Police destroyed 45 Ahmadiyya tombstones in District Hafizabad, Punjab

Premkot, District Hafizabad; 4/5 February 2022: A police contingent accompanied by a few laborers destroyed 45 Ahmadiyya tombstones in the local graveyard, on demand of opponents of the Ahmadiyya community.

            The Ahmadiyya Press Section SAA tweeted: “The illegal act taken by the @DHafizabad Police against the Ahmadiyya Community is not only an act of violation of Human Rights, but also it is an act that has further dimmed the face of our beloved country Pakistan in the eyes of the international community.”

            A few of the destroyed tombstones carried no Islamic words whatsoever; still these did not escape police outrage. Tombstones put up even before 1974 (nearly half a century ago) were not spared, despite their historic value.

            A few months ago, a local anti-Ahmadi activist Omar Hayat wrote to DPO Hafizabad against pious and Islamic writings on Ahmadi homes and graves. Ahmadis have built their place of worship like a mosque, the bigot complained. He also put up a writ in the Sessions Court, which the judge disposed off on November 22, 2021.

            The miscreants agitated the issue once again in January this year. The DSP Sadar sent for the president of the local Ahmadi community and told him to efface all those writings that had been covered two months earlier with plates, and report compliance to the police. Ahmadis told him that they do not efface scriptural writings and referred to the verdict of the Sessions Judge. The DSP paid no attention to that and threatened: “Wait till a procession will come out, will set your homes on fire and burn you all as was done in Peoples Colony, Gujranwala (where three Ahmadis died), then the Sessions Judge will come to save you.” He also threatened Ahmadis with being booked under PPC 295-C (penalty death).

A few days thereafter, the police itself undertook the sacrilege. In the meantime, an activist of TLP, who was drunk, beat up a servant of the Ahmadi District Amir. At another occasion, he hurled abuse against Ahmadis outside the Amir’s residence and beat up Mr. Akhlaq Ahmad, an Ahmadi. The police were informed of these violations of communal peace, but they apparently took no formal notice.

            Voice of America initially reported the incident, but for reasons, removed it from the website and pointed it again with additional information on dour 21.global.set.fastly.net/a/Ahmadi-grave-desecrated-by-punjab-police-in-hafizabad-07feb2022/6930498.htmb. We produce below some extracts from the same that report the official response:

  • According to the police spokesman the actions taken on 4/5 February night were necessary to maintain law and order in the area.
  • DC Hafizabad told VOA that this issue was discussed a few days earlier in the District Intelligence Committee and they deliberated on its legal aspects. According to him, the Ahmadi community was on board, and no action was taken without their consent, nor should it have been taken.
  • The DC said that the Ahmadiyya community had given in writing that they would remove Islamic Shaair from their homes and graves. They did remove these from their homes but not from their graves; this again caused (communal) tension.
  • The DC said the law-enforcing departments and the district administration are persistently monitoring the whole issue; local Ahmadi community is in contact with us all along. They are co-operating with us and they have no problem.
  • The DC Hafizabad stated that both the parties had signed an agreement on Stamp Paper according to which the Ahmadi community was given six days to efface all writings considered pious by Muslims.
  • The high district official told (us) that Muhammad Luqman, the District General Secretary of the Ahmadi community had committed his people on a Stamp Paper that they are not under any pressure of the Police, District Administration or anyone else.
  • On termination of the given six-days deadline by the police, the SHO Police Station Sadr Hafizabad toured the village and reported that the agreement has been implemented and the Ahmadi community had effaced all Islamic writings on their homes.  
  • The DC and DPO presented the issue to the District Peace Committee, wherein the Police was instructed to take necessary action to maintain law and order and to destroy (khatam kiyay jain) tombstones of such graves.
  • Ahmadi spokesperson accused the police and the district administration to use the disputed laws to placate anti-Ahmadi elements.
  • In response to the Ahmadis, the Deputy Commissioner said that the removal of Islamic words from graves was Ahmadis’ responsibility. However when the administration undertook the same, the graves have not been desecrated, no grave was destroyed so those who are propagating desecration of graves are entirely in the wrong.

We do not undertake here a detailed analysis of the ‘rights and wrongs’ in the above statements; they betray clearly the stress, strain, and plight of the local Ahmadi community at the hands of the bigots, the police and the administration. As for the assertion of no desecration of graves, a few pictures of these graves tell the truth. 

Last but not the least, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK Minister of Commonwealth, Human Rights, etc tweeted the following on this affront to human dignity: