Religious extremists desecrate Ahmadi graves in Pakistan

Minorities, especially Ahmadis, are very vulnerable in Pakistan and they are often targeted by religious extremists. Former military dictator Gen Zia-ul Haq made it a punishable offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims or to refer to their faith as Islam

NewsDrum Desk
29 Nov 2022
Religious extremists desecrate Ahmadi graves in Pakistan

Lahore: Several graves belonging to Ahmadis have been allegedly desecrated by religious extremists in Pakistan's Punjab province, a spokesman for the minority community said on Tuesday.

Jamaat Ahmadiya Pakistan official Amir Mahmood told PTI that the tombstones of the graves were desecrated at Prem Kot graveyard in Hafizabad district, some 100 kilometres from Lahore.

He said that those who damaged the graves also wrote "Ahmadi dog" on them, which is very distressing for the families.

"The Ahmadis living in Pakistan are not at peace even after their demise. The Ahmadis are not safe in their graves," he said.

Mahmood demanded the arrest of those involved in the desecration of graves of the minority community.

In the past also, such incidents have taken place in other Ahmadi graveyards in Punjab but not a single culprit was arrested or put on trial.

In August this year, 16 graves of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan's Punjab province were allegedly desecrated by religious extremists for using Islamic symbols on gravestones at a cemetery in Chak 203 RB Manawala, Faisalabad district, some 150 kilometres from Lahore.

Minorities, especially Ahmadis, are very vulnerable in Pakistan and they are often targeted by religious extremists. Former military dictator Gen Zia-ul Haq made it a punishable offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims or to refer to their faith as Islam.

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 (5 million) in Pakistan. Christians make up the second largest religious minority, with almost the same number (4.5 million) and their concentration is mostly in urban Sindh, Punjab and parts of Balochistan.

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

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