HRCP report questions admin`s role in mob violence against minorities – 16 Feb 2023

LAHORE: A summary of a fact-finding mission`s report released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Wednesday questions the role of the local administration and police in incidents of mob violence against the religious minorities in Gujranwala.

The HRCP fact-finding mission has underscored an alarming uptick in the persecution of members of the Ahmadiya community in Gujranwala and surrounding areas, speciñcally desecration of their graves sites of worship.

First information reports (FIRs) were also filed against the community members for sacrificing animals on Eid, the mission says.

The mission`s report suggested that the civil administration offi-cials in Gujranwala and Wazirabad were dire ctly involve d in destroying the minarets of Ahmadi sites of worship in December 2022 and January 2023, following objections raised by members of a local politicalreligious outfit.

While the administration claims to have done so to circumvent the threat of mob violence, the report says the way it has handled the matter has only fostered growing hostility towards the Ahmadiya community and increased the vulnerability of Ahmadi residents in the area.

Of particular concern is the district administration`s perception that some legal and constitutional provisions provide room for persecution of this kind, although the report notes that, under Article 2O(b) of the Constitution, this is not the case.`While the mission understands that the local bureaucracy, police and the judiciary were successfully intimidated by a religious group, their response displays a pitiful inability to manage law and order, while respecting the fundamental rights of the Ahmadiya community,` the report adds.

The mission recommends that the judgments of Supreme Court Justices Tasaddug Hussain Jilani and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah from 2014 and 2022, respectively, be implemented in letter and spirit, including the establishment of a special police force to guard religious minorities` places of worship.

Additionally, the police`s capacity to deal with the threat of mob violence in such situations must be augmented through proper infrastructure and training, it suggests.

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