Under the Pakistani law, Ahmadis cannot erect minarets and write Islamic verses at their worship places as it is deemed against Islam.
Lahore: The minarets of two worship places of the minority Ahmadi community were demolished by police in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Thursday after some radical Islamists alleged that the structures were erected illegally.
“The minarets of the Ahmadi worship places in Sheikhpupura and Gujrat districts were demolished by police on the pressure of radical Islamists,” Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan Punjab official Amir Mahmood told PTI on Thursday.
He said the police also defaced the sacred wordings/writings painted there.
“It has become a common practice that the police instead of protecting the worship places of the minority community are putting pressure on them (Ahmadis) to desecrate their own worship places. The police action is a fulfilment of the desire of extremist elements,” he said.
A number of incidents of demolition of minarets of the Ahmadi worship[ places have taken place in Punjab province in recent months and the radical Islamists of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) are allegedly involved in them.
In a similar incident earlier this month, the minarets of a worship place of the minority Ahmadi community in Chak 168 Murad of Bahawalnagar district, some 400 kilometres from here, were demolished by unknown suspects.
Under the law, Ahmadis cannot erect minarets and write Islamic verses at their worship places as it is deemed against Islam.
“The situation is becoming worse day by day for the already marginalised Ahmadis in Pakistan. They are facing persecution at the hands of the evil elements. The acts of desecrating the minarets of the places of worship in various areas of Pakistan especially Punjab continue unabated. It is a new norm and the authorities are doing nothing,” Mahmood said, adding that the government and the law enforcement agencies are partisan against the Ahmadis and instead of safeguarding them, they allow its desecration.
Ahmadis are usually referred to as Qadianis in Pakistan, which is considered a derogatory term for them.
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.
Although the number of Ahmadis in Pakistan is around a million, unofficial figures put their population much higher.
In Pakistan, around 10 million out of the 220 million population are non-Muslims. The minorities in conservative Muslim-majority Pakistan often complain of harassment by the extremists.