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Mob 'besieging' Ahmadi place of worship in Chakwal dispersed by police

Updated Dec 13, 2016 07:22am
A photo of the Ahmadi place of worship in Chakwal. ─ Photo courtesy Rabwah Times Twitter
A photo of the Ahmadi place of worship in Chakwal. ─ Photo courtesy Rabwah Times Twitter

A charged mob of around 1,000 people which reportedly besieged an Ahmadi place of worship in Chakwal was dispersed by police on Monday, officials said.

The place of worship located in the limits of the Chowas Saidan Shah police station area in Chakwal's Dhalmial district was 'attacked' by nearly 1,000 people, according to the Jamaat-i-Ahmaddiya Pakistan Spokesperson Saleem-ud-Din.

Saleem-ud-Din said a mob armed with batons and weapons was throwing stones and firing on the premises. The mob was "attempting to seize Ahmadiyya property," he said.

Deputy Commissioner Chakwal Mahmood Javed Bhatti said the mob hurled stones and bricks at the place of worship before storming the building, adding that gunmen opened fire on Ahmadis in the area. The DC said that police have now dispersed the crowd and secured the building.

Rashid Ahmad, a local police official, said the mob also set fire to part of the building.

Station House Officer Chowas Saidan Shah Sub Inspector (SI) Muhammad Nawaz told Dawn that police had dispersed the crowd. The situation is under control now, he confirmed, adding that police had not decided on what action to take.

District police officer Chakwal said that a dialogue between local religious leaders and district administration is ongoing.

SI Muhammad Nawaz added that there had been no reports of any casualties.

The Jamaat-i-Ahmaddiya Pakistan spokesperson, however, claimed that there had been one killed in the incident, but was unable to identify the dead.

The Government of Punjab earlier said it was "following up" on the Chakwal incident.

The provincial government's Twitter claimed, "As per details, a misunderstanding developed between the two groups. Home Department is vigilantly following up the issue."

It is unclear which groups were involved in the incident.

Request for security

In a letter addressed to the district coordination officer, the Ahmadiyya community requested provision of security at its Dhalmial place of worship.

Letter sent by Ahmadiyya community dated December 5
Letter sent by Ahmadiyya community dated December 5

The letter is dated December 5.

The letter stated that the life and property of Ahmadis might be endangered and the procession planned for today might "try to forcibly occupy Ahmadi's worship place".

It was also claimed in the letter that similar reports have been received from the villages of Bohn and Puchnand.

"You are kindly requested to take adequate security measures to protect the life and properties and worship places of the Ahmadia community," added the letter.