16 Ahmadi graves desecrated in Faisalabad

    Nearly 16 graves belonging to the Ahmadi community have allegedly been desecrated in a Faisalabad village, the community’s press section said on Tuesday night.

    In a series of tweets, the community’s media stated that “On the midnight of 21 & 22 August, an unfortunate incident took place when unknown person(s) desecrated 16 Ahmaddiya graves in a walled communal graveyard in Chak 203 RB Manawala, Distt Faisalabad. This graveyard is there since 1947. The culprits demolished all the said graves.”

    “This act has caused immense grief amongst the bereaved families who are looking at the government for justice. This act is not only illegal but is clearly against all human values. A total of 185 Ahmadiyya graves were desecrated this year,” it said in a subsequent tweet.

    “This continuous persecution testifies to the utter disregard of Ahmadiyya Community rights and creates a sense of deep insecurity within the Community. The Govt needs to take effective measures to stop this onslaught and hold the culprits accountable,” another tweet stated.

    The community says such acts have become a routine, leaving them as beleaguered in death as they are in life.

    On Feb 4, 45 gravestones of Ahmadiyya people were allegedly demolished by policemen in Hafizabad district of Punjab. The desecration followed complaints from a local resident who objected to the community’s use of holy verses on its tombstones.

    A spokesperson of the community said the desecration was carried out at a graveyard established in 1974.

    Mainstream Pakistani Muslims consider Ahmadis as heretics because of their belief that their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophesized messiah.

    In 1984, President General Zia Ul Haq promulgated Ordinance XX introducing Ahmadiyya-specific laws to prohibit Ahmadis from indulging in “anti-Islamic activities” by restricting them from referring to themselves as Muslims or preaching their belief.

    The Ahmadiyya population in Pakistan has declined over almost two decades, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics report on the sixth Population and Housing Census-2017, released last year.

    Ahmadiyya people make up 0.09 percent of Pakistan’s population of 207.68 million. But the 1998 census showed that they formed 0.21 percent of the 132 million people in Pakistan at the time.

    Last year police in Sharaqpur Sharif, also in Punjab province, registered blasphemy cases against 11 Ahmadiyya people and organisers of the community for inscribing Islamic phrases on gravestones.

    In a separate incident in June 2021, a mob allegedly tried to prevent the burial of an Ahmadi woman in a cemetery in Sheikhupura, Punjab. Authorities vowed to take action against those responsible for the attack and ruled that Ahmadis would be buried in ‘predetermined sites’ in the future.

    According to Rabwah records, 39 Ahmadiyya corpses were exhumed, while 69 burials of Ahmadiyya people were denied in the common cemetery from 1984 to 2018.

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