06/21/2024, 15.15
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No Eid for Ahmadis: arrests and bans in Punjab

by Shafique Khokhar

Police is backing extremist groups attacking the Ahmadiyya community. Several arrests were made before Eid even though Pakistani law guarantees Ahmadis religious freedom in their own homes. For Ahmadi spokesman Amir Mahmood, the community’s fundamental human rights are being violated.


Punjab (AsiaNews) – Violence against Pakistan’s Ahmadiyya community (about 2 per cent of the population) did not take time off for the Eid-al-Adha holiday.

Ahmadis, whose movement emerged in the Punjab in the late 19th century, are deemed heretical by other Muslims; for this reason, police and extremist groups have prevented them from making the traditional animal sacrifice and performing rituals even inside private homes.

The day before Eid, police arrested seven Ahmadis and seized their animals, a clear but regular pattern of violation of Ahmadi human rights, not to mention rulings by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

On the day of Eid, some clerics approached a Hindu student at Namal University in Islamabad and forced him to eat beef, proposing he accept Islam.

The authorities have also undertaken extra-judicial actions such detaining Ahmadis, forcing them to take out surety bonds, in order to hinder their rituals, in clear violation of Article 20 of the Pakistani Constitution and the judgment of 12 January 2022 by a two-member panel of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which grants Ahmadis freedom to practice their faith in private places.

Instead, this year saw a spike in acts of hate and violence against Ahmadis during Qurbāni, the ritual animal sacrifice during Eid al-Adha rite.

The seven arrests took place on Sunday. One man, Nadeem, is a resident of Daska, Sialkot district, another hails from Khokar ki, Gujranwala district, while the other five are from Motra, Sialkot district.

Police broke into the home of one Ahmadi in Railway Colony, Lahore, harassing his family, and that of another in Lodhi Nangal, Faisalabad district. But the list of such incidents could go on.

The authorities are relentless in harassing Ahmadis. In Quaidabad, the assistant commissioner of police imposed a ban on Ahmadis performing the ritual sacrifice, in accordance with a letter issued by the Punjab Home Department the previous year.

Similarly, the sub-divisional magistrate in Mirpur, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, issued an order that no Ahmadi may perform any kind of animal sacrifice during the three days of Eid-al-Adha.

Instead of protecting Ahmadis from harassment and violence, police summoned Ahmadi leaders to various police stations, threatening them that if any Ahmadi is found practicing Qurbāni or reciting Eid prayers, they would be attacked by the extremist Tehreek-e-Labaaik (TLP) party.

While freedom of worship in private homes is theoretically guaranteed by Pakistani law, police persecute Ahmadis rather than protect them on behalf of extremist right-wing groups. As a result, Ahmadis feel completely abandoned and vulnerable.

Speaking for the Ahmadiyya community, Amir Mahmood lamented the support police provides extremist groups in the name of religion, calling it a serious violation of fundamental human rights.

For him, the extremist mindset is tainting Pakistan’s reputation and should be eradicated. What is more, Ahmadis arrested on the occasion of the Eid holiday should be immediately released and measures taken to ensure their religious freedom.

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