Pak police demolish minarets of Ahmadi sect mosque
Lahore: Pakistani police have demolished the minarets of a mosque of the Ahmadi sect in Punjab province following a complaint from a Sunni group, members of the minority sect said on Wednesday.
The minarets of the Ahmadi mosque were demolished late Tuesday night at Kharian city, 200 km from Lahore, despite concerns expressed by the minority community.
Leaders of the 5,000-strong Ahmadi community of Kharian alleged that police had acted to please their "fellow brethren".
"All this happened at the behest of a maulvi (cleric), Saqib Ghazi, of the Barelvi sect. Ghazi came and incited local clerics against Ahmadis and their worship places," Salimuddin, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community, told a news agency.
Ahmadis and other Muslims had been living peacefully together in Kharian for years, Salimuddin said.
"Due to the instigation of the clerics, the people demanded the demolition of the minarets of Baitul Hamd," he said.
Ghazi filed an application in the local police station, demanding action under Section 298 B and C of an ordinance issued in 1984, which declares it illegal for Ahmadis to act or look like Muslims, to practice or propagate their faith and to call their place of worship a mosque.
"Yesterday, police demolished five small minarets. The remaining two big minarets are scheduled for demolition today," Salimuddin said.
Following the demolition, there was tension among Muslims and Ahmadis of the area, he said.
"We are contemplating moving the court but we are not hopeful of getting justice," he added.
Reports said the clerics who had complained to the police were affiliated with Tehrik-e-Tahaffuz-e-Islam, a Barelvi religious organisation.
Earlier this year, a court in Lahore ordered police to act against another Ahmadi mosque in May.
In March, couplets from the Quran written on tiles at an Ahmadi mosque at Sultanpura in Lahore were removed by police.
Ahmedis 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 Ahmedis live across the country.
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