Graves belonging to minority sect desecrated in Pak

The graves in the Ahmadi graveyard at Dunyapur in Lodhran district, 100 km from the historic city of Multan, were desecrated late on Saturday night.

Updated: Dec 05, 2011, 15:08 PM IST

Islamabad: In a gruesome incident, the graves of 29 people belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect were desecrated by unidentified persons in Pakistan`s Punjab
province, according to a media report on Monday.

The graves in the Ahmadi graveyard at Dunyapur in Lodhran district, 100 km from the historic city of Multan, were desecrated late on Saturday night.

Ahmadi community spokesman Saleemuddin said unidentified persons entered the graveyard and broke a large number of tombstones and dug up 29 graves.

Only two graves that were made of marble were left untouched, Saleemuddin told The Express Tribune.

Representatives of the community had approached police and submitted an application for legal action but no investigation had been undertaken so far, he said.

Police officials said the issue would be investigated after the community repaired the graves, he said.

Lodhran district police chief Agha Muhammad Yusuf confirmed that the graveyard had been desecrated and a senior police officer was looking into the matter.

He said he would look into the case after investigations are completed.

The graveyard was reportedly established in 1976 though Saleemuddin said said it was made 80 years ago.

Religious tension is high in Dunyapur where around 15 families belonging to the Ahmadi community reside, the report said.

Ahmadis were declared "non-Muslims" in Pakistan in the 1970s. Since then, members of the community have been targeted by religious zealots.

Dozens of members of the sect have died in attacks by banned groups like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba in recent years.

Saleemuddin said about six months ago, a private school run by a member of the Ahmadi community was forcefully closed down by residents of Dunyapur.

People took to the streets to shut down the school where many Muslim children were educated free of cost, he said.

The next phase of persecution may be the takeover of business and properties of Ahmadis, he said.

Around two months ago, another Ahmadi graveyard at Haveli Majokan in Sargodha district was dug up, humiliating and angering the community.

Saleemuddin said the desecration of graves of Ahmadis had increased over the past few months and a total of 30 such cases had been recorded across the country.

PTI