LAHORE: Year 2015 proved to be another harsh year for Pakistan’s Ahmadiyya community.
According to an annual report of released by Jamaat-e-Ahmadia here on Monday, two members of the community were killed for their religious beliefs, a factory and several of their houses were burnt, and their social lives became tougher owing to the intense hate campaign against them through fiery speeches and publication of hate material.
So far 248 members have been killed because of their faith; 323 have been the victim of attempted murder; 27 worship places have been demolished; 32 have been sealed by the authorities and 16 illegally appropriated; 39 graves have been desecrated and the bodies of 65 have been refused burial in joint cemeteries. As a result, Ahmadis face insecurity in both life and death, the report concluded.
The report, which highlights the persecution of Ahmadis, said there was a significant increase in hate propaganda against the community. “The government agencies responsible for implementing the laws are being manipulated by opponents of the community,” spokesperson of Jamat-e-Ahmadia Saleemudin said. “Instead of upholding the law, they continue to cave into the demands of extremists.”
The spokesperson further said that a factory belonging to an Ahmadi was set ablaze last year on November 20 in Jehlum after a false accusation of blasphemy. “The homes of factory workers were also burned to the ground with the residents surviving the attack. The day after this incident a nearby place of worship of the community was attacked and desecrated in the presence of law enforcement authorities.”
“On the recommendation of the Punjab Mutahiddah Ulema Board, the Punjab government has banned various Ahmadi publications for so-called hate speech, without being able to provide evidence of where this inflammatory material appears. There is absolutely no truth to this claim,” he said.
“The very motto of our community is love for all, hatred for none,” Saleemudin said, claiming as of right now, even Ahmadis are being prevented from accessing their own religious books which goes against article 20 of the Constitution.
The community’s spokesperson further claimed that Ahmadis were discriminated against in local body elections on account of their faith after being included in a separate voters list. “The community made attempts to make clear their stance on the issue but all newspapers refused to publish a statement on their behalf,” he upheld.
The spokesperson asked peaceful citizens of Pakistan to encourage the government to end religious bigotry so that Pakistan can tread on the path to success and peace.