Radical Islamists in Pakistan allegedly attacked and demolished an over 100-year-old worship place of the minority Ahmadi community in the Punjab province, the police said on Monday, Apri 17, 2023.
The incident occurred on Sunday, April 16, 2023, at the 118-year-old Ahmadi worship place in the Sargodha district of the province.
“A good number of workers of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Sunday gathered outside the worship place of the Ahmadi community in Ghooghiat in Sargodha district, some 200 kilometres from Lahore,” a police official told PTI on Monday.
“They chanted slogans against Ahmadis, venting out their anger for building minarets at their worship place,” he added.
According to the TLP, the Ahmadi worship place was built like a mosque, the official said. Members of the minority community present had to scale walls to save their lives, the official said.
The miscreants destroyed the 118-year-old worship place of Ahmadis, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Punjab official Amir Mahmood told PTI.
The Pakistani government does not consider Ahmadis to be Muslims, and the Ahmadis are not allowed to call themselves Muslims in Pakistan by a law passed in 1974.
“Attacking and demolishing Ahmadi worship places by mobs and government officials is a blatant violation of Pakistan’s Constitution and Supreme Court’s decision of 2014,” he said, adding that the persecution of the Ahmadi community has been on a high in different areas of Pakistan.
The Punjab province has been the centre of it, and the extent of these activities is such that the Ahmadi community is not left alone even in the holy month of Ramadan, Mahmood added.
Last month Police in Punjab province demolished minarets of a 70-year-old worship place of the minority Ahmadi community allegedly under the pressure of radical clerics, according to a spokesman for the minority community.
A recent fact-finding mission led by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) underscored an alarming uptick in the persecution of members of the minority Ahmadi community in the province.
Minorities, especially Ahmadis, are vulnerable in Pakistan and are often targeted by religious extremists.
In Pakistan, around 10 million out of the 220 million population are non-Muslims. According to the 2017 census, Hindus constitute the largest religious minority (5 million) in Pakistan.
Christians make up the second largest religious minority, with almost the same number (4.5 million), and their concentration is mostly in urban Sindh, Punjab and parts of Balochistan. The Ahmadis, Sikhs and Parsi are also among the notable religious minorities in Pakistan.