An enraged mob set an Ahmadi place of worship on fire in Punjab’s Jhelum district, breaking through the police cordon which was established to safeguard the Ahmadi places of worship, following a factory being set on fire. Earlier, a mob set a factory on fire in Jhelum district late on Friday after announcements were made from mosques leveling blasphemy allegations against the factory owner and workers for blasphemy.
The police had responded to these blasphemy allegations by detaining four men who were accused of having desecrated the Quran. These men were released by the police, after which people urged local mosques to announce their release, resulting in a mob setting fire to a factory. Hundreds of people surrounded the chipboard factory in Jhelum and set the facility ablaze, having no remorse or regret as to whether these allegations were even true. After the arrival of the army contingent, the situation calmed down, with the protesters chanting slogans in favour of the army.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, with unproven allegations often prompting mob violence and killings. With Ahmadis being declared non-Muslims by the Pakistani government in 1974, there is no stopping the public in trying to make them feel like they do not belong in this country. Eleven members of the sect were murdered for their faith in 2014 and authorities failed to apprehend any of the killers.
According to reports, the Federal Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar, has stated that no one is allowed to take law in their hand, as the whole saga of blasphemy was over the Ahmadi factory owner who owned prime real estate. “Severe action will be taken against the culprits,” Nisar added. But these words mean nothing as such attacks against Ahmadis have become a norm. No official account has ever been given about the perpetrators, backers, financers or masterminds of these heinous crimes.
A number of attacks have been carried out against the Christians and the Ahmedis by the same mindset that targets Shias. Do we have any right or moral ground to criticize those in the west when we have failed our own country when it comes to protecting minorities? Such incidents show that people in Pakistan, in general, can be excited into extremist mobs. This is ripe ground for jihadi recruitment. This factory was providing livelihood to dozens of locals since the early seventies. Such communities, sadly widespread, are their own worst enemies. The mullah at the pulpit cannot generate jobs and wages, but the Ahmadi, Christian, or Shia businessman can. Less industry, less job opportunities and empty minds are what we have to look forward to… and of course, accusing the west of “selective justice” while we burn our own minorities.