Over 100 tombstones were vandalised by masked men at a graveyard of the Ahmadiyya community in an upscale neighbourhood of the city Monday morning.
Twelve to 15 men, carrying arms and digging tolls, entered the graveyard in Model Town, Q Block, between 1:30am and 1:45am and smashed tombstones of the graves, according to witnesses.
The vandals told the caretakers that Ahmadis, being non-Muslims, were not allowed to write the Kalima or Bismillah on their tombstones.
“I was about to take a nap when I heard someone jumping into the graveyard. As I stepped out to inquire, armed men pounced on me. They snatched my gun and roughed me up,” Muhammad Younis, a guard at the graveyard, told The Express Tribune.
The armed men tied around 20 people – including visitors and families of the caretakers and the guard – with ropes and locked them up in the living quarters of the graveyard before starting vandalism.
They were speaking Punjabi and Urdu. However, their “leader”, a long-haired and bearded man, had traces of Pashto in his accent, witnesses said. They told the caretakers and guards that they belonged to a banned organisation and the Taliban.
According to witnesses, the whole vandalism episode lasted for about 35 minutes. The vandals ran away when a policeman from the Ahmadiyya community and a guard at one of their worship places arrived and fired gunshots into the air. The community members said they would file a case