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Pak ministers keep away from Ahmedis' funeral

May 30, 2010 15:22 IST
Pakistani ministers, politicians and other prominent figures were conspicuous by their absence at the funeral prayers for 95 members of the minority Ahmedi sect killed in terror attacks on two mosques in Lahore. Most sections of the electronic media too did not cover the burial ceremony at Rabwah in Chenab Nagaron Saturday and Sunday.
    
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Governor Salmaan Taseer and some politicians visited the injured at different
hospitals in the city. Though there were statements of condemnation of the Friday attacks on two Ahmedi mosques from all prominent politicians and political and religious parties, they preferred to keep a low profile during the funeral.
    
Observers said this was largely due to fear of a backlash as Ahmedis have the legal status of "non-Muslims" in Pakistan.
"Only to call a dead Ahmedi a martyr is enough to send you behind bars for three years under the laws of the land," a
politician told PTI when he was asked why he did not attend the funeral of the slain Ahmedis though his party had issued a
statement
condemning the attacks.
    
The politician, who did not want to be named, said: "Such religious matters are quite complicated here. On the one side, there are religious extremists and on the other are the persecuted ones."
    
There were also complaints that authorities did not provide adequate security for the funeral ceremony at Rabwah.
    
"The government must take measures to provide security to minorities in Pakistan," Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesman Qamar Suleman said. Meanwhile, doctors said about 25 people injured in the attacks on two Ahmedi mosques were still not out of danger.
M Zulqernain in Lahore
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