Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pakistani Police harasses Ahmadi muslim children engaged in civic volunteer works in Chenab Nagar

Leave it to the police to think out-of-the-box when coming up with ways to harass minorities.

On Wednesday, police officials in Chenab Nagar, Chiniot District – where the headquarters of the Jamat-e-Ahmadia is located – allegedly harassed Ahmadi children who were volunteering in a traffic awareness campaign.

Members of the Itfalul Ahmadia – an Ahmadi children’s organisation – were conducting an awareness campaign of traffic rules while standing on a roadside.

Police officials saw them and swept into action, snatching up their pamphlets and taking one of the children into custody.

At this point, an adult member of the community intervened.

They claim ASI Muhammad Asif said he would lodge a case against them for violating labour laws by making the children work on the streets.

In reply, the youth told the officials that they were standing there voluntarily to conduct the campaign and were not forced to labour, Amir Mehmood from the Jamat-e-Ahmadia media cell told The Express Tribune.

Mehmood added that the police have released the boy, but he had been traumatised by the incident.

”The children were targeted only because they are Ahmadis,” he said.

The Express Tribune tried to contact ASI Asif to comment on the incident, but he could not be reached.

Moreover, Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) parliamentarian Muhammad Ilyas Chinioti recently filed an application in the Punjab assembly to restrict the movement of the marginalised community.

Chinioti’s resolution could not be carried in the last session which took place on February 17.

It is expected that it will be taken up in the next session, however, the date for the sitting has yet to be announced.

”Ahmadis are spreading their religious beliefs via social media and after legal consultation, I will lodge a case against them,” Chinioti told The Express Tribune.

The resolution he has tabled claims that Ahmadis “are posing as Muslims, which is illegal and unconstitutional”.

It goes on to state that Ahmadis could not call their place of worship a mosque in addition to building minarets or a mehrab.

The resolution says that Ahmadis are proscribed from using the words of the shahada in any way or even using a minaret in a picture.

The PML-N parliamentarian vowed to move the state machinery against Ahmadis at every front to restrict their activities.

Saleemuddin, the spokesperson of Jamat-e-Ahmadia Pakistan, commenting on the situation said, on one hand, an operation is going on against militancy and hate and on the other hand, Ahmadis are being victimised at the hands of the state.

He added that Ahmadis are law abiding citizens and the security forces should come forward against this victimisation.

The spokesperson said that instead of protecting them, the police has resorted to harassing them.

The harassment of these children is a part of a wider campaign against the minority.

”Religious hardliners one or another to subject them to religious discrimination and to spread hatred against them,” the spokesperson added.

He said the ruling party should prohibit elected representatives from spearheading hate campaigns against Ahmadis.

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