A member of the Ahmadi community was booked in Gojra, Toba Tek Singh district on Monday, at the complaint of an official of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), for sacrificing a goat on Eidul Azha.

The first information report (FIR), a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was registered under Section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Section 298-C of the PPC elaborates on the penalty for a person of the Ahmadi group calling themselves a Muslim or preaching or propagating their faith.

In the FIR, the complainant stated that he was informed that a person of Ahmadi faith was sacrificing a goat at a village in Gojra.

Upon reaching the village, the FIR states, the complainant found that the person was indeed sacrificing the animal “at his home”.

“When he was warned,” the complainant said, “he stood firm and called himself a Muslim.”

The FIR said that the suspect had “hurt the sentiments of Muslims by sacrificing an animal and claiming to be a Muslim”.

“The suspect has committed severe abuse by following the rituals of Islam while pretending to be a Muslim,” it said.

According to Amir Mehmood, a spokesman for the Jamaat Ahmadiyya in Pakistan, religious freedom was denied to the community due to alarming reports of harassment and violence reported across Punjab on the sacred day of Eid.

“Shocking reports of police and extremists raiding Ahmadi homes, confiscating meat. What kind of Eid celebrations is this for Ahmadis in Pakistan?” the spokesperson questioned, adding that the Supreme Court (SC) clear orders were ignored.

A 2022 Supreme Court judgement ruled that obstructing non-Muslims from practising their religion within the confines of their place of worship was against the Constitution.

At least nine FIRs have been registered across Punjab against the Ahmadi community, he stated.

Data collected by the spokesperson claimed that three FIRs were filed in Sheikhupura, while one each was filed in Gujranwala, Rahim Yyar Khan, Toba Tek Singh and Sargodha.

Two members of the Ahmadiyya community were shot dead in Punjab’s Mandi Bahauddin earlier this month.

The FIRs were similar to the five registered across Punjab last year against the Ahmadi community for sacrificing animals.

SC order

A 2022 judgement of the Supreme Court, penned by Justice Mansoor Ali shah, stated that “to deprive a non-Muslim (minority) of our country from holding his religious beliefs, to obstruct him from professing and practicing his religion within the four walls of his place of worship is against the grain of our democratic Constitution and repugnant to the spirit and character of our Islamic Republic”.

The written order stated: “It also deeply bruises and disfigures human dignity and the right to privacy of a non-Muslim minority, who like all other citizens of this country enjoy the same rights and protections under the Constitution.

“Bigoted behaviour towards our minorities paints the entire nation in poor colour, labelling us as intolerant, dogmatic and rigid. It is time to embrace our constitutional values and live up to our rich Islamic teachings and traditions of equality and tolerance.”

The judgement was issued in connection with a case registered against an individual from an Ahmadi community for “styling their place of worship as a mosque and displaying Shaair-i-Islam on the walls inside their place of worship”.

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