Wazirabad, District Gujranwala; January 10, 2023: The minarets of Ahmadiyya mosque were demolished by the Punjab Police in the dark hours of January 10, 2023. These were demolished in defiance of the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision to protect places of worship.

Someone put up an application to the police that the Ahmadis have built a room with minarets on it, which resembles a mosque, while they cannot build it as per law (sic). The police accordingly told Ahmadis to disband the minarets. Ahmadis told the police of the community’s position on this issue and told them further that this worship place was built in 1915.

The police wrongfully booked five Ahmadis under anti-Ahmadiyya sections 298-B and 298-C. ASJ Noor Muhammad Dhothar rejected their bail on January 23, 2023.

            The daily Express Tribune published the following story on January 11, 2023:

Police accused of ‘desecration’ of Ahmadi worship place in Wazirabad

A historical worship place of Ahmadi community situated at Moti Bazar has been allegedly desecrated by police

LAHORE: A historical worship place of Ahmadi community situated at Moti Bazar, Wazirabad, which was established back in 1915, was allegedly desecrated by district administration (police) last night.

A local leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Irfan Iliyas Butt had filed a complaint before Assistant Commissioner Wazirabad stating that the Ahmadi community had established a room similar in looks to a nearby mosque with minarets on it.

He had sought action under Section 298-B and 298-C of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Section 298-C of PPC reads, “Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves “Ahmadis” or by any other name), who directly or indirectly poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.”

Spokesperson of the Ahmadi community while speaking to The Express Tribune decried the act stating it was “tantamount to discrimination against them as well as against the Supreme Court’s judgement”.

He further quoted a judgement by a three-member bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Justice Tassadaq Hussain Jilani.

As per the details of the ruling, it had asked for ensuring protection of minorities’ worship places by the government. It had directed for establishment of task force in this regard.

He further revealed that “unfortunately the government bodies such as the police are demolishing our worship places, instead of protecting them.”

It is pertinent to note that last month, minarets from a worship place of the Ahmadi community in Gujranwala were also demolished by police.

TLP leader Irfan Iliyas, when contacted over telephone, said he was not interested in sharing his version of the incident.

The opponents applied to DC Gujranwala against the minarets. At this, the police sent for the Ahmadiyya delegation to the CPO office where the delegation met with the district security officer and SSP operations on December 3, 2022 and informed them of the Ahmadiyya position. The police said that it is being asked by non-Ahmadis to change the time of Friday prayers of Ahmadis in Gajju Chak, and it is being said that Ahmadi children read the Holy Quran in a loud voice while they are not allowed to read the Holy Quran. Also, the Holy Quran should be taken out of the Ahmadis’ houses, confiscated and an FIR should be registered for possession of the Quran, they add. On this, the Ahmadiyya delegation said that if the authorities entertain such illegal requests, the opponents would harass Ahmadis further by making more demands. The police replied that the District Intelligence Committee had decided that minarets of the Ahmadiyya mosque be removed.

On December 7, 2022, the delegation met with ADCG Gujranwala. He advised Ahmadis to be patient and bear up the treatment, as that was the state policy.

Later, on the night of 7th and 8th December at around 2 am, a police force came with heavy machinery and vehicles, blocked the road in front of the mosque and switched off the nearby lights. The police destroyed the minarets and took away the debris with them. During this demolition, the security cameras and the wall of the mosque were also damaged.