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Persecution of Ahmadis continues despite attacks
By Afnan Khan
LAHORE: Persecution of Ahmadi community continues even after the worst ever attacks on their worship places in Lahore in May last year.
A few weeks back, a terrorist blew himself up outside an Ahmadi place of worship in Mughalpura area. The terrorist had been caught red-handed and released by police some time back.
Daily Times had, in December 2010, reported that a terrorist attack on the stated place or local Ahmadis in the area was likely, as a hate campaign had been launched against them by local hardliners and extremists.
A seminary present in the area spearheaded the campaign. It not only pasted a large number of posters against Ahmadis on walls in the main Gunj Bazaar of the area but also forbade the locals from burying their dead in the related graveyard despite the fact that these people had been living in the area even before the partition (of Subcontinent) and their forefathers had been buried there.
The management of the worship place told Daily Times that they had caught a suicide attacker on April 15 with the help of police guards just before prayers at 12:40 pm.
The management said that the terrorist, who was in his early twenties, had been waiting for the prayers to start and looking for an opportunity to sneak into the worship place and blow himself up.
But, it added, one of the volunteers spotted the suicide vest the terrorist had been wearing under his shirt and caught him with the help of other volunteers and police guards present there.
Later, a heavy police contingent, led by the station house officer, reached the spot and took the terrorist to the Mughalpura Police Station where he identified himself as Abid.
The management added that it had tried to pursue the case, however, police told them that the terrorist had been handed over to superior investigation agencies.
It maintained that sources in the Mughalpura Police Station had informed them that the terrorist had been freed due to political pressure that piled on police when a number of hardliners reached outside the police station and issued a warning to attack policemen if the “innocent boy” was not released.
Station House Officer (SHO) Asim Jahangir abstained from commenting on the issue, when contacted. He only told this scribe that he was not on duty on the day the incident took place and would check for the latest updates later on.
Spokesman for Ahmadis, Saleemuddin, told Daily Times that the hate campaigns against them were still in full swing across the country. He regretted that so far the federal and provincial governments had not taken any solid steps to protect Ahmadi community from extremists and terrorists. He added that a number of Ahmadis had been tortured and killed even after the May 28, 2010, terrorist attacks, but they were still waiting for protection from the government.
Saleemuddin said that the government’s behaviour towards Ahmadis was also discriminatory, adding that it even did not announce any compensation for those Ahmadis that had been killed in the May 28 attacks.
The spokesman said that a number of families of the victims of the May 28 attacks were still waiting for the compensation cheques worth Rs 0.5 million. He also mentioned that many families that had received the compensation cheques did not spend the money but deposited it to the government’s flood relief fund.