CHANDIGARH: Around 5,000 Pakistanis will cross over Punjab to participate in a three-day annual International Ahmadiyya Muslim Conference will be held at the Ahmadiyya Muslim headquarters in Qadian, Gurdaspur, beginning December 27.
The first batch of 700 delegates arrived from Pakistan via Attari border and were welcomed by residents of Qadians, including Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims.
One of the delegates said religious expression of Ahmadiya Muslims in Pakistan was banned 35 years ago. “We are not allowed to express our religious feelings openly and if we do so, blasphemy charges are slapped on us,” he said.
Pakistan has the highest number of Ahmadiyya Muslims and the community has presence in Ghana, Germany, Canada and UK as well. In terms of strength of the community, India ranks 10th, with their population mostly concentrated in Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and Orissa.
Notable members of the community include a Nobel Prize winner in physics, late professor Abdus Salam, and a chief justice of the International Court of Justice and president of the United Nations General Assembly, late Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan. The main aim of the conference is to share the teachings of Islam. On December 28, an all religion peace conference will also be organized.