CHAKWAL: On a first visit, one only notices the calm which engulfs the sleepy village of Pichnand, located some 90 kilometres from the district capital, in Talagang tehsil. Most of its 24,000 residents earn their livelihood from agriculture and cattle farming.
And walking through the quiet winding streets of the village, it is hard to tell that underneath the calm, simmer religious tensions with extremism on the rise in the Talagang tehsil, 45 kilometres from Chakwal. New blasphemy cases are routinely registered in the area, in most of which a man named Mohammad Saeed is the complainant and an advocate named Tariq Mehmood is the counsel.
The growing number of such cases has left 80 members of the Ahmedi community, who occupy 15 houses in the Pichnand village, in perpetual state of fear. Religious conferences are regularly organised in the village where hate speech is delivered against the marginalised Ahmedi community. These events have also put the village under the spotlight of the local press.
The latest blow came on May 4, when on the orders of a District and Sessions court, the minarets and dome of the sole worship place of Ahmedis in the village were demolished.