam on the walls inside their place of worship”.
Original post can be read HERE.