By Muhammad Zafrulla Khan
This concisely written text presents the teachings of Islam and their distinct superiority over various Articles that make up the Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations and universally acclaimed as the greater charter of freedom. The author explains how 1400 years ago, Islam emancipated the poor and oppressed and gave the world the basic prescription for the respect and value of all human beings irrespective of class, colour or creed. Those instructions contained in the Holy Qur'an remain as relevant today as they were at the time that it was revealed. However, with the passage of time, some parts of Muslim society neglected Qur'anic teachings with an inevitable decline in moral standards. The author however concludes on an optimistic note that the revival of Islam is happening and with it a close adherence to the values laid out in the Holy Qur'an
It is now more than fifteen years since the Ordinance was promulgated. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has suffered a great deal after Dictator Ziaul Haq promulgated Ordinance XX in 1984. The suffering continues unabated. It is a touching story and this Souvenir tells only a part of it. (read it online
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Plight of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan
Believe it or not!
Absurd Application of Ordinance XX and Religious Laws
Promulgation of the notorious Ordinance XX was not only the introduction of a law; it was also meant to change the entire social and political milieu in which the Ahmadiyya Community existed in Pakistan. The persecution thereafter became pervasive, and Ahmadis were made to feel unsafe at all times, everywhere. The State-supported tyranny was widespread and the extremist elements made full use of the black laws, which were interpreted widely, and viciously to suit the needs of Ahmadi-bashers. These were given a meaning and applied in such a subjective and self-serving manner that is unbelievable to a cultured mind. Some sample events are described below briefly to show the extent and nature of the environment in which Ahmadis maintain a precarious existence in the country they call home.
Prison term for saying Islamic Hello
A report was lodged with Mansehra Police on 4 June 1984 by one Azizur Rahman against Rana Karamatullah, Ahmadi, complaining that the apostate, infidel Qadiani had extended Salam to him, the Islamic greetings, and thereby injured his feelings. The police registered a case under PPC 295, 295-A against the accused and arrested him. Prosecution of the victim went on for four years when on 29 October 1989 the Assistant Commissioner, Mian Mohammad Salim, convicted him u/s 298C and sentenced him to undergo six months' imprisonment and a fine of RS. 1,000/- or in default to undergo further six months' imprisonment.
Sentenced on Charge of Offering Prayers
Mr. Mahmood Ahmad Shams, Engineer and Deputy Manager at Heavy Mechanical Complex, Taxila visited the Power Station, Wapda, Multan on duty in February 1985. While there, he offered his Zuhr prayer at the office premises and used the office mat for the prayers. The staff there objected to Mr. Shams' use of the mat, his prayers and the Kalima (Islamic creed) badge on his collar. Under the pressure of the staff and local mullas, a case (NR 397) under PPC 298-C was registered by the police against Mr. Shams on 15 August 1985 at Sadar, Multan. Mr. Shams faced prosecution in courts for many years and was sentenced on 28 January 1990 to one year's rigorous imprisonment and one thousand rupees' fine by Mohammad Hussain Baloch, magistrate.
Objection to Wearing a Ring
Mr. Abdul Shakoor was intercepted by a few anti-Ahmadiyya activists in collusion with the police at Sargodha on 10 March 1990 and was charged under PPC 298-C for wearing a ring on which the Quranic verse (i.e. Is God not sufficient for His servant) was inscribed. He was arrested and placed in a police lock-up. He was prosecuted in a court for over one year. Eventually Mr. Ejaz Hussain Baloch, Magistrate sentenced Mr. Shakoor on 20-7-1990 to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay fine of RS. 50,000/-. The ring shall stand confiscated in favor of the State, the Magistrate concluded.
Punished for Building a Mosque
Four Ahmadis of Chak 35 North, district Sargodha were awarded two years' imprisonment and fine of Rs.5,000/- each by a Magistrate for building a mosque.
