Lahore, July 28: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has slammed the mob attack and killing of four members of the Ahmadi community in Gujranwala and burning of five houses as “brutalisation and barbarism stooping to new lows”.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: “HRCP is shocked and disgusted at the killing of four citizens belonging to the Ahmadi faith in Gujranwala after a blasphemy allegation. Four other Ahmadis were reported to be hospitalised in a critical condition. As things stand in the country now, particularly in Punjab, a blasphemy charge, however unfounded, makes such cold-blooded killings somehow less repulsive. The people who were killed were not even indirectly accused of the blasphemy charge. Their only fault was that they were Ahmadi. Torching women and children in their house simply because of their faith represents brutalisation and barbarism stooping to new lows.
“The community, rights respecting citizens and civil society would and must demand accountability of the mob that cheered as the deceased and injured cried for help. But if prospects for such justice were even remotely realistic, that might have deterred many in the mob from being a part of the heinous enterprise. There are many others who are so blinded by their hate and intolerance that they feel justified in cold-blooded murder, even of children, as was reported from Gujranwala. What agonises HRCP is that nothing concrete is being done to tackle neither of the two tendencies. That the mob was dancing for the TV camera after torching the houses of people who were not even accused of blasphemy proves that the whole episode had nothing to do with blasphemy but was aimed at further vitiminising an already persecuted community. It should not be too difficult to imagine the feelings of members of the targeted community in Gujranwala, or anywhere in Pakistan for that matter.
“HRCP calls for a thorough inquiry to find out why police failed to act as the mob went around a number of Ahmadi localities before they eventually chose the one that they decided to target. Members of the mob and the people who instigated them need to be identified and brought to justice. Most importantly, the biases and intolerance that led to the killing must be rooted out through proactive and meaningful steps if we are to survive as a civilised society.”