02/09/2022, 00.00
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Fifty Ahmadi graves desecrated in Hafizabad

by Shafique Khokhar

The Muslim extremists who attacked the graves over inscribed Qurʼānic verses also threatened to destroy Ahmadi homes. This followed blasphemy complaints against the Ahmadiyya. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, such incidents are becoming “almost routine”.

Hafizabad (AsiaNews) – Some 50 Ahmadi tombs were desecrated by police and Muslim clerics last Sunday at the Ahmadiyya cemetery in Premkot, about 110 km from Lahore.

Built in 1974, the cemetery contains graves with Islamic Ahmadi writings and symbols that are different from those of mainstream Islam.

A group of extremists destroyed the graves with inscribed Qurʼānic verses and threatened to destroy the homes of local Ahmadis as well if they did not remove Islamic inscriptions from their houses as well.

Reacting to the incident, the press section of Jama’at Ahmadiyya Pakistan tweeted: “The persecution carried out against the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan is not only limited to those who are alive, but the Ahmadis that have passed away are also not safe in their graves.”

For Aamir Mahmood, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community in Punjab, the police action against the Ahmadi community in Pakistan is a violation of basic human rights.

Prior to the incident, advocates Amir Nazir, Mehr Asif, Ali Raza and others had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Ahmadis under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws for writing Islamic verses on the graves. The police rejected their application.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) tweeted that it was “appalled to learn that some 45 Ahmadiyya graves were desecrated allegedly by the Hafizabad police in Premkot. Such acts are becoming almost routine, leaving members of the Ahmadiyya community as beleaguered in death as they are in life.

It added: “The desecration of graves is an affront to human dignity and must not be permitted. If the government is sincere in its bid to make Pakistan a more inclusive society, it must counter and punish all such acts.”

On social media, various activists have launched a campaign against the desecration of graves, urging the authorities to take immediate measures to protect religious minorities.

The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in British India in the late 19th century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to be the Mahdi, the messiah Muslims expect to come at the end of time.

Among mainstream Muslim circles and other religious communities, he is considered a heretic.

in 1974, the Pakistani parliament declared the Ahmadi community non-Muslim. A decade later they were banned from calling themselves Muslims, preaching or going to Saudi Arabia for the hajj, the traditional pilgrimage Muslims are asked to do at least once in their lifetime.

In Pakistan about 10 million people out of a population of 220 million are non-Muslims. Two Christian pastors were attacked a week ago, one of whom later died.

According to many local residents, the desecration of the cemetery, yet another gesture of intolerance in a turbulent political climate, raises important questions about the safety of minorities in the country.

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