Imtiaz Ali Published September 4, 2023
An Ahmadi place of worship was vandalised in Karachi’s Saddar area on Monday, following which city Mayor Murtaza Wahab said three people were booked and arrested.
Meanwhile, videos shared on X (formerly Twitter), purportedly of today’s incident, showed men, with their faces covered, hitting the minarets on the Ahmadiyya Hall’s rooftop using sledgehammers. Meanwhile, others shouted slogans outside the building.
The first information report was lodged at the Preedy police station on the state’s behalf through Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Parvez under Sections 34 (common intention), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 382 (theft after preparation made for causing death hurt or restraint in order to the committing of the theft) of the Pakistan Penal Code against 15 to 20 people.
The ASI said he and other officers were performing their duty when they received information that around 15-20 persons had attacked and encircled the policemen who had attempted to prevent the mob from attacking the Ahmadi community’s hall.
Parvez said they rushed to the spot and got their colleagues released from the mob. He added that one of the suspects also snatched a cell phone while fleeing from the scene. The FIR said the police arrested three suspects from the spot.
Amir Mehmood, a spokesman for the Jamaat Ahmadiyya in Pakistan, told Dawn.com that “around 10 people initially attacked their hall at the time of Zuhr prayer”.
“They forcibly entered and destroyed the minarets and other things,” Mehmood said, adding that the security guard on duty fired into the air to disperse them. He said the attackers fled after the firing but a mob gathered at the site again after a while.
Later, he issued a statement saying that the attackers “broke the minarets, vandalised the place, and raised inciting slogans. Some of them even beat up innocent Ahmadis at the place of worship.”
Mehmood said this was the second time that the hall was attacked by a mob.
However, Mehmood claimed today that these suspects were let go of.
“If prompt action had been taken back then, today’s attack could have been prevented,” he said. “By not pursuing these cases against the culprits, the law enforcers and the government are, in a way, encouraging them to continue targeting our community halls in Karachi and other parts of the country.”
The spokesperson said continuous attacks on the community’s properties had “terrorised” them, adding that such incidents were also harmful to the country and society.
Recalling caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s recent visit to Jaranwala after violence against Christians, Mehmood said the premier had said, “The state will be with the oppressed”.
“It’s time to make good on your word and send a strong signal to everyone that Pakistan stands with its vulnerable communities,” he stressed.
Today’s incident is the latest in a string of such occurrences in Pakistan in recent days.
On August 16, a violent mob of hundreds ransacked and torched nearly two dozen churches, attacked the residences of members of the Christian community and the office of the local assistant commissioner in Jaranwala in Faisalabad.
According to estimates compiled by Faisalabad’s district administration, at least 22 churches ransacked by mobs suffered damages to the tune of Rs29.1 million whereas 91 houses which bore the brunt of violence suffered losses to the tune of Rs38.5m.
Earlier on July 25, an Ahmadi place of worship was vandalised in Karachi’s Drigh Road area within the limits of Shah Faisal Colony.