Lahore: Pakistani authorities did not permit Ahmadis in Rawalpindi district to offer Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at their mosque after false propaganda and baseless accusations against the place of worship, a spokesperson for the community said Wednesday.
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesperson Saleemuddin told PTI that the government and local administration had violated Article 20 of the Constitution by stopping Ahmadis from congregating for Eid prayers on Monday.
"Article 20 assures every citizen of his or her right to freely perform religious duties," he said.
Saleemuddin said the Ahmadis would never compromise or accept any pressure on their fundamental right to worship.
"This is not only a denial of religious freedom but also depriving the Ahmadis of an annual ritual where worship goes with social activity," he said.
"Eid is a religious event but it also has a huge social impact that brings people closer together and the authorities have deprived them of their right to peacefully gather on this annual event."
From many years, Ahmadis have been gathering at the Ewan-e-Tawheed in Rawalpindi to worship on Fridays and during festivals like Eid but the authorities have now stopped them following complaints from local clerics.
"This year, till the last minute, the local authorities gave us false hope that we could congregate and gather for Eid prayers," Saleemuddin said.
Pakistan's Ahmadis consider themselves Muslim but were declared non-Muslims through a constitutional amendment in 1974.
A decade later, they were barred from proselytising or identifying themselves as Muslims in Pakistan.Some 1.5 million Ahmadis live across the country.
Police in Punjab province have taken action against several Ahmadi mosques this year. They demolished the minarets of an Ahmadi mosque at Kharian city, 200 km from Lahore, last month.
In March, couplets from the Quran written on tiles at an Ahmadi mosque at Sultanpura in Lahore were removed by police.
Last week, police used used black paint to cover Quranic verses inscribed on 64 graves at a Ahmadi cemetery at Hafizabad, 90 km from Lahore.
First Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 23:45