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Human Rights body condemns harassment of religious minorities

2023 Jul 05, 12:48, Islamabad [Pakistan]

 The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned the harassment of religious minorities in Pakistan, especially in cases filed against them for engaging in ritual sacrifice during Eid-ul-Azha, The News International reported.

The HRCP alleged that no progressive society could afford to be held hostage to the whims of any group in this manner.

This statement came after a total of five FIRs have been registered across Punjab province against the Ahmadi community members for sacrificing animals on Eidul Azha, it emerged on Sunday, Dawn reported.

The complaints have been registered under Section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which elaborates on the penalty for persons of the Ahmadi group calling themselves Muslim or preaching or propagating their faith.

One of the two FIRs registered in Toba Tek Singh alleged that on the second day of Eid, the complainant and others saw Ahmadi citizens preparing to sacrifice animals and tried to stop them from "committing a crime," reported Dawn.

The HRCP said that such harassment flouts the 2022 Supreme Court judgement which upholds all religious minorities' fundamental rights as citizens of Pakistan, including their right to dignity and to practice their faith within their places of worship. All such cases must be quashed immediately, the HRCP demanded, as per The News International.

The News International, published in broadsheet size, is one of the largest English-language newspapers in Pakistan.

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

Earlier, Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) asked the Punjab province's home department to strictly implement the laws against the members of the Ahmadi community if they are performing Islamic rites on Eidul Azha, Dawn reported.

In a letter, dated June 22, 2023, addressed to the Punjab home secretary, LHCBA President Ishtiaq A Khan says offering "Eid prayers and qurbani" are Shaair-i-Islam (Islamic rites) exclusively to be observed by the Muslims.

It states that article 260(3) of the Constitution declared the "Qadyani group", and "Lahore group" (who called themselves Ahmadi or by any other names) have been declared non-Muslims since 1974.

The persecution of the Ahmadiyya community has been on the rise in different areas of Pakistan for some time now.

Earlier also, HRCP underscored an alarming uptick in the persecution of members of the Ahmadiyya community in Gujranwala and surrounding areas -- specifically, the desecration of their graves, the destruction of minarets at Ahmadi sites of worship, and First Information Reports (FIRs) filed against community members for carrying out ritual animal sacrifice on Eid.

Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jilani in his 2014 ruling has termed the attack and demolition of Ahmadiyya Mosques as a blatant violation of Pakistan's constitution and decision.


Pakistan HRCP Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Eid-ul-Azha Ahmadi community Lahore High Court Bar Association
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