Ahmadis were forbidden to build minarets at their mosques. Kalima written on the front of 66 mosques was removed or covered with plaster by state authorities in 1992 alone. Wherever the word Masjid was written on the building, it had to be removed or covered up.
The Lunatic Advocate General
The Government of Punjab banned the Ahmadiyya Centenary celebrations in 1989. The Community challenged this order in the Lahore High Court. Presenting the Government's case, the Advocate General of Punjab asserted in 1991 before the court that:
It is an offence for a Qadiani to impart the teaching of Qadianism to his own children.
When a Qadiani repeats the writings of Mirza Qadiani (Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community) it is an offence under Section 295-C, the penalty under which is death. The Daily Nawai Waqt, 10 May 1991
The High Court Judge upheld the banning order and supported the view that displaying or utterance of the Kalima (Islamic Creed) by an Ahmadi is a violation under the clause, PPC 295-C. (i.e. Blasphemy Law, punishable with death).
Mr. Nasir Ahmad used Islamic epithets and phrases on the wedding invitation card of his daughter on 15 May 1992. He was arrested. Application for his release on bail had to be made to the Lahore High Court where Justice Nazir Akhtar heard the case and rejected the bail application.
The judge, behaving more like a mulla, based his decision on religious polemics, and wrote that by printing Islamic epithets on the wedding card, the Ahmadi committed an offence under PPC 295-C (The Blasphemy Law, punishable with death). His judgement was given wide publicity in Pakistani press on 5 August 1992.
Charged for Adultery with his own Wife
A non-Ahmadi young lady married her cousin, Mr. Mohammad Iqbal, an Ahmadi of Narang Mandi. Mr. Iqbal was later on booked and arrested under PPC 298-C, 420 and the Hadood Law in September 1996. Marriage of an Ahmadi with a non-Ahmadi girl was illegal, according to the complainant. A bail application was filed on his behalf. The Sessions Court, Firozwala rejected his bail application on 17 November 1996, and the poor fellow remained behind bars.
The Offensive Meat
Mr. Nisar Ahmad, Ahmadi, had a goat slaughtered to distribute its sacrificial meat in charity at Daska, District Sialkot. The butcher suggested that the management of the local madrassa normally accept the meat for its students. Accordingly, the two delivered the meat at the Madrassa. The offering came to the notice of two rival mullas who then arranged to have a criminal case (NR 195) under PPC 295-A registered on 3 May 1985 against the Ahmadi, with the police. The charge provides for ten years' imprisonment, or with fine, or with both. The accused was detained in the police station for inquiry. He faced prosecution in the courts for years. A decision was still pending when he died.
Mr. Tariq Javed, an Ahmadi from Faisalabad accompanied by his family proceeded to Abbotabad in August 1995 and booked into Pine View Hotel. From the Hotel, he booked a telephone call to Rabwah; this disclosed to the host staff that he was an Ahmadi. They reported the fact to the anti-Ahmadiyya extremists and the police who conspired jointly to implicate the innocent tourist in a criminal case under Ordinance XX. During Javed's absence they raided his room, searched his belongings and found a booklet on Basic Religious Knowledge. A case was registered by the police against him under PPC 298-C on a fabricated charge of preaching. The tourist rather than enjoying the pine-view suffered the stink of the local jail. The magistrate rejected the victim's application for bail. Mr. Javed's relatives had to rush from Faisalabad to Abbotabad to rescue his striken family.
Hafiz Suhail, an Ahmadi youth applied for admission in a Dental College. As a Hafiz (one who has memorized the entire text of the Quran), he was entitled to 20 marks. He got the admission in August 1994. One year later, on 10 January 1995 he was dragged out of the class by a group of Islamists who beat him up mercilessly in front of the Principal's office. They told him that as a Qadiani he was not entitled to 20 marks for Hafiz. They urged the Principal to cancel his admission. The Principal referred the matter to the Ministry who conveniently gave the ruling that the marks were only for Muslims. The student gang manhandled Suhail again in May. That was the end of his Dental studies.
