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Ahmadis under fire over cemetery fence
* Banners in Wagah Town call for Jihad against the minority
By Ali Waqar
LAHORE: Police have failed to stop hate-provoking religious extremists in Wagah Town urging people to stop local Ahmadis from fencing their graveyard.
Banners displayed by the Sunni Tehrik, Anjuman Naujwanan-e-Islam and Anjuman Tahfuz-e-Naujwanan-e-Ahl-e-Sunnah violate the government’s recent campaign against hate material with such slogans as “Qadiyanion ka ilaj, aljihad aljihad” (Jihad is the way to tackle Qadiyanis) and “Kufar ka doosra naam Qadiyani” (Qadiyani is anther name for infidelity). Other banners urge people to save Lahore from “Qadiyani conspiracy” and warn people that Handu Gujjar was being made “another Rabwah”.
The Mughalpura Division SP, Dr Rizawan (who has allegedly asked the community to demolish the boundary wall around a piece of land they had bought to extend their graveyard) apparently does not know about the hate material against Ahmadis in the locality.
A fact-finding mission of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) headed by advocate Mahboob Ahmad Khan on Friday found out that the fencing of the legally procured piece of land was not illegal and elements from outside the locality were exploiting the issue. Some local Ahamdis told Daily Times that they had been living the area for several decades and the graveyard, which was being extended, was only for Ahmadis of Lahore. They said the Ahmadis of the village buried their dead in the combined cemetery and no one had ever objected on it.
They believed that “external elements” were exploiting the issue for political and commercial reasons. “They can easily get the land vacated from Ahmadis this way, and can occupy it,” a local resident said. “It is an expensive piece of land.”
Mughalpura SP Dr Rizwan said the town municipal officer/district coordination officer was investigating if the boundary wall was illegal or not. He said the police would only maintain law and order and protect the rights of both parties. The issue was not the graveyard, he said, but the “illegal boundary wall”.
He did not comment on what steps police had taken to stop the hate campaign against Ahmadis but said action would be taken within a day.
The Wagah Town municipal officer said he was unaware of the issue although the town authorities have sent a notice to Ahmadis telling them to submit a plan for the construction and stop the “illegal construction” or pay a fine. Ahmadis said the notice was sudden and followed the hate campaign.
The issue surfaced several days ago when some extremists began to provoke people against the extension of an Ahmadi graveyard in Handu Gujjar, seven miles from Shalimar Gardens off the Grand Trunk Road going towards Wagah. The community had bought six acres of land in the outskirts of Lahore to extend an existing cemetery, but local clerics – allegedly from Sunni Tehrik and Tehrik-e-Tahafaz-e-Naomoos-e-Risalat – began to provoke the residents of the locality to oppose the construction of a boundary wall on the land.
The community had bought the land from an Ahmadi landlord at a place called Handu Gujjar. No local authority or housing society is prepared to offer them space for a cemetery in Lahore.
Part of the land has been a graveyard for 10 years, while the rest of it was vacant. The community had recently begun building a wall around it. Extremists have threatened to demolish this boundary wall calling it an attempt to create a “mini-Rabwah”.