The daily Dawn; July 25, 2023: The following news item was published in the daily Dawn:

Ahmadi place of worship vandalized in Karachi

Imtiaz Ali

An Ahmadi place of worship was vandalized in Karachi’s Drigh Road area within the limits of Shah Faisal Colony, police and spokesperson for the community said on Tuesday.

Korangi Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Tariq Nawaz told that around four persons damaged the minarets on Monday.

He said that police had taken cognisance of the matter and asked a member of the community to lodge a first information report (FIR).

The senior officer said that a person identified as Bilal was in touch with the Shah Faisal Colony station house officer (SHO) till Monday night and officials had advised him to lodge a report.

He said that police had received an application regarding the vandalism, adding that the complainant stated that an FIR would be registered after consulting with the Ahmadi community.

Amir Mehmood, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, also said that an application for registering a FIR had been submitted to the police.

The spokesperson said around a dozen people had entered the place of worship at around 3:45 pm on Monday and destroyed the minarets with hammers and put “hateful graffiti on the walls”.

He recalled that a few months ago, two (Ahmadiyya) places of worship in Saddar and Martin Quarters were vandalised. He said that FIRs were registered in both the cases but police had yet to inform them of the progress in either of them.

He said that the place of worship in Drigh Road had existed since Pakistan was created. “The government has utterly failed to provide security to Ahmadi places of worship,” Mehmood said.

Govt urged to provide security

Separately, a press release from the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesperson called on the government to provide security to the community’s places of worship.

Strongly condemning the incident, the spokesperson said the community’s opponents had “crossed all limits of decency” and the “hate campaign against Ahmadis now knows no bounds”.

“As many as 10 Ahmadi places of worship have been attacked during the current year and so far, none of the aggressors have been held,” the press release said.

The spokesperson said Ahmadis were feeling “an extreme sense of insecurity” while living in their own homeland, and the actions of hatemongers were ruining the country’s international image.

“It is high time that such hate mongers are put behind bars so they cannot undermine the fabric of religious harmony in the country any further.”

The spokesperson claimed that miscreants had “finalised plans to attack the Ahmadi places of worship” in various cities and towns across the country in Muharram, adding that announcements for such attacks were being openly made on social media platforms.

The press release said it was the government’s responsibility to arrange security for the community’s worship places so miscreants were unable to harm them.

Anti-Ahmadi drive invites UN bodies’ ire

The drive against the Ahmadi community, which has become a regular feature in Punjab, is not only bringing a bad name to the country, but also inviting the ire of UN bodies.

After a campaign last month to stop Ahmadis from offering sacrifice on Eidul Azha, the latest drive launched against the community involves demolition of the minarets of their places of worship. The drive is being spearheaded by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

A poster floated by the social media wing of the TLP in Sarai Alamgir, a town near Jhelum, said: “From Shaandar Chowk to the Qadiani Centre, all minarets will be demolished.” The drive, the poster said, would commence at 10 am on the 10th of Muharram (July 29) from the TLP’s office in Sarai Alamgir.

On July 14, the TLP pressured police into demolishing minarets of an Ahmadi place of worship in Jhelum. The party’s local chapter later announced that it would demolish minarets of all Ahmadi places of worship in the entire Jhelum district.

Some of these sites are more than a hundred years old.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern over the treatment of Ahmadis in Pakistan and asked the government to respond to allegations of violations of international law.

The OHCHR said in its letter: “We would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government the information we have received concerning growing discrimination and rising incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence against the Ahmadi religious minority in Pakistan, including attacks against places of worship and other acts of intimidation.”

The letter was submitted to Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

“We are deeply concerned about this series of violent attacks against the Ahmadi minority, which we have previously addressed in several communications that despite our requests for remedial actions from authorities, the safety of the Ahmadiyya minority continues to deteriorate.” the OHCHR letter said.(Published in the daily Dawn on July 25, 2023)