LAHORE: 2015 proved to be yet another taxing year for Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya (JA).
Over the year, two Ahmadis were killed, the houses of scores of others were set ablaze and a concerted anti-Ahmadiyya campaign continued relentlessly, a JA annual report issued on Monday stated. According to the document, 248 Ahmadis have been killed because of their beliefs, 323 have been the victims of attempted murder; 27 Ahmadiyya worship places have been demolished; 32 have been; 16 illegally appropriated; 39 graves of Ahmadis have been desecrated and the bodies of 65 have been refused burial in mixed cemeteries to date.
Those responsible for implementing the law are being manipulated by those hostile to the community, JA spoklesperson Saleemuddin said. On the recommendation of the Muttahida Ulema Board, the government has banned various Ahmadi publications for hate speech without corroborating the claim, he said. The very motto of our community is love for all, hatred for none, Saleemuddin said.
Ahmadis were also discriminated against in the recently concluded local body elections on account of their faith. The community attempted to clarify its stance on the issue but all newspapers refused to publish a statement to this effect, he said. The JA spokesperson said Ordinance XX violated Ahmadis’ fundamental rights. He said it contradicted the founding vision of Pakistan propounded by Jinnah. Saleemuddin exhorted the government to repeal all discriminatory laws.
He said that the hate literature against Ahmadis was being proliferated nationwide. In the Punjab and Sindh, Saleemuddin said, a socio-economic boycott of Ahmadis was routinely encouraged. This, he said, went as far as calling for Ahmadis to be killed.
The JA spokesperson said the community had been denied permission to hold religious assemblies in Chenabnagar. The JA, he said, was not even allowed to organise sporting events in the Ahmadi-majority town. On the other hand, Saleemuddin said, the community’s persecutors were given a veritable free hand. He said they routinely staged mass rallies, spewed venom against Ahmadi stalwarts and incited people to kill members of the community. No action has been taken against such elements, Saleemuddin said.
He said the government had nationalised scores of Ahmadiyya educational institutes during the 1970s. Saleemuddin said many such properties had been returned to their original owners following denationalisation. This, the community has been left bereft of despite depositing a hefty amount of money, he said. The JA spokesperson said prejudicial laws ought to be abolished as they had tarnished the nation’s image. He said the nation would remain devoid of stability till such laws remained enshrined. Saleemuddin called on all peaceful citizens to exhort the government to curb religious bigotry so that the nation could tread on the path to success and peace.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2016.