Another Ahmadiyya place of worship handed over by authorities to gang leaders of a riot—in the Punjab
Kharappar, District Kasur: This happened on February 6, 2020. A Press Release issued by the Ahmadiyya head office in Pakistan is reproduced below; it sums up well the facts that deserve to be placed on record:
Ahmadis deprived of their place of worship and their Right to Worship in Kharappar, District Kasur
Spokesperson of Pakistan’s Ahmadiyya Community asks the government to take note of the blatant violation of the verdict issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2014
Chenab Nagar (PR). The spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan has said that the seizure of an Ahmadi place of worship in Kharappar, District Kasur is a clear violation of the community’s fundamental right to religious freedom. The site in question has been in the possession of the community for over one hundred years. However, under duress from certain agitating parties, the local authorities have handed it over to the ringleaders of a mob that had formed to forcefully take control of it. Prior to this, the local Ahmadi community in Kharappar was subject to constant pressure to relinquish the building themselves.
According to the spokesperson of the community, on 6th February 2020 at approximately 2pm in the afternoon, a mob forcefully entered the place of worship. Once inside, they smashed the security cameras and installed a loudspeaker through which they called the Azan. Afterwards they performed prayers inside the main hall. Once news reached them, a heavy police contingent arrived at the site, but took no action against the mob. Instead they locked the place of worship down, and without any authority or jurisdiction announced that the place of worship would be handed over to the ringleaders of the disturbance.
Citing an earlier judgment by the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued on 19 June 2014 the spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya Community added that the forceful acquisition of the place of worship is in clear violation of the verdict issued by the then Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. Under his authority a three-member apex bench devised a framework and reached a historical decision (S.M.C.No1of2014/PLD2014SC99) which outlined 8 guidelines instructing the government to form a special police task force in order to ensure the security of places of worship. One of the recommendations focused on the need to take swift action against those who were found to be involved in defiling any place of worship in the country.
The spokesperson said that the Ahmadiyya Community is a peaceful, law-abiding, and patriotic community which continues to work towards the progress and betterment of Pakistan. Despite this, not only Ahmadis are consistently denied their freedom of religion, but their historical places of worship are also being illegally taken away from them. This only leads to heightened religious discord and hostility.
Given the delicateness of the situation, the community demands that immediate action be taken against those responsible for this agitation and the building be returned to the Ahmadi Community in accordance with the law.
He further said that the community had written to various high-ranking government officials requesting that the place of worship be returned to them. However, so far there has been no response.
Note: This deprivation for Ahmadis of their place of worship is one incident in a long list of 170 such mentionable incidents whereby Ahmadiyya worship places met regretful maltreatment at the hands of the state and the society. Briefly: (From 1984 onward)
- Number of Ahmadiyya mosques demolished 29
- Number of Ahmadiyya mosques sealed by the authorities 40
- Number of Ahmadiyya mosques set on fire or damaged 25
- Number of Ahmadiyya mosques forcibly occupied 18
- Number of Ahmadiyya mosques, construction of which was barred by the authorities 59