FAISALABAD: At least 30 people, including six belonging to Ahmadiyya community, were injured and Ahmedis’ place of worship was set on fire after a petty dispute was blown out of proportion into a violent clash in Faisalabad’s Ghaseetpura area on the second day of Eid.
According to an FIR registered on behalf of the state at police station concerned, the dispute took place at 7:30pm between a group of youth over a chicken belonging to an Ahmedi ran over by a person from another group.
After a heated argument, slogans were raised, shots were fired, stones were pelted, and a nearby Ahmedi place of worship was ransacked and set on fire — all in the presence of police officials, reported a media outlet.
According to a tweet shared by Jamaat Ahmadiyya Spokesperson Saleemuddin, a minor altercation between two individuals was “manipulated by mullahs and miscreants” to attack the worship place. The mob, allegedly armed with weapons, ransacked the worship place and set it on fire, the spokesperson claimed on his twitter handle. “As a result of the firing, at least six people got wounded.”
Talking to Pakistan Today, Balochni Police Station SHO [Station House Officer] Zahid Abbas said that the dispute between the two groups was not religious in nature at first.
“Ahmedis had attacked the houses of the other group first over a minor dispute,” he claimed, adding that following the attack the other group gathered outside the Ahmedis’ place of worship and started pelting stones at it. “The first shot was fired from inside the place of worship,” he further claimed.
“The situation was so tense, if the police hadn’t reached the spot on time, there would have been much more loss of lives and properties,” Zahid claimed.
Responding to a question pertaining to the news doing rounds on social media, saying that the houses of Ahmedis were also burned down, Zahid said that no other place was harmed or attacked except for the place of worship.
However, Mian Amer Mehmood, in charge of the community’s press section, alleged that besides the place of worship, a shop belonging to a community member was also attacked.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudary played down the incident, saying it was a clash that had nothing to do with religion as it was ‘personal clash’ between two individuals.
A case has been registered under sections 324 (attempt to commit qatl-i-amd), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees or upwards), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
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On May 24, 2018, a similar incident took place in Sialkot when a mob— allegedly comprising members of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TRLY) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)— in connivance with the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) and police officials had attacked an Ahmedi place of worship.