In another glaring example of Pakistan's human rights violations, it has come to light that at least 74 graves and minarets belonging to the Ahmadiyya minority have been desecrated by police and radical Islamic followers in the Punjab province, as per information received by a member of the community.
"Police under the pressure of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) desecrated 74 graves of Ahmadis by destroying their tombstones in Daska city of Sialkot district of Punjab, some 100kms from Lahore," Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan officer Amir Mahmood told news agency PTI.
The TLP has further threatened to destroy the minarets of another Ahmadi worship place built before the Partition in Daska, leading to renewed tensions. The radical group has also called for demolition of gravestones of the Ahmadi graveyard in the city.
Mahmood further said that police ensured that no member of the Ahmadiyya community was near the graveyard when they destroyed the tombstones, giving into pressure from TLP.
In separare incidents, minarets of Ahmadi worship places were destroyed by TLP and police in the Sheikhupura and Narang Mandi areas of Punjab.
India lashes Pakistan at UNGA over 'abysmal' human rights record
Exercising India's Right of Reply (RoR) at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, First Secretary at UN for the second UNGA committee Petal Gehlot on Sunday lashed out at Pakistan for becoming a "habitual offender" of misusing multilateral forums to peddle "baseless and malicious" propaganda and called out the human rights abuses against minorities in the country.
"As a country with one of the world's worst human rights records, particularly when it comes to minorities and human rights, Pakistan would do well to put its own house in order before venturing to point a finger at the world's largest democracy. A glaring example of the systemic violence against minorities in Pakistan was the large-scale brutality perpetrated against the minority Christian community in Jaranwala in Pakistan's Faisalabad district in August 2023, where a total of 19 churches were gutted and 89 Christian houses were burnt down," said Gahlot in a seething attack on Pakistan's human rights records.
She also highlighted that the Ahmediya community in Pakistan are suffering under similar fate and that the condition of women belonging to minority communities in Pakistan notably Hindus, Sikhs and Christians remains deplorable. The First Secretary demanded Pakistan to halt grievous human rights violations against minority communities.
"According to a recent report published by Pakistan's own Human Rights Commission, an estimated 1,000 women from minority communities are subjected to abduction, forced conversion and marriage in Pakistan every year. Pakistan has been the home and patron to the largest number of internationally proscribed terrorist entities and individuals in the world," she also said.
Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan
In July, the police in Punjab's Jhelum district had asked the Ahmadi leaders in the area to demolish the minarets as it was illegal to build them and threatened to demolish the place. The TLP had warned the police to destroy the minarets of the Ahmadi worship place there or they would attack it.
The Ahmadiyya community is one of the vulnerable communities in Pakistan and are often targeted by religious extremists. This is mainly due to their different beliefs, for which they are not considered as part of Islam.
In former Pakistan President Zia-ul-Haq's regime, it was a punishable offence for the Ahmadis to call themselves as Muslims or as part of Islam. The Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government in 1974 officially declared the Ahmadi community as non-Muslims.
Ahmadis are also banned from preaching and banned from pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) noted an alarming surge in attacks against the Ahmadi community members in Punjab province, including persecution by civil administration in several districts. The demolition of minarets is a common part of vandalism and desecration of Ahmadi worship places.
This year, at least 34 incidents have been reported of desecration of the minarets of Ahmadi worship places, mostly in Punjab province.
(with PTI inputs)