The threats against the Ahmadi community keep coming. This time a ‘banned’ Jihadi organisation is joining hands with local traders to hold a rally near an Ahmadi religious centre in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi.
A number of banners put up around the town by adherents to the Ahle Hadith school of thought advertising a rally close to an Ahmadi worship site near Holy Family Hospital (HFH) against the “unconstitutional” activities of the marginalised community. This comes just weeks after Ahmadis living in F-Block of Satellite Town began seeing a number of banners with bigoted messages cropping up in the area.
The followers of JuD leader Hafiz Saeed, who has been declared a terrorist leader by the UN for his role in establishing the banned Jihadi outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, appealed to “all Muslims brothers” to gather at HFH at noon on January 29 to force the Ahmadis to cease all acts of worship in the locality.
“The situation has created a hostile environment for us...they are being forced to flee from the area to protect their families,” a member of the Ahmadi community said.
“Local people have no issue with us, but some people from outside the area have instigated a campaign against us,” another member said.
“[Ahmadis], a few years ago, purchased a building in Satellite Town from their own people and set up a worship place, from where, in addition to preaching in the area, they are creating problems for neighbours”, a Jamaatud Dawa worker said.
However, JuD Spokesperson Asif Khursheed said that Jamiat Ahale Hadith has no direct connection with JuD. “Our concentration is only on the Difa-e-Pakistan Council to be held on January 21 at Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi,” he said. “But yes, we enjoy a cordial relationship with Jamiat Ahal-e-Hadith,” he added.
A resident of F- Block said that the Ahmadi community now fears recurrences of recent attacks on their community, like May 2010 in
Lahore, where 93 people were killed.
The Express Tribune spoke to a number of Ahmadis, who emphasised that the community had committed no unlawful activities and pled for the hate campaign to stop so they could feel safe in the area.
“The building was built after Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya purchased the land. As a registered organisation, under the relevant rules they can carry out worship in the building”, said a senior member of the Ahmadi community, asking not to be identified. He added that after getting permission from the district administration, they installed moveable barriers and a few security guards every Friday after last year’s attack in Lahore.
“We removed the barriers and guards from the main road in front of the building after some people objected to their presence “, he added. He explained that the religious centre was shifted to the current building because the old centre in a building near Committee Chowk could not accommodate worshippers.
A Rawalpindi-based research scholar said that the contribution of Ahmadis to Pakistan is significant. “Just like other Pakistanis, we are very loyal to both, the country and the Constitution of Pakistan,” he said, adding that they are contributing in every field.
Nobel Prize winner Dr Abdul Salam and the first foreign minister Zafarullah Khan, who Muhammad Ali Jinnah referred to as “my son”, were both Ahmadis, but they were loyal to Pakistan, and like other Pakistanis, they earned a good name for their motherland.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2012.