Lahore, Sep 8 (PTI) The arches of a worship place of the Ahmadi community were destroyed by the police in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Friday, in defiance of a high court order banning such actions against the places of worship of the minority community built before 1984.
“The Lahore police blocked the street from both sides in Shahdara Town and deployed labour to demolish the Arch of a worship place there,” Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan official Amir Mahmood told PTI on Friday.
He said around 20 policemen arrived at the Ahmadiyya place of worship in Lahore’s Shahdara Town, demanding that the Ahmadis themselves demolish the arches there, or the police would do it.
“We informed the police about the decision of the Lahore High Court that the places of worship of the Ahmadi community, which were built before the 1984 law, should not be demolished or altered,” Mahmood said.
“We explained that this place of worship was constructed before 1947 and police should follow the court’s order in this regard, but to no avail. The police, apparently under the pressure of radical Islamists, demolished the arch,” he said.
According to the police, the Ahmadi community of the town was asked to demolish the arch of worship places as it was creating a law and order situation in the area. On non-compliance, the arch was demolished, police added.
In August, 10 Ahmadi worship places came under attack in the country in which either their minarets, arch or sacred writings were demolished or removed.
The radical Islamists of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) are reportedly at the forefront of stoking hatred against Ahmadis and demanding police action against their worship places.
The Ahmadi community says it has become common practice for the police to pressurise the minority community to desecrate their worship places instead of protecting them. The police action fulfils the desire of extremist elements, it says.
“The situation is becoming worse day by day for the already marginalised Ahmadis in Pakistan. They are facing persecution at the hands of the evil elements. The acts of desecrating the minarets of the places of worship in various areas of Pakistan, especially Punjab, continue unabated. It is a new norm, and the authorities are doing nothing,” Mahmood said.
Ahmadis are usually referred to as Qadianis in Pakistan, which is considered a derogatory term for them.
Pakistan’s Parliament in 1974 declared the Ahmadi community as non-Muslims. A decade later, they were banned from calling themselves Muslims. They are banned from preaching and from travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.
Although the number of Ahmadis in Pakistan is around a million, unofficial figures put their population much higher.
In Pakistan, around 10 million people out of the 220 million population are non-Muslims. The minorities in conservative Muslim-majority Pakistan often complain of harassment by the extremists. PTI MZ GRS AKJ GRS GRS.
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