Posted on September 24th, 2023
by A. Abdul Aziz
U.K. based International Human Rights Committee (IHRC) has reported several times that a wave of bigotry against Ahmadiyya Muslims has intensified since the start of 2023. In an extremely worrying sign of growing crisis in Pakistan, thirty-one (31) Ahmadiyya Mosques have been desecrated in 2023. Another disturbing news is coming in from Daska, Sialkot where the far right party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) is planning to gather a mob to demolish a historic Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque.
The Mosque was built by the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Sir Zafrullah Khan in his family town Daska, Sialkot. The world-renowned jurist and lawyer served as the President of the UN General Assembly in the 1960s and the President of the International Court of Justice in the 70s.
Yet the media and politicians of the country he served his whole life are enabling religious extremists to desecrate holy places of worship which he built and prayed in. If this demolition is allowed to take place, it will be the 32nd Ahmadi Muslim Mosque desecrated in Pakistan this year. The Lahore High Court has previously held that Ahmadi Muslim places of worship built before 1984 cannot be destroyed by the state.
Recently, the Prime Minister of Pakistan said that the State will protect the places of worship of all citizens. Yet as seen in the past, higher authorities have failed to intervene when the Police, instead of providing protection, have been acting as an aide to acts by extremist elements.
It has become impossible for Ahmadis to practice their faith while ruthlessly hunted by fundamentalist gangs. The latest desecration act of the Mosques desecration carried out by the locals and Police is open proof of the fact there is no sign of improvement in the law-and-order situation for the Ahmadis in Pakistan.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan’s judgement (PLD 2014 SC 699), authored by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, guarantees the protection of all places of worship and instructs the police to protect places of worship. Destroying minarets is also a violation of Article 20 and the same Supreme Court verdict of 2014 (PLD 2014 SC 699).
The same Supreme Court judgement of 2014 (PLD 2014 SC 699) had asked the Government of Pakistan to form a special task force for the protection of worship places of minorities. On the contrary, an extremist agenda sponsored by the state is being pursued against the Ahmadiyya community with authorities encouraging this type of violent behaviour which defies this Supreme Court judgement of 2014 (PLD 2014 SC 699) and all norms of religious sanctimony.
Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed their deep concern over the lack of attention to the serious human rights violations perpetrated against the Ahmadiyya community and called on the international community to step up efforts in bringing an end to the ongoing persecution of Ahmadis. It is repeatedly urged the international community to pressure the Government of Pakistan to honor its responsibility to provide protection to all its citizens, ensure freedom of religious practice to Ahmadis, and bring perpetrators of such vicious attacks to justice.