In Pakistan, police book 40 Ahmadi community members on terrorism charges

According to the Ahmadi community, local clerics made announcements at mosques in Safdarabad, inciting them not to allow the burial of a woman belonging to their community in the Muslim graveyard.

  • Publish Date - 6:02 pm, Fri, 11 June 21
In Pakistan, police book 40 Ahmadi community members on terrorism charges
Police had registered FIRs against the Ahmadi community and the members of the religious group, for fighting over the burial of the woman. (Photo: Representational/ANI)

Lahore: Police has booked 40 people of the minority Ahmadi community under terrorism charges in Pakistan for a quarrel with Islamists over the burial of a woman belonging to their community in a Muslim graveyard in the Punjab province. In the incident that took place on June 6 in Mauza Phaiwalai, Safdarabad in Sheikhupura district, about 50 km from Lahore, the Ahmadi community was ‘forced’ by a group of Islamists to bury the body in a ‘non-Muslim’ graveyard. Tension in the area is still prevailing, and many local Ahmadis have left their residences fearing attack from the Islamists. People belonging to the Ahmadi community said that local clerics made announcements at mosques in Safdarabad, inciting them not to allow the burial of the woman in the Muslim graveyard.

“The people of the religious group tried to stop the burial but the woman was laid to rest. The group members insisted to remove the body from their graveyard which led scuffle between the Ahmadis and the members of a religious group,” they said.

The police had registered two FIRs, one against the Ahmadi community and the other against around 20 members of the religious group, for fighting over the burial of the woman. The Ahmadi community members were booked under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and sections of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC). The members of the religious group have also been booked under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Talking to news agency PTI on Thursday, the Ahmadi community Punjab spokesperson Amir Mahmood said that Islamists forcefully stopped the Ahmadi community from burying the body of the woman and also resorted to firing. He said that the police, on the contrary, registered FIR against the community under terrorism charges. “Our community is victim and police should have taken action against those involved in violence,” he said.

Mahmood also demanded that the FIR against the Ahmadi community members be quashed. The spokesperson added that the Ahmadi community in Safdarabad used to bury their dead in the Phaiwalai (Sheikhupura) graveyard. “But this was made an issue without any reason,” he said.

The religious group members have warned the administration that if they don’t implement the demands of the group, the district would be blocked from the rest of the country. One of their demands is to quash the FIR against Muslims.

Tariq Mahmood, a Safdarabad police station official, told PTI that the police would not allow anyone to take the law into their hands. He added that the two groups have reached an ‘understanding’ to withdraw applications filed against each other in the presence of the local administration. “This matter will be resolved amicably,” the official said.

The Ahmadi community was declared as non-Muslims by Pakistan’s Parliament in 1974. They were later banned from calling themselves Muslims. The community has been banned from preaching and even travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.

(With inputs from PTI)

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