Six Ahmedis booked in Sialkot

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SIALKOT: The police in Bambanwala have registered a case against six people belonging to Ahmadiyya community for registering as Muslim voters in 2015 local bodies’ election.

Police registered the case against the individuals on the basis of showing their credentials as Muslims in their National Identity Card (NIC) and registering under the list of Muslims for voting purposes.

The case was registered after direction from the Lahore High Court (LHC) on the petition of one Mazhar Hammed. The accused were also booked on charges of preaching their faith.

On May 21, 2017, two Ahmedis were sentenced to three years in prison by a court in Faisalabad under the Pakistan Penal Code’s (PPC) blasphemy laws.

Meanwhile, four members of the community were arrested in Sheikhupura for committing blasphemy, whereas, one of the accused was killed in the police custody and others were later awarded death sentences.

On July 1, another Ahmedi was sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly defiling the Holy Quran (PPC article 295-B) during the November 2015 arson attack in Jehlum by a mob on Pakistan Chipboard Factory which was owned by an Ahmedi.

On March 30, an Ahmedi lawyer, 69-year-old Malik Saleem Latif – who happened to be a cousin of Pakistan’s Nobel laureate, Dr Abdus Salam – was murdered in Nankana Sahib, while a veterinary doctor was killed in Lahore on April 7. The banned Jamaatul Ahrar claimed responsibility for those murders.

On April 18, an Ahmedi professor was found stabbed to death in her house in the residential colony of the University of Punjab (PU).

Last year, six Ahmedis were slain due to their faith. A seventh, 65-year-old Khalid Javed, died of a heart attack when the Ahmedi place of worship in Chakwal was fired at by an unruly mob.

Since 1984, when the blasphemy laws were amended to include several Ahmedi-specific clauses, more than 250 Ahmedis have been killed, according to data collected by the community.

The community has 10-20 million followers worldwide who face discrimination in a number of Muslim-majority nations such as Indonesia and Algeria, as well as being ostracised by large parts of the Muslim community in Britain.

There are about half a million Ahmedis in Pakistan, local leaders say, though other estimates have put the number at two-four million.