http://www.ThePersecution.org/ Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Recommend UsEmail this PagePersecution News RSS feedeGazetteAlislam.org Blog
Introduction & Updates
<< ... Worldwide ... >>
Monthly Newsreports
Media Reports
Press Releases
Facts & Figures
Individual Case Reports
Pakistan and Ahmadis
Critical Analysis/Archives
Persecution - In Pictures
United Nations, HCHR
Amnesty International
H.R.C.P.
US States Department
USSD C.I.R.F
Urdu Section
Feedback/Site Tools
Related Links
Loading


By Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, The Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at.
Darurat-ul-Imam, or The Need for the Imam, spells out in depth the urgency and need for the Imam of the age, and his qualities and hallmarks as the Divinely appointed guide, the voice articulate of the age, and the constant recipient of Divine revelations, and how all these qualities are fully present in the person of the holy author.
US$7.00 [Order]
The Author: Mujeeb-ur-Rehman
A chronicle and a critique of the legislative and the judicial events leading to a gradual denial and erosion of religious freedom to Ahmadis in Pakistan. This work is intended to provide an insight into the background of the Supreme Court judgment in the Ahmadis' case.
US$10. [Order]
One of the most outstanding, monthly English magazine, Review of Religions has been in publication since 1902. The objective of this publication is to educate, enlighten and inform its readers on religious, social, economic and political issues with particular emphasis on Islam. The contributors to this magazine are from various walks of life discussing on comparative religious issues, contemporary social and political issues, latest scientific discoveries and much more. A must read.
Published from London UK, this monthly magazine is available for annual subscription only. Can be subscribed as a gift for friends and relatives. (read it online)
US$30.00 [Order]

Home Critical Analysis/Archives Plight of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan
Plight of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan
(1989-1999)

The Blasphemy Law in Pakistan
A Brief on its Application against Ahmadis

The Blasphemy Law was introduced in the Pakistan Penal Code as Section 295-C in 1986. Under this Section, any person guilty of defiling the name of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was made liable to suffer life imprisonment or death. Later, in 1991, the alternative of life imprisonment was removed under the direction of the Federal Shariat Court; accordingly the only penalty applicable now is death. In this article, it is intended to examine and narrate some facts regarding the application of this law against Ahmadis.

It is a recurring experience of the Ahmadiyya Community during the past 13 years that this law has been applied against Ahmadis as a tool to intimidate, harass, repress and persecute them with little regard to the actual circumstances of the accusation of blasphemy. For an Ahmadi to commit blasphemy against the Prophet is as unthinkable and unlikely as for a believing Christian to commit blasphemy against Jesus. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement considered the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) his mentor and master. It is only by some extremely perverted and inexplicable logic that an Ahmadiyya position or view may be termed blasphemous. For instance, some mullas insist that an Ahmadi, simply by adherence to Islamic Creed, commits blasphemy. This graffiti demands Death by Hanging of an Ahmadi charged for Blasphemy. Faisalabad- December 1998Ironically, some members of the powerful establishment have found it convenient to echo this absurdity. Since the introduction of this law, 189 Ahmadis have been charged under PPC 295-C. An in-depth study of these cases would show that in every case the victim was charged on spurious grounds and with malafide intentions. In most cases, personal vendetta was the prime mover; in many others, mullas gave vent to their religious prejudices, while in some cases authorities found it convenient and expedient to press charges under this Section. It is surprising that on a number of occasions, no trouble was taken even to concoct evidence or state an apparently valid reason while framing the charge in the FIR (First Information Report), as the aim was to urgently hang a Damocles sword over the victim's head. It can be stated without any risk of exaggeration that none of the blasphemy cases against Ahmadis was well founded, valid or credible. However, the PPC 295-C has served a purpose, that of severe and unending persecution of a peaceful, law abiding and non-aggressive community with which the mulla is in discord over some religious issues. Hereunder, essential details of only a few cases are briefly given in support of this assertion.

Four Ahmadis Behind Bars for Four Years without Trial
A case was registered against four Ahmadis, namely, Messers Riaz Ahmad, Basharat Ahmad, Qamar Ahmad and Mushtaq Ahmad of Chak No.l5/D, Mianwali on 21 November 1993, under Section 295-C i.e. the Blasphemy Law, and they were arrested. However, there is a noteworthy background to this case.

There had been a dispute between the main accused, Mr. Riaz Ahmad, Ahmadi and the plaintiff, Muhammad Abdullah over the post of Numberdar (village chief). Mr. Riaz Ahmad had been Numberdar of the village for a long time; the plaintiff applied to authorities to have him removed from this post because Riaz was an Ahmadi. The Deputy Commissioner gave the verdict against Mr. Riaz. However, the Commissioner gave the ruling that there is no prohibition in law for an Ahmadi to be Numberdar. Under these circumstances, the plaintiff contrived an easier and more effective plan to deal with his rival, in that he got registered a concocted case of Blasphemy against Mr. Riaz Ahmad and his relatives. Thus the four were arrested the same day and placed in Mianwali jail.