Change your Names
Siraj Din son of Lal Din of Dunyapur, District Lodhran approached the Resident Magistrate and objected to the name of a local Ahmadi, Muhammad Sadiq. Siraj demanded that a criminal case be registered against the Ahmadi, as the Muhammad part of his name injured his feelings. The magistrate forwarded his application to the police for action, who immediately registered case NR 41/92 on 29-7-1992 under PPC 298-C against the Ahmadi.
Verdict of Apostasy
Surprisingly, the Headquarters of Pakistan Air Force took it upon them the unbecoming responsibility of issuing a Fatwa of apostasy against an Ahmadi, Cpl. Tech. Mubashir Ahmad. In a letter, issued on 31 July 1989, Group Captain Gultasab Khan conveyed to the airman that as he was guilty of Apostasy, his request to review his dismissal could not be acceded to. Mobashir was also informed that he was ineligible for any other state service in Pakistan.
Rabwah given a New Name
Rabwah town is an Ahmadiyya property. It was built on a barren ground, and given its name by the residents half a century ago. On November 17, 1998, the Punjab Assembly passed a unanimous resolution, after no debate or discussion, to change its name. Despite claims to being a democratic state, the government did not Consult the residents at all on the issue. The move was sponsored by a mulla MPA from Chiniot, Maulvi Manzoor Ahmad, who later disclosed full support of the President and the Prime Minister on this issue. The commemorative plaque (in photo) places it on record that it was installed by Hassan Akhtar Moakkal, the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly. (Government Order is at Annex V).
The Supreme Head of Ahmadiyya Jamaat Indicted
Hadrat Khalifatui Masih IV, the Supreme Head of Jamaat Ahmadiyya wrote a letter in 1996 to Mr. Kanwar Idrees, a minister in the caretaker government of Sind and an ex-Chief Secretary of the province. The letter contained the phrase i.e. We praise God and invoke His blessings on His Noble Prophet. The letter was published by the Daily Jang. Mulla Hamadi went to the court crying, Blasphemy.
Mr. Sabir Chippa, Additional Session Judge, Tando Adam examined the Mulla's complaint and ordered on 7 Mar 1998 that Prima facie case is made out, and issued bailable warrants to the accused u/s 295C, 295B, and 298C, 34 PPC. PPC 295B allows life imprisonment, while a finding of guilty under PPC 295C permits no sentence other than death.
Top Leadership Arrested
Mulla Ilyas, son of the General Secretary of the International Majlis Khatame Nabuwwat, wrote an application to the police that a signboard of Chenab Nagar (erstwhile Rabwah) containing the inscription was found covered with paint; that must have been done at the instructions of Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Chief Executive of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Pakistan and Lt. Colonel (Retd) Ayaz Mahmood Khan, the General President of the Ahmadiyya Community of Rabwah. At this flimsy and unsupportable report the police arrested these two gentlemen and two others, Messers Muhammad Hussain and Muhammad Akbar on April 30, 1999. Khawaja Zafar Iqbal , magistrate heard the plea for Bail and rejected it. Subsequently Rao Sultan Ali Tahir, Additional Session Judge, Chiniot also rejected the appeal for release on Bail. The accused were charged under PPC 295B which if upheld invites imprisonment for life. The mulla and the state machinery were reportedly supported and even encouraged in this malicious concoction by political paramounts.
The international Community protested vigorously against such unscrupulous application of the Blasphemy Clause on fabricated grounds. The government thought it fit to withdraw the charge to avoid further embarrassment. The accused were then released.
Do not Translate the Holy Quran
A criminal case was registered against Messers Khan Muhammad and Rafiq Ahmad Naeem, Ahmadis of Dera Ghazi Khan on 5 December 1991, for translating the Holy Quran in Seraiki language. Mulla Allah Wasaya made the complaint, and the Deputy Commissioner ordered the follow-up action. The two accused were arrested. Their bail application had to reach the Supreme Court before they could be released after about three months in detention. They were charged under Section 295A, 295B and 295C. If found guilty they could have been imprisoned for life or executed under PPC 295C. They faced prosecution for three and a half years before they were acquitted in June 1995.
