Gulshan-i-Ravi police arrested seven members of the Ahmadi community on Monday after close to 300 people protested in front of what was described as a place of worship of the community.
The police raided an alleged Ahmadi place of worship and arrested seven people without registering a FIR against them.
A woman and her 10-year-old son were also arrested. No lady police officer accompanied them.
However, after two hours of detention, the police released the mother and her child but kept the seven others detained.
Muhammad Usman Awan, a resident of Gulshan-i-Ravi, lodged an FIR late on Sunday which said that an unknown man had entered his house. Awan said on seeing his family, the man left and instead entered a neighbouring house.
He said he called the police and the house next door was raided.
Awan said that the police found that the building was being used as a place of worship by Ahmadis.
He said he told the local clerics who gathered with local residents and protested. He said after the protest, the police arrested the inmates and took them to the police station.
He said those arrested had helped the trespass suspect flee. The police refused to register an FIR on the complaint of Maulana Abdul Aziz who wanted to press blasphemy charges against the Ahmadis.
Investigation Officer Sub Inspector Mumtaz said they registered the FIR under trespass and no one had been nominated. The Investigations Officer claimed no knowledge of the detained Ahmadis.
Muhammad Hasan Muavia, spokesman of the Khatam-i-Nabuwat Lawyers Forum, told The Express Tribune that the police had recovered more than 250 ‘blasphemous’ books from the building. Mauvia said they had been protesting since last night and would continue till an FIR was filed under blasphemy changes.
The Investigation Officer contradicted Muavia and said only four or five books had been found and none of them had any blaspheming material.
Relatives of the detained men told The Express Tribune that the police were asking them to seek forgiveness from the protesting clerics, give an assurance that they would not use the building as a place of worship and cooperate in the arrest of the trespass suspect.
They said they had tried to convince the police that they did not know the suspect, but the police were not convinced.
Munawar Ali Shahid, a member of the Ahmadia community and a human rights activist, said that the incident was part of an on-going anti-Ahmadi campaign.
Shahid said Muavia and his supporters had pressured the police and had registered about five cases against Ahmadis during the last few months.
Shahid added that the government should take solid steps to protect minorities otherwise the extremist elements would make their lives even more difficult.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2013.
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