New attacks against the Ahmadiyya community in Karachi raise concerns about the complicity between public security forces and private bands of thugs.
by Marco Respinti
On January, 18, 2023, three thugs entered the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque on Martin Road in Karachi, Pakistan, and desecrated two of its minarets. “The upper portion of the minaret,” the International Human Rights Committee reports, “has been smashed to bits. The attackers left behind the ladder and a sledgehammer. They fled as soon as the police arrived. This is the third desecration of an Ahmadi Muslim Mosque this month.”
The IHRC is a non-profit and non-governmental organization focusing on freedom of religion or belief based in London, and offers first-hand news on the discrimination and persecution of the Ahmadis. As it points out, “[l]ast month police destroyed minarets at the Ahmadiyya Mosque in Baghbanpura, Gujranwala and few days ago, a 108-year-old Ahmadiyya Mosque in Moti Bazaar Wazirabad was desecrated by the police.”
In Pakistan, the persecution of the Ahmadiyya community boasts the sad record of being the only state-sponsored politics of bigotry in a Muslim country against a Muslim community. For the Muslim Pakistani government, the Ahmadis are in fact non-Muslim heretics. That scholars may disagree is regarded as irrelevant, and the persecution of this group reaches levels of true sadism.
As IHRC reports, quoting information from the Deputy Superintendent of the local police received by the organization, police officers in Adda, Tehsil Gojra, District Toba Tek Singh, forced Ahmadis “to demolish Minarets from their own Ahmadiyya Mosque by themselves.”
What is most staggering is that this is contrary to Pakistan law, as the Supreme Court of Pakistan stated in its recommendations (PLD 2014 SC 699).
Yet, again, on February 2, 2023, vandals attacked the Ahmadiyya Hall, built in 1950 in Saddar Karachi (the commercial district of the Pakistani city), and razed its minarets to the ground.
Around 5-10 persons climbed up the wall, IRHC denounces, and hit the structure with a hammer. A video widely circulated on social media documents the incident.
On February 3, two more serious incidents took place late at night in the province of Sindh. Two Ahmadi mosques were attacked. In Noor Nagar, a village in the Umerkot District, unknown assailants climbed the boundary walls of the local Ahmadi mosque, poured gasoline, and set it on fire. Similarly in Goth Chaudary Javed Ahmed at Goth Ghazi Khan Mirani, in Mirpur Khas District, the minarets of the Ahmadi mosque were ravaged by a group of unidentified aggressors before the whole building was set on fire.
Yet another attack happened on February 4. Around 8:30pm, another group of fanatics opened fire near the Prayer Centre of the Satellite Town neighborhood of Mirpur Khas City, the capital of the homonymous district. Ahmadis believers were inside the Centre. Bullets were found in the gate and the boundary walls.
The situation is rapidly escalating, and the call to authorities to stop both private thugs and abuse by their own police officers is becoming more urgent every single day.