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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Sect offices closed in Pakistan
Protesters in Bogra, Bangladesh
Protesters have also targeted Qadianis in Bangladesh
Pakistani authorities have closed down the offices of 16 publications run by followers of the Ahmadiyya sect in the central Punjab city of Jhang.

Two printing presses were sealed and cases registered against editors and publishers for "propagation of offensive material", police said.

At least two people were arrested and raids are continuing.

The Ahmadiyya were declared non-Muslims under the constitution in 1974.

The sect was founded by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam, who was born in the town of Qadian in Punjab in 1835.

The Ahmadiyya believe he was the Imam Mahdi, or the Promised Messiah.

Complaint

Jhang police chief, Hamid Mukhtar Gondal, told the BBC the action had been taken on orders of the Punjab home department.

We have in fact always been victims of prejudice
Spokesman,
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya

He said the 16 publications had already been banned but the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya - Pakistan's largest Ahmadiyya party - had continued to print and distribute them.

Literature deemed religiously offensive and banned under Pakistani law was recovered from the offices of some of the publications.

The latest action was triggered on a complaint by a local religious leader, Maulana Chinioti, who has been in the forefront of the campaign against the minority sect.

Mr Gondal said he could have charged Ahmadiyya leaders and editors under anti-terrorism laws but had decided not to do so.

"For the time being, we have booked them for propagating material offensive to people of other faiths," he said.

A spokesman of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya told the BBC that none of its publications were offensive and their closure reflected religious prejudice against the community.

The Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya had never been involved in any form of violence or any hate campaign, he said.

"We have in fact always been victims of prejudice," he said.

Mainstream Islam believes Mohammad was the last Prophet.


SEE ALSO:
Pakistan mob kills 'blasphemer'
20 Apr 05 |  South Asia
Protests rise against Muslim sect
23 Apr 05 |  South Asia
Court suspends Ahmadiyya book ban
21 Dec 04 |  South Asia
Amnesty fears attacks on Ahmadis
05 Nov 04 |  South Asia
Scholars debate future of Islam
11 Jul 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Islam and the West: Bridging the divide
02 Sep 03 |  Have Your Say Special


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