LAHORE: The Lahore investigation police arrested eight members of the Ahmadi community for alleged preaching of their beliefs in the Badami Bagh area the other day.
Police acted after a violent mob, believed to be of the members of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), allegedly attacked a factory, owned by an Ahmadi man. There were reports that the attackers held some members of the Ahmadi community hostage, damaged the furniture and some parts of the factory. The situation turned ugly after the attackers reportedly thrashed the Ahmadis and one of them called police for help.
However, police denied the attack by the TLP men, claiming that the members of the Ahmadi community were preaching their religion, which was not allowed under the law.
However, according to some conflicting reports, the owner of the factory and his son were booked by the Badami Bagh police under Section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code for preaching in the area while posing as Muslims.
Police action follows attack on factory owned by an Ahmadi
The first information report (FIR) was registered on July 31, nominating the factory owner and his son who closed down their business (factory) and went underground.
The reports stated that some members of the Ahmadi community revisited the factory to take back some leftover luggage when the mob of the TLP men attacked them.
Police arrived and took eight Ahmadis into custody from the spot and shifted them to the undisclosed location, the sources said, adding that a delegation of the community later met the police high-ups and complained to them about the local police’s excessive action.
A video clip of the police action also went viral on social media, showing the policemen taking some Ahmadis into custody in a van and several charged people raising slogans against the community.
Inspector General of Police Dr Usman Anwar contradicted the social media reports, saying the TLP was not involved in the matter and it was raised by some local residents.
Quoting the official version of the Lahore police, he said all the arrests came following the FIR lodged against the Ahmadis.
“The factory was not stormed by the TLP workers,” he said and added that there was a facebook post regarding the son of the factory owner who used to preach Ahmadi faith.
On query by the locals, the IGP said, the owner closed down his factory and fled along with his son to avoid arrest.
The Badami Bagh police lodged a case against them on the complaint of a local man.
Some two days back, Dr Anwar said, six Ahmadis were nominated in the supplementary statement by the Lahore investigation wing and were shifted to the South Cantt Police Station to save them from the wrath of the religious people.
The video clip that went viral on social media was of the later incident, he said, adding that no one got injured and the factory and other valuables were not damaged.
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2023