The attack against the Ahmedi community in Dulmial now threatens to turn into a legal battle, making things worse for the residents belonging to the minority sect in the area. As if the mob attacking the mosque was not enough, it has now been sealed by the judicial magistrate, pending court proceedings and resolution over the ‘contentious’ issue of ownership.

The fact that the application for the case was submitted to the judicial magistrate by the Station House Officer (SHO) of the area tells us exactly where the loyalties of the local law enforcement lie; with the majority of the area. The court is not at fault, but it is hoped that the hearing/s are conducted in a fair manner to resolve this issue early, before even more Ahmedi families are harassed and threatened by the local Sunni majority in an effort to dilute the evidence coming in from the minority’s side.

And this is not the first time either. After the mosque had been in possession of the Ahmedi community (by all accounts) since its construction, members of the Sunni community of the area first lodged a case against the ownership in 1997, with the mosque sealed in similar circumstances, until the Ahmedi residents appealed against the order at the sessions court level.

The case like the one before it in 1997, holds no water. The mosque under contention was built by the Ahmedi community in Dulmial as far back as 1860 – the village once had more members of the Ahmedi community in the village, before many left the country as crimes against them increased. Once known as the ‘Minar wali masjid’, it was only renamed Darul Zikr and declared a ‘place of worship’ instead of a mosque after the Bhutto government declared the Ahmedi community non-Muslim in 1974.

The argument of the Sunni Muslims in the community is laughable – their claim that the mosque was once constructed by Muslims is only valid because Ahmedis were not declared non-Muslims until 1971, meaning that they could call themselves Muslims when they were building it. Taking the status of ‘Muslims’ away from the Ahmedis should at least mean that the majority cannot automatically take ownership of their places of worship.

It is easy to see why the legal case has been filed now, specifically after the attack failed, by the Sunni residents of the area. Their plan to use the mob in order to drive the community away has been thwarted in parts by the police presence in the area, and they are now trying other avenues to gain possession of a mosque that is not theirs to begin with. This must not be allowed, the state has already failed the Ahmedi residents of Dulmial more than once, it is only hoped that this practice will not be repeated yet again.