Jhelum police have demolished minarets at an Ahmadi worship place after activists of a religious party threatened to storm the premises and destroy the structures themselves, an Ahmadi community spokesperson said.
“The minarets of our worship place in Kala Gujran area of Jhelum district were razed on the night of July 14 and 15,” the spokesperson said.
He added that a local leader of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, Asim Ashfaq Rizvi had threatened the District Police Officer (DPO) of Jhelum that if the administration did not demolish the minarets by the 10th of Muharram, then they would gather people and do it themselves.
On July 14, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) summoned representatives of the local Ahmadi community and directed them to demolish the minarets themselves. However, the Ahmadi community maintained that the construction of the minarets was not illegal.
According to the spokesperson, on the night of July 14, around midnight, the police arrived at the Ahmadi worship place, confiscated the mobile phones of the worshippers present there, caused damage to CCTV cameras, and then demolished the minarets. After the operation, the people were released.
The spokesperson stated that the incident was regrettable and a blatant violation of the rights of the Ahmadiyya community.
In a ruling issued on June 19, 2014, by a three-member bench headed by Justice (r) Tasadduq Hussain Gillani, under SMC No. 1 of 2014, instructions were given to ensure the protection of worship places, including the establishment of a special police force for this purpose.
Responding to the matter, Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony, stated that no individual has the authority to cause harm to any religious worship place. “There is a law in place. If any individual or group has a complaint, they should pursue legal avenues,” he added.
He further stated that the country’s Constitution and law clearly state that non-Muslims cannot construct domes or minarets on their worship places, nor can they adopt Islamic rituals.
It should be noted that the Ahmadi community has worship places in various cities of the country, including Lahore, which are quite ancient and have minarets built on them.
Meanwhile, the TLP has stated that they had informed the police about their sentiments in accordance with the Constitution and law, and the police took action on their own, adding that no individual took the law into their own hands.