LAHORE: The Pakistani authorities must end harassment, intimidation and attacks on the Ahmadiyya community and uphold its right to freedom of belief and religion, especially during the religious holidays such as Eidul Azha, said Amnesty International.

It documented 36 cases of arrests and detention in addition to dozens of cases of alleged police harassment of the Ahmadis from June 10 to 19. Several attacks on Ahmadi places of worship also took place with the authorities failing to ensure their security.

“The authorities must end the growing attacks on the Ahmadis. They must respect, protect the human rights of the members of the community,” said Livia Saccardi, the deputy regional director for South Asia at Amnesty International, on the website of the organisation.

“These incidents of human rights violations by district administrations across Pakistan have demonstrated a pattern that Ahmadis remain one of the most systematically discriminated communities in Pakistan,” she added.

Speaking to AI, a 60-year-old man from the Ahmadiyya community in Punjab alleged the police entered his house without lawful authority by scaling the walls on the first day of Eid.

“The Ahmadiyya community faces threats every year, but this year has been unprecedented. They took eight of my family members into custody, including my sons, nephews and brother-in-law simply because we were practising our faith within the four walls of our home,” he said.

AI reviewed 11 FIRs filed against 14 members of the Ahmadiyya community on June 17 and 18 in Toba Tek Singh, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Sargodha, Khushab and Gojra. These FIRs contained charges under the blasphemy laws and several of these FIRs are based on complaints filed by affiliates of the TLP, the human rights organisation said.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2024

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