Authorities Must Halt Escalating Attacks on Ahmadiyya Minority Community in Pakistan

The Pakistani authorities must immediately end the harassment, intimidation, and attacks on the Ahmadiyya community and uphold their right to freedom of belief and religion.

The human rights organization documented 36 heart-wrenching cases of arbitrary arrests and detention, in addition to countless instances of police harassment of Ahmadis. From June 10 to 19, authorities issued orders barring religious rites by members of this minority group, casting a dark shadow over their fundamental rights. Several attacks on Ahmadi places of worship also took place, with authorities failing to ensure the safety and security of community members.

The continued oppression and violence against the Ahmadiyya community must cease. Their right to practice their faith in peace and without fear is a matter of human rights but of human dignity and justice.

At least 36 harrowing cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions of Ahmadis, aimed at preventing them from performing the religious rite of animal sacrifice, were reported in the province of Punjab. A 60-year-old man from the Ahmadiyya community in Punjab province shared a distressing account of police intrusion. The police unlawfully entered his house by scaling the walls while his family was sacrificing a goat on the first day of Eid. “The Ahmadiyya community faces threats every year, but this year has been unprecedented. They took eight of my family members into custody, including my sons, nephews, and brother-in-law, simply because we were practicing our faith within the four walls of our home. A sense of fear pervades the lives of all Ahmadis in my locality; many have been arrested,” he said.

On June 10, the Deputy Commissioner in Chakwal issued orders for the preventive detention of three Ahmadi men for 30 days on the pretext that they might perform the ritual of sacrificing an animal on Eid. The men were released two days later after being coerced into signing an affidavit, promising to refrain from performing the ritual. The Sialkot district administration issued similar oppressive orders to detain and prevent 16 Ahmadi men from observing their religious rites during Eid under the guise of maintaining public order.

The systematic harassment and unjust detentions underscore the grave plight of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan. Their fundamental right to practice their faith is being ruthlessly stripped away, casting a shadow of fear and injustice over their lives. This relentless persecution must end, and the authorities must take immediate action to protect the Ahmadiyya community’s right to religious freedom and uphold their human dignity.

In the early hours of Eid day, June 17, a violent mob of around 150 people launched a relentless attack on the Ahmadiyya place of worship in Kotli, Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir. The assailants opened fire and subsequently destroyed the minarets and arch of the building, leaving a scene of devastation and terror.

Just days earlier, on June 12, 17 graves of the Ahmadiyya community were desecrated in Basti Shukrani, Bahawalpur district, Punjab. Community members allege that the local TLP chapter was responsible for this desecration. These horrific attacks followed the religiously motivated killing of two Ahmadi men in Saad Ullah Pur, Mandi Bahauddin, on June 8, perpetrated by a teenage student from a local madrassah.

“Religious groups have been issuing open threats for weeks leading up to Eid, and despite a notification from the Ministry of Interior to provincial Inspector Generals and Chief Secretaries instructing an increase in security for Ahmadiyya places of worship, we have seen that the police and provincial governments have acted in extrajudicial ways across the country. It is clear that there is a lack of ownership of Ahmadis as citizens of Pakistan,” said Mahmood Iftikhar, a Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on June 10, the National Commission for Human Rights called on the government to ensure the protection of minorities “during vulnerable times such as the upcoming religious holidays.” Despite this plea, judicial and district authorities in Quaidabad in Punjab (June 15) and Mirpur (June 15) and Kotli (June 7) in Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir actively issued orders, preventing the sacrifice of any animal by Ahmadis. In Kotli, additional restrictions were placed on the distribution of meat by Ahmadis during the days of Eid ul-Azha.

“The active role of state bodies, such as the police and district authorities, in denying the community’s right to freedom of belief and religion is a grave violation of Pakistan’s international human rights obligations and Article 20 of the country’s own Constitution. The Government of Pakistan and provincial authorities must put in place safeguards to guarantee and ensure the safety and security of the Ahmadiyya community. Authorities must immediately release all those arbitrarily arrested and detained.

These acts of violence and systemic discrimination against the Ahmadiyya community underscore a dire need for immediate action. The repeated violations of their fundamental rights highlight an alarming lack of justice and humanity. The government must act now to protect the Ahmadiyya community and uphold their right to live and worship freely.

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