Lahore (AsiaNews) – Pakistani police bulldozers have demolished the perimeter wall of a cemetery belonging to the “blasphemous” Armadiya community, despite the fact that it had been built according to laws regulating privately bought property.
Local Ahmadis believe the operation was a result of a campaign started by extremist clerics and
Religious organisations that had said the fencing of the graveyard was an attempt to create a mini
city of Ahmadiya Community in Lahore.
According to intergralist Muslims, the Ahmadiya sect is heretical, in so far as it declares itself to be Muslim but does not recognise Mohammed as the last prophet; as a result the community is subjected to persecution, not only in Pakistan but also in Bangladesh and Indonesia.
On 15 April, a group of Mullahs signed a “contract” with the local population stating that they would not allow a “mini city of Ahmadis”. A statement released by the community reports that these Mullahs are from outside the area of Handu Gujjar [the Lahore quarter were the demolition occurred] which has always been a peaceful area with a high level of inter-communal harmony”.
Raja Ghalab Ahmad, secretary general, Lahore Ahamdiyya Community told AsiaNews: “It is a
common practice that people mark boundary walls to protect their open. No-one notified us of the demolition, because we are Ahmadis. It is clear to me that the government has caved in to fundamentalist pressure”.
Normally, he explains, “the local government provides lands for cemeteries. But since 1974 when
Ahmadis were declared non Muslims; this privilege has been denied our community, throughout the entire country. Where are we to bury our dead? We have bought our own land, but not even this has been sufficient. The boundary wall only served to indicate that it was our land”.