The persecution of the Ahmadi community continues as it is being reported that at least five first information reports (FIRs) have been registered across Punjab against the Ahmadi community for sacrificing animals on Eid ul Azha. The nature of the cases can be likened to a witch hunt where people seem to be going out of their way to be offended and it shows how insecurity and intolerance continues to increasingly make life difficult for minorities in the country.

The complaints have been registered under Section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which elaborates on the penalty for a person of the Ahmadi group calling themselves a Muslim or preaching or propagating their faith. This comes despite a 2022 judgement of the Supreme Court, ruling that obstructing non-Muslims from practising their religion within the confines of their place of worship was against the Constitution.

Most of the FIRs are regarding hearsay incidents of Ahmadi citizens preparing to or planning to sacrifice animals. It is unfortunate to see how in some incidents even police officials are part of these complaints, which sends the message that the guardians are not there for everyone’s security, not for the persecuted minorities at least. One of the FIR was registered on the complaint of a Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) worker, a group that has now mainstreamed into a political and vigilante force. We have allowed such groups to propagate their narratives in the past and have suffered for it, and we continue to do the same today.

These are baseless cases as a result of which the Ahmadi community has spent this year’s Eid in fear. The Supreme Court judgment referenced above points out clearly that depriving a minority member from holding his religious beliefs, and obstructing him from professing and practicing his religion in his/her privacy is against the grain of our democratic Constitution and repugnant to the spirit and character of our Islamic Republic. It is important to remember that such bigoted behaviour towards our minorities paints the entire nation in poor colour, labelling us as intolerant, dogmatic and rigid.

Original post can be read HERE.

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