Ahmadis not to Celebrate the Holy Prophet's Birthday
An anti-Ahmadiyya activist, Shahjahan, complained to the police at Dunyapur, District Multan on 5 November 1987 that three Ahmadis, Ashfaq Ahmad and his two sons, decorated their shop with colored buntings at the occasion of the Prophet's birthday; this had severely injured the feelings of Muslims, thereby inviting the punishment under PPC 298C. The Legal Branch confirmed that application of PPC 298C was indicated. The Senior Superintendent of Police ordered that a criminal case be registered against the accused. This was done and the three victims were dragged to courts for next seven months.
Ban on a British Book
Mr. lain Adamson, a renowned British author, wrote a biography of Hadrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad , the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, under the title A Man of God, and published it in the United Kingdom. Although this is one of the rare biographies written by a European author about a Pakistani, the authorities thought it fit in 1991 to ban the publication in Pakistan.
Noise Pollution in Rabwah
The railway line passes through the center of Rabwah town and the railway station is located somewhat in the middle. The government deliberately allocated part of the railway land near the station to the Khatme Nabuwwat organization who built a mosque there and appointed a rabid mulla there to blare every day profoundly insulting and venomous orations to the entire Ahmadiyya neighborhood. There were almost no worshippers inside the mosque but there was no shortage of loud and blasphemous sermons for which the mulla was paid. Often he would turn on his cassette player and the loudspeakers on the minaret to full volume to spare himself the trouble of speaking. There was little the local community could do to save itself from this severe noise pollution.
The Shameless Cleric
The government routinely proscribed any Ahmadiyya publication to which the mullas objected. Among hundreds of such proscriptions, one was the Tafsir Saghir , an Urdu translation and short commentary of the Holy Quran by Khalifatui Masih II . The Jamaat decided to contest the order in the court. Mulla Manzoor Chinioti volunteered to defend the government's decision. The judge asked the mulla the precise translation to which he objected. The mulla presented the words Khataman Nabiyyeen and objected to its translation as the seal of prophets. The Ahmadi counsel, in response, presented a list of sixteen other translations of non-Ahmadiyya origin that had given the same translation i.e. the seal of prophets. Mulla Chinioti was not impressed: Well, since the promulgation of the Ordinance, this version of the translation is forbidden by law, he retorted. The Tafsir Saghir remained banned.
Assistant Director Education of Faisalabad Division, issued written instructions on 21-5-1990 prohibiting Ahmadi students to study the Holy Quran and Islamic Studies in their schools. This order was issued at the instigation of the Secretary, International Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat.
Even at Rabwah, Ahmadi students were not permitted to recite the Holy Quran at the morning Assembly in Talimul Islam High School which Ahmadis had built and developed themselves.
Ban on Sports Meetings and Celebrations
All annual functions of the Ahmadiyya Community were banned at Rabwah, the Community headquarters, after the promulgation of Ordinance XX. Even the Convention of Lajna, the Ahmadi Ladies' Association and the annual religious education classes for the Ahmadi youth and children were banned. Annual sports events like All Pakistan Basketball Competition, the Kabaddi Tournament and the Horse Racing Competition have also remained banned ever since. In 1989, the Ahmadiyya Community planned to celebrate its first Centenary, but on behalf of the government, Mr Muhammad Saleem, the District Magistrate Jhang prohibited all celebrations and expressly forbade illuminations on buildings, erection of decorative gates, exhibition of buntings and even distribution of sweets and service of food. This order, NR 1905/GB, was given under his hand and seal of the Court on 21st day of March 1989.
The Mianwali Four - Someone fabricated a story of blasphemy against them and had them arrested to settle a personal feud. They suffered in prison for four years awaiting trial. Eventually, a Supreme Court bench released them on bail.