Graves of minority Ahmadis desecrated in Pakistan's Punjab: Community member

The local cleric had instigated the people against the Ahmaddiya graveyard

Graves of minority Ahmadis desecrated in Pakistan's Punjab: Community member

Photo for representation only. — Reuters

Lahore, July 16

The graves belonging to the minority Ahmadi community members have been allegedly desecrated by police following a protest by religious extremists in Pakistan's Punjab province, a member of an organisation representing the community said on Thursday.

Acting on a complaint lodged by cleric Muhammad Ikram that the Ahmadiyya community used Islamic symbols on gravestones at Tirigri village in Gujranwala, some 80 kms from Lahore, police removed them and warned it not to use the same in the future, Jamaat Ahmadiyya Punjab spokesperson Amir Mahmood told PTI.

Mahmood said that the police had desecrated minority community's graves at the behest of local clerics. 

He said this Ahmadiyya graveyard was established over 60 years ago and now religious zealots found issues with it. He said the local cleric had instigated the people against the Ahmaddiya graveyard.   

Mahmood said the local chapter of Ahmadiyya community was pressured by police to sign a permission to remove the symbols. 

"We have also given an undertaking that we will not use Islamic symbols as we are not allowed under the Constitution of Pakistan which declares Ahmadis non-Muslims,” he said.

He said while the state is trying to give the impression that Pakistan supports religious harmony and tolerance and on the other hand is following the desires of the extremists to carry out activities against a marginalized community. 

"The Ahmadis residing in Pakistan are not at peace even after their demise,” he regretted.

There had been a number of such incidents in different parts of Pakistan in which the graves of Ahmadi community members were desecrated by religious zealots in the past. 

Pakistan's Parliament in 1974 declared the Ahmadi community as non-Muslims. A decade later, they were banned from calling themselves Muslims. They are banned from preaching and from travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. 

In Pakistan, around 10 million out of the 220 million population are non-Muslims.

According to the 2017 census, Hindus constitute the largest religious minority in Pakistan. Christians make up the second largest religious minority.

The Ahmadis, Sikhs and Parsis are also among the notable religious minorities in Pakistan. PTI

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