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16 Graves of Ahmadi Community Desecrated in Pakistan's Punjab Province

Unidentified persons allegedly desecrated sixteen graves of Ahmadis in a walled communal graveyard near Lahore.

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16 Graves of Ahmadi Community Desecrated in Pakistan's Punjab Province
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Sixteen graves of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan's Punjab province were allegedly desecrated by religious extremists for using Islamic symbols on gravestones, a spokesperson of the Ahmadi community said on Wednesday, 24 August.

According to Aamir Mahmood, the spokesperson of Jamaat Ahmadiya Punjab, a group of unidentified individuals desecrated sixteen graves of Ahmadis in a walled communal graveyard in Faisalabad district, approximately 150 km from Lahore, news agency PTI reported.

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The symbols on the tombstones are Islamic verses and inscribed on a number of graves in the graveyard.

Aamir Mahmood told PTI that the graveyard was 75 years old.

He alleged that the Muslim clerics in the area were inciting hatred against Ahmadis, leading to religious extremists desecrating their graves.

185 Ahmadi Graves Desecrated This Year: Mahmood

"This act has caused immense grief among the bereaved families who are looking to the government for justice. This act is not only illegal but is clearly against all human values," Mahmood said.

He added that there had been a number of such incidents in the past in various parts of Pakistan.

"A total of 185 Ahmadi graves were desecrated this year alone," Mahmood added.

Further, he said that "this continuous persecution" evidently shows the lack of regard for the Ahmadi community and its rights and that it creates a deep sense of insecurity among the minority community.

Mahmood urged the Pakistani government to take effective steps to curb the attack and hold the perpetrators accountable.

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In 1974, Pakistan's Parliament declared the Ahmadi community as non-Muslims. Ten years later, they were banned from referring to themselves as Muslims. They are currently banned from preaching and travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.

Around 10 million people out of the 220 million population of Pakistan are non-Muslims. The minority communities in conservative, Muslim-majority Pakistan have previously complained of harassment by religious extremists.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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Topics:  Pakistan   hate crime   Minority Rights 

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