LAHORE: Police and locals allegedly removed Islamic symbols from the graves of the members of Ahmadiyya community in a graveyard in a village in Gujranwala on July 13.

A member of the Ahmadiyya Community told Dawn that the graveyard in Tirigri village was established in 1960 and it remained a shared graveyard of the Muslims and Ahmadis till 1967.

He said around 90 per cent of graves belonged to the Ahmadiyya community and after they were declared minority, the Muslims had separated their graveyard.

He said some locals lodged complaints with the Rahwali police to remove the Islamic symbols from graves on July 3. “The station in charge called the Ahmadiyya community to address the issue,” he said

He said they were pressured by the police to sign a permission to remove the symbols and they had to accept it under duress. A Rahwali police official denied pressuring the members of the Ahmadiyya community.

He said that they were not allowed to use the symbols under the constitution of Pakistan.

A spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya community said on one side while the state is trying to give the impression that Pakistan supports religious harmony and tolerance and on the other hand is following the desires of the extremists to carry out activities against a marginalized community.

He said the Ahmadis residing in Pakistan are not at peace even after their demise.

According to a complaint lodged by Muhammad Ikram with the Rahwali Cantonment police, the Ahmadiyya community was using Islamic symbols on gravestones which were creating unrest among the locals. On his application, the police took action.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020

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