Lahore, Jun 10 (PTI) Forty people belonging to the minority Ahmadi community have been booked under terrorism charges in Pakistan for having a quarrel with Islamists over the burial of a woman of their community in a Muslim graveyard in Punjab province.
The incident took place on June 6 in Mauza Phaiwalai, Safdarabad, Sheikhupura district, some 50 kms from Lahore when a group of Islamists ‘forced’ the Ahmadi community to bury their dead in a ‘non-Muslim’ graveyard.
Tension is still prevailing in the area and most of the local Ahmadis have left their residences fearing attack by the Islamists.
According to the Ahmadi community, local clerics made announcements at mosques in Safdarabad, inciting the people not to allow the burial of Ahmadi woman in the Muslim graveyard.
'The people of the religious group tried to stop the burial but the woman was laid to rest. The group members insisted to remove the body from their graveyard which led scuffle between the Ahmadis and the members of a religious group,' it said.
Police registered two separate FIRs – one against the Ahmadi community and other against some 20 members of the religious group - for fighting over the burial of the woman.
The 40 Ahmadi community members have been booked under various sections of Pakistan Penal Code and sections of Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC). As many as 20 Islamists have also been booked under various sections of Pakistan Penal Code.
Ahmadi community Punjab spokesperson Amir Mahmood told PTI on Thursday that the members of the religious group forcefully stopped the Ahmadi community to bury their dead and also resorted to firing but contrary to this, police registered FIR against the community under terrorism charges.
'Our community is victim and police should have taken action against those involved in violence,' he said and demanded quashing the FIR against the Ahmadi community members.
Mahmood said the Ahmadi community of Safdarabad used to bury their dead in the Phaiwalai (Sheikhupura) graveyard. “But this was made an issue without any reason,” he added.
Religious group members have warned the administration to implement its demands otherwise they would block the district from the rest of the country. Its demands include quashment of FIR against Muslims.
Safdarabad police station official Tariq Mahmood told PTI on Thursday that police would not allow anyone to take law into his hand. He said that an ‘understanding’ has been reached between the two groups to withdraw applications filed against each other in the presence of the local administration. 'This matter will be resolved amicably,” he added.
Pakistan’s Parliament in 1974 declared the Ahmadi community as non-Muslims. A decade later, they were banned from calling themselves Muslims. They are banned from preaching and even from travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.
In Pakistan, around 10 million out of the 220 million population are non-Muslims. PTI MZ ZH ZH