An application for their release on bail was filed in the court of Additional Session Judge, Mianwali. On December 7, 1993, the date of hearing, the plaintiff with the help of Mulla Akram Toofani and his gang created a noisy situation outside the court. The case was sent up to the court of Session Judge. The hearing there was postponed a number of times. On 3 January 1994 the date of hearing, mullas gathered in a large number at the court premises. The Sessions Court rejected the bail applications of the accused.

The bail application was then moved in the Lahore High Court. After hearing, the judge decided to send this case to the Chief Justice and requested that a larger bench of judges be constituted to give their comment on some pertinent questions arising from the Blasphemy Law. The bench heard the case in April 1994. The Judges upheld and defended the Blasphemy Law. This law was defended on various grounds including, “If the provisions of Section 295-C were repealed or declared to be ultra vires of the Constitution, the time old method of doing away with the culprits at the spot would stand revived”. (“The Nation” and “The News International” of April 27, 1994)

Subsequently the bail application was heard afresh by Justice Nazir Akhtar on 25 May. Assistant Advocate General Mr. Nazir Ghazi, representing the State, vehemently opposed the grant of bail to the accused. He argued that if an insult were uttered about the Holy Prophet, Muhammad, we would not look into the intentions behind such an utterance. Thus according to this ranking officer of the law, the complainant's opinion on insult could not be questioned by the defense and the latter's intentions or explanation were not relevant. The Judge then rejected the bail application. The accused stayed on in prison.

Bail application was then moved in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 20 July 1994. The defense took the plea that the accusation was a false one. The Chief Justice ordered that the petition be heard by a larger bench of the court.

For more than 1½ years, the Supreme Court was not able to give a date for hearing the case. The accused stayed on in prison for over four years awaiting release on bail. Mother of two of the accused died during their stay in prison. The appalling conditions of Pakistani jails are well known. As the breadwinners were in prison, their families faced acute financial problems. Their situation remained distressing and pathetic. Eventually they were bail in December 1997. Now they will face the dreaded trial. How long this trial on a fabricated charge will continue, is any body's guess.

Invitation Card for a Wedding and a Gift from the State
Mr. Nasir Ahmad of Nankana, District Sheikhupura, issued invitation cards at the occasion of his daughter's marriage that was scheduled for 15 May 1992. The card carried normal and routine greetings and phrases like : In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful (In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful), We invoke praise and blessings upon the noble Prophet (We invoke praise and blessings upon the noble Prophet), May peace be on you (May peace be on you) and words like Inshallah. The arrogant and spiteful mulla of the local anti-Ahmadiyya Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Association found in these phrases sufficient cause to cry ‘Blasphemy, and hurt feelings of a Muslim’, and got a criminal case registered on 16-5-1992 under PPC 298-C, 295-A and 295-C against 13 persons belonging to the family and circle of the bride. Before registering the case the police sought advice from their legal department, which, basing its inference from an earlier judgement of the Lahore High Court, directed the Police Station to register the case.

Of the 13 accused, two were women and one was a nine months old baby. How could a baby be blasphemous to the Holy Prophet, boggles one's mind. Mr. Nasir Ahmad, father of the bride, remained in prison for almost three months. He was eventually released on bail, which was granted at no lower a level than the Supreme Court. The judicial process lingered on for three years. During the process, Lahore High Court gave the verdict, that prima facie a charge under 295-C could be applied. The application was then taken to the Supreme Court where, apart from other statements, Mr. Farooq Haider, Additional Advocate General, representing the State, asserted that this was the limit of their patience to tolerate these people (Ahmadis) in the country. The worthy Supreme Court gave the verdict that PPC 295-C was not applicable. Other sections however remained applicable.

Eventually, Additional Sessions Judge, Sheikhupura announced his judgement on 23-4-1995 whereby the father of the bride was sentenced to four years' rigorous imprisonment and two years' rigorous imprisonment u/s 295-A and 298-C PPC respectively for the wedding invitation card.

This was the gift of the State to the father of the bride at the blessed and happy occasion of her wedding.

Investigation by a Judicial Officer in order to Avoid a False Complaint!
Some years ago, government of Pakistan tried to reassure foreign human rights concerns that it had taken steps to avoid false complaints. The incident at Rajanpur, described below, should adequately show futility of such measures.

In October 1994, the mullas lodged an entirely false complaint against the Amir of Ahmadiyya Community, Rajanpur, Mr. Iqbal Ahmad, that he, in a discussion with them, used derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet Mohammad (on whom be peace), while no such discussion had ever taken place between them. A magistrate was appointed by the Deputy Commissioner to make inquiries into the matter, who in his report submitted that the mullas “showed their non-confidence over the inquiry proceedings being conducted by me”. The Deputy Commissioner then entrusted the inquiry to the Assistant Commissioner, who wrote back that he found the accused liable to be prosecuted under section 298 PPC, as he was reportedly engaged in preaching. The Assistant Commissioner did not, however, recommend that he should be charged under PPC 295C. The Deputy Commissioner who was bent upon proceeding against the