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Pakistan detains 3 Ahmadis to prevent them from performing religious rites

Authorities in Pakistan’s Chakwal district have detained three leading members of the minority Ahmadiyya community for one month to prevent them from performing religious rites during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha festival.

Chakwal’s Deputy Commissioner Quratul Ain Malik issued separate detention orders on June 10 for the three men, all residents of Dulmial village, where a mob had attacked an Ahmadi mosque in 2016, resulting in two deaths.

The historic mosque, built in the mid-19th century, remains sealed by local authorities since the attack, with its fate uncertain.

In her orders, Malik cited a police report alleging the three men “may cause deterioration of the law and order situation in the area.” She invoked Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Act 1960 for the detentions, which were recommended by the District Intelligence Committee to “prevent sectarian conflict.”

The detained men were subsequently arrested and sent to Jhelum prison.

Amir Mehmood, a spokesperson for the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, said the three were called for a meeting on Monday where they faced immense pressure from opponents not to perform animal sacrifices (Qurbani) during Eid. They were harassed and told to submit surety bonds stating no Ahmadi in the district would perform the ritual.

The detentions have drawn strong condemnation from Amnesty International, which termed it a “gross violation of individual’s rights to liberty and freedom of belief and religion.”

“The ‘preventive detention’ of three members of the Ahmadiyya community yesterday in Chakwal to stop them from engaging in religious rites during the upcoming Eid al-Adha is a gross violation of individual’s rights,” the rights group stated.

The incident comes just days after two Ahmadi men were killed in a targeted attack in Mandi Bahauddin on June 8.

Amnesty has urged the Punjab government to immediately release the three detainees and ensure the Ahmadiyya community is provided protection during Eid to peacefully exercise their religious beliefs.

The Ahmadiyya community faces frequent discrimination and persecution as a religious minority in Pakistan.

(Inputs from ANI)

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Last Updated: 20th Jul 2024