Minority issue: Cameras forced off Ahmadi worship centre

Published: February 25, 2012
Protesters say they had told Ahmadis to remove the cameras; Ahmadis suggest police complicity.

Protesters say they had told Ahmadis to remove the cameras; Ahmadis suggest police complicity.

Protesters say they had told Ahmadis to remove the cameras; Ahmadis suggest police complicity. Protesters say they had told Ahmadis to remove the cameras; Ahmadis suggest police complicity.

The Ahmadi community in Rawalpindi went through another harrowing day on Friday, when hundreds of locals assembled outside their place of worship demanding the removal of barricades and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed there.

A deadline of March 1 has been set by a religious group for Ahmadis to remove the CCTV cameras from around their worship place in E-block of Satellite Town, although the cameras had actually been placed there by the police to enhance security for the threatened community.

In a similar incident last month, hundreds of people surrounded the same worship centre demanding the removal of barriers around it, although they had been placed with the permission from the city government and the neighbours claimed to have had no problems with them.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a representative of the Ahmadi community said that a large number of locals gathered outside the location after Friday prayers and removed the security cameras. “I got shocked to see hundreds of people including local traders coming here at around 2pm and trying to remove the cameras. The police did not even try to stop them,” said the dejected representative.

New Town Police Station House Officer (SHO) Raja Abdul Qayum confirmed that over 200 protesters assembled outside the worship place and “asked” the authorities to remove the barricades.

“On the direction of the commissioner, we have removed CCTV cameras and barricades from outside the worship place, and no untoward incident happened there,” he said.

Leading the locals, businessman Sharjeel Mir claimed that the centre’s administration had been told a few weeks ago that their demands, including no more than 10 people at the worship centre at any time and removal of all security installations near the centre including cameras, would be fulfilled however nothing was done.

Subsequently, “protests were held against them and the major demand of locals is their removal from the locality” Mir insisted.

Repeated attempts were made to contact Rawalpindi Commissioner Zahid Saeed, but he was not available for comment.

Police inaction

In a statement, Ahmadiyya Community spokesperson Saleemuddin blamed the Rawalpindi police for the incident. He said that after the Lahore massacre of May 28, 2010, the community took certain security measures on the advice of law enforcement agencies. The measures included placement of barricades, barbed wires fencing on the walls and installation of CCTV cameras, to avoid a possible terrorist attack.

In a statement issued on Friday, Saleemuddin pointed out that the barricades had been removed earlier, and the “Ahmadiyya Centre has thus been deprived of eyes to keep watch on the approach roads. The community’s right of prayers and congregation has thus been exposed to grave danger.”

“On Friday, the police were present as usual. Sharjeel Mir was present on the street and watched worshipers leaving the place. After the peaceful dispersal of the congregation, finding no other excuse, the troublemaker [Shirjeel Mir] and some madrassa students came outside the centre and started shouting and raising slogans demanding the removal of the security cameras,” the statement added.

It alleged that the police, including the SHO present, made no attempt to stop them. “From 2:30 to 3:30pm, a crowd was allowed to gather in front of the community centre’s gate. Even the SSP did not order the unlawful assembly to disperse once he reached the site.

At about 3:30pm, the SSP asked the administration to remove the cameras to appease the mob. The SSP was informed that the measures had been adopted on the direction of the authorities and could only be removed on a written order from the district administration, the statement presented.

At about 4pm, the additional deputy commissioner (ADC) arrived and the police, under the supervision of the SSP removed the cameras although “no written order was produced”.

“The police was responsible for law and order and SSP had done it on his discretion. The SSP professed that he had done so to appease the mob so that they may disperse”, said the statement.

The JA spokesperson regretted that “cameras were removed but the mob was not asked to disperse. Instead, loudspeakers came in and provocative and threatening speeches were made. The mob was allowed to carry on with provocation and threats to demolish the centre.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Aziz Bhatti
    Feb 25, 2012 - 10:10AM

    “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.” Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan.


  • Sultan Ahmad
    Feb 25, 2012 - 12:14PM

    Dear Sir,
    Asslamo Alaikum
    I am surprised to read that the police removed the cameras to appease the mob, i.e. fanatics surrounding Ahmadiyya mosque in Rawalpindi. The function of the police is not to appease the mob, they are supposed to maintain law and order. The citizens of Pakistan are not paying taxes so that their police comes to a troubled spot, and instead of reigning in the hooligans, they remove the safety mechanisms, so that trouble makers are appeased. If Government of the Punjab wan to show some real good governance this is the time. Control the fanatics instead of pleasing them.


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 25, 2012 - 1:03PM

    @Aziz Bhatti:
    Pakistan became an Independent country on 14th August 1947 and Jinnah was its founder. Jinnah died on September 11, 1948. Could it be the 9 / 11 of Pakistan? Pakistan officially became “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” in 1956 with the adoption of its new constitution.


  • AM
    Feb 25, 2012 - 2:21PM

    @Aziz Bhatti:
    Only in dreams…


  • Adeel Sami
    Feb 25, 2012 - 4:32PM

    Well, that’s an act of insanity, I don’t get why the CCTV camera are forced off of the wall ? Just so if the mosque gets attacked (ALLAH forbid), faces may not caught up on cameras ??

    Very embarrising !!


  • athar
    Feb 25, 2012 - 5:57PM

    now after the great massacres community even don’t have the right to protect themselves.although it is the state’s duty to protect its all citizen instead that state is forcing them to be insecure!what a great justice.jag Pakistan jag!would chief justice mind to take a sou moto notice of police’s above laws order?


  • Feb 26, 2012 - 1:10PM

    all bearucrates are worshipping to mullah who destroyed Pakistan.


  • Atta
    Feb 26, 2012 - 4:00PM

    @Adeel Sami:


  • whhhhhh
    Feb 26, 2012 - 8:53PM

    Police should take immediate action and record names of all those who removed the CCTV cameras forcibly and if anything happens within next one year at this compound( as i can not term it even a worship place because of constitution) then those noted down people should be booked first…….


  • Haidre
    Feb 26, 2012 - 11:49PM

    Millions of houses, institutions, worship places etc throughout the country have installed CCTV cameras in their premises for security. This practice has always been approved by law enforcing authorities with a view to encourage the people to take care of their own security.
    It is not understood as to under what law these cameras have been removed from Ahmadiyyah premises by police ??????


  • Azwar
    Feb 28, 2012 - 7:11AM

    Another shameful day in PAKISTAN, no wonder we are heading towards our take over from other Nations. India wants Sind and Punjab, USA wants to make Balochistan, Afganistan wants KPK. Keep doing this and that will happen as Allah Almighty will show its hand to people who do not deserve a Nation. Just Like Jews. Wakeup Pakistani Nation for you do not have long to rid yourself of these So Called Mullahs who are bent upon destroying Pakistan.


  • Asgar
    Feb 28, 2012 - 8:32AM

    It seems what Quran intends to say, majority interprets exactly opposite of this.
    They will even interpret that peace can be achieved by violence.
    Our religion of peace and it’s followers really confuse me.
    I think there is a serious problem in us.


  • Tom
    Feb 28, 2012 - 8:45AM

    You can still make demands on Kashmir and use what little land there as Pakistan. But what makes you think Sindh and Punjab is all India wants? Perhaps India wants to turn all of Pakistan in to land of the Hindus and have Radio India be played from Islamabad


  • Haji Rafiq A. Tschannen
    Mar 1, 2012 - 1:50AM

    Awaiting patiently that the press in Pakistan will have the courage to call any place of worship where exactly the same Islamic prayers are recited a MOSQUE, whether the building belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat or any other Jamaat in Pakistan.


  • Humanity
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:19AM

    These people deprived of humanity, are a curse on human kind. The time when these bigots are struck down with a divine blow is around the corner.


  • Annas
    Mar 5, 2012 - 12:25PM

    Are they trying to remove Cameras to hide something which is going to be happened…OK if not against Ahmadis but it might happen in market too. So businessmen of Rawalpindi should analyze that are they not playing in the hands of others just to destroy themselves?


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