A mob of more than 1,000 people armed with batons, guns, and stones has reportedly attacked a mosque of the minority Muslim Ahmadiyah sect in Pakistan, prompting the provincial government to deploy the army to bring the situation under control.
On Monday, the mob, while chanting anti-Ahmadi slogans, attempted “to seize Ahmadiyah property,” declared Saleem-ud-Din, a spokesperson for Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya Pakistan, reports Dawn.
The Pakistani news outlet quotes Deputy Commissioner Chakwal Mahmood Javed Bhatti as saying that “the mob hurled stones and bricks at the place of worship before storming the building, adding that gunmen opened fire on Ahmadis in the area.”
Part of the Ahmadi mosque had been set ablaze, revealed Rashid Ahmad, a local police officer.
The Ahmadi spokesperson claimed that one individual was killed in the incident but was unable to identify the victim, reports Dawn, adding that no casualties have been officially reported.
Other Muslims consider followers of the Ahmadiyah sect to be heretics and blasphemers for designating their founder the messiah after the the Prophet Mohammed.
Citing the Ahmadiyah community spokesperson, Dawn reports that the “the [Ahmadi] place of worship located in the limits of the Chowas Saidan Shah police station area in Chakwal’s Dhalmial district was ‘attacked’ by nearly 1,000 people.”
The incident took place in Muslim-majority Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Law enforcement ultimately dispersed the crowd and secured the Ahmadi mosque.
The local police station told Dawn that the situation is currently under control, adding that police had not yet decided what action to take.
“As per details, a misunderstanding developed between the two groups. Home Department is vigilantly following up the issue,” the Punjab government reportedly noted on Twitter.
Some Ahmadis in Pakistan have requested additional security from their government.
“You are kindly requested to take adequate security measures to protect the life and properties and worship places of the Ahmadiyah community,” noted some Pakistani Ahmadis in a December 5 letter to their government, according to Dawn.
Members of the Christian minority in Pakistan have also been victims of violent harassment in recent months. The United States, Afghanistan, and India are constantly accusing Pakistan of serving as a sanctuary for Islamic extremist groups.