In a show of a religious extremism, an area of worship for the Ahmadi minority in Sialkot was recently demolished. On Thursday, the representative of the Ahmadi community voiced his condemnation of this nonsensical act.
The Hakeem Hasam Uddin building located in Sialkot was demolished on Wednesday 23rd May at 11:00pm. A rough sum of 35 people ushered by the local police of the area took charge of knocking it down. What was even more disturbing than taking down a place of worship belonging to the Ahmedi minority community was the support of more than 600 people. They spent seven hours taking down a building that had existed for more than a decade.
Several images and videos have recently been doing rounds on the internet demonstrating various people from the Tehsil committee using iron bars to break the minaret down. In another video, Hafiz Hamid Rana, a man strongly linked to PTI leader Imran Khan, was witnessed expressing his gratitude for the ability of the men to have been able to conduct the act. With appalling audacity he claimed this act to be nothing short of one done “as a symbol of Islam.”
The spokesperson who released a press release also demanded action against the vandalizers. In the statement, he said: “Vandalism of buildings by the governmental administration for the mere satisfaction of extremist forces without any judicial order only goes to demonstrate the fact that the civil establishment has given up in front of elements that use religion to seek their personal and organisational interests.”
Not only did he claim damage repairs but also demanded the protection of the minorities urging the government to charge the vandalizers in the court of law. However, the action was justified by the authorities not as an act of religious extremism but because the building was established on unoccupied illegal land. This claim was backed up by Tauheed Akhtar, mayor of the city.
Akhtar said the building was in strict violation of rules and therefore, the building ‘had’ to be wrecked. It is difficult to fathom that this is how the Mayor decided to resolve the matter; by putting the lives of the minority in danger. Akhtar dismissed his responsibility by claiming that further legal action will be taken solely by the police forces.
Mob in Sialkot vandalized Ahmadi Mosque Bait ul Mubarik. As per @SaleemudDinAA local Tehsil Muncipal Admin is backing the mob & intends to destroy another historical building of the Community as well. No LEAs on site to protect. Would this mob be punished under 295PPC @CMShehbaz? pic.twitter.com/rjiCHSJdSN
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) May 24, 2018
JUST IN: Extremist Sunni mob attacked Ahmadi Mosque in Sialkot, Mosque & accompanying house being demolished right now. Remember local Ahmadis in your prayers, RT & tag media/authorities. Painful that Ahmadi Muslims have to bear such violence in Ramadan. #AhmadiApartheid pic.twitter.com/waLln75xXe
— Kashif N Chaudhry (@KashifMD) May 23, 2018
— Ehsan Rehan (@Ehzan) May 24, 2018
The mere fact that this audacious act was led by a man connected to Imran Khan does not bode well for the politician. Khan has previously mentioned his stance on Ahmadi’s and even backed out from hiring one as his finance minister. This only puts to question whether Khan and his policies can be trusted to protect the very fragile rights of minorities. With his open dislike and this recent demolition; one can only wonder if his leadership is nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen.
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