Published Date: Feb 3, 2012
Minority concerns: Human rights activists criticise intimidation of Ahmadis in Rawalpindi
A recent protest against Ahmadis in Rawalpindi was an
act of harassment and in clear violation of the constitutional rights of
Pakistanis, said a press release issued by Insani Haqooq Ittehad (IHI).
Article 20 of the Constitution, every citizen has the freedom to profess,
practice and propagate their religion, said the press release.
The network, which represents over 30 rights-based civil society organisations,
urged all citizens to “unite in condemning this terrorising act in the
“Our public response is the only way to curb these tendencies of religious
vigilantism in our society,” the statement read.
The IHI also called upon the Chief Justice to take suo motu action against the
parties that organised the rally.
On January 29, over 5,000 people from various religious parties including
Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Jamaat-e-Islami, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat
gathered near a local hospital in Rawalpindi to protest against Ahmadis’
preaching and worshipping in the area.
The Ahmadis have built a building in Satellite Town and set up a place of
worship. The protesters claimed Ahmadis have raised high walls around their
building and installed security cameras, in addition to posting snipers at the
rooftop. They said the building looks more like a fortress than a religious
place, which creates problems for people.
On the other hand, Ahmadis say the building was built after Jamat-e-Ahmadia
purchased the land. Being a registered organisation and under the relevant
rules, they can continue worshipping in the building.
According to the members of the community, the barriers were erected following
the attacks on their worship place in Lahore in 2010. In addition to that, some
young men are also deputed to patrol every Friday, which is being done after
getting permission from the district administration, a representative of the