Lahore: A group of radical Islamists allegedly stopped the Ahmadi minority community from burying their dead at a graveyard in Punjab province of Pakistan, police said on Thursday.
The incident took place in Sheikhupua’s village Sahwala, some 60 kms from Lahore.
According to police, several people led by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) activists reached the graveyard at Sahwala after an announcement was made from a mosque that Ahmadis were going to bury their dead there.
They thrashed the gravediggers for preparing the grave for an Ahmadi, which they called “non-Muslim and infidel” and raised slogans.
A police team, led by the deputy superintendent of police (DSP), reached the spot and controlled the situation.
Both Muslims and Ahmadis would bury their dead in the graveyard in question in the past. But now it has become an issue because of the involvement of the TLP.
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan official Amir Mahmood told PTI that an Ahmadi community member died in Sahwala village.
“However, before the Ahmadis could take the body to the graveyard for burial, religious extremists equipped with weapons reached there and beat their fellow Muslims for digging out the grave,” he said and added, that the Ahmadis had to take the body 100 kms away in Rabwa area to bury the deceased.
He said it was a joint graveyard for Muslims and Ahmadis for decades. The police should have taken action against those barges into the graveyard and beat the gravediggers.
No FIR has been registered so far.
Last week, police under the pressure of religious extremists, destroyed the tombstones of 80 graves belonging to the minority Ahmadi community in Daska, about 100 kms from Lahore.
As many as 42 incidents of desecration of worship places of the Ahmadi minority community took place last year in various parts of Pakistan mostly in Punjab.
The Ahmadi community has been suffering severe discrimination for a long time and persecution allegedly from religious extremists and some state institutions. They are usually referred to as Qadianis in Pakistan, which is considered a derogatory term.
Pakistan’s Parliament in 1974 declared the Ahmadi community as non-Muslims. A decade later, they were banned from calling themselves Muslims.