New Delhi: While Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been criticising the Narendra Modi government over the security clampdown in Kashmir following repeal of Article 370 and alleged persecution of Muslims in India, Pakistan Police Friday partially destroyed a mosque belonging to the minority Ahmadiyyas.
Ahmadis were declared ‘non-Muslims’ by Pakistan in 1974, depriving them of many basic rights.
The incident took place in Punjab’s Bahawalpur, where terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is headquartered.
The destruction of the mosque drew strong protests from the community as well as human rights activists, who called for an end to the ‘Ahmadi apartheid’ in Pakistan.
Yet another Ahmadi Mosque vandalized. Not my unknown religious extremists. Not by sunni extremist mob. But by Pakistani police. The world should end their silence & condemn the ongoing #AhmadiApartheid in Pakistan. State is supposed to protect, not attack places of worship. https://t.co/bNpEIM7XSq
— Kashif N Chaudhry (@KashifMD) October 25, 2019
After doing this now they will take part in Kashmir movement and will be taking about human rights, and will take stand for Muslims in India, how hypocrite nation is this ??? Where is human rights champion @ImranKhanPTI @ShireenMazari1
— qazi awais ahmed (@qaziawaisahmed) October 25, 2019
— qalamsultan (@qalamsultan) October 25, 2019
Not new in Pakistan
According to local reports, the mosque’s mihrab — the semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque — was destroyed during the demolition carried out by Assistant Commissioner of Hasilpur, Mohammad Tayyab. He was accompanied by police officers from Bladia, the local development authority.
A spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan, Saleem ud Din, said the local government and the Community Development Authority “destroyed parts of the building without notice”. He further said that some members of the Ahmadi community, who filmed the demolition on their phone cameras, were booked by the police.
On top of that Ahmadis who filmed this attack are booked under baseless charges. How on earth filming something on a public space falls under this law? pic.twitter.com/4MIXbS2xet
— Saleem ud Din (@SaleemudDinAA) October 25, 2019
The mosque, which is located in Chak 161 Murad, was constructed in 1949 on a land owned by the local Ahmadi community.
Demolition of mosques belonging to Ahmadiyyas is, however, not new in Pakistan.
In May 2018, a 100-year-old Ahmadi mosque, located in Sialkot, was destroyed by a mob.
Disturbing reports coming in from #Faisalabad. On the second day of Eid, #Ahmadi mosque burnt down by a charged mob in
Ghaseetpura district. 6 ppl have been wounded in the gun attack. Witnesses say several worshippers are stranded in the area. #Pakistan pic.twitter.com/JlOnPnSRfd
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) August 23, 2018
The community says that dozens of other mosques in Pakistan have either been destroyed or shut by the authorities.
Growing discrimination against Ahmadis
Ahmadiyyas are considered heretical by orthodox Muslims in Pakistan, and face increased discrimination and persecution.
The community alleged that they have been increasingly facing institutionalised discrimination, fanned by Imran Khan’s election campaign last year.
Ahmadiyyas were forced to disassociate from the country’s general elections in 2018 after a separate voter list was prepared for them “based on religious differences”. They called it the “worst example of biased discrimination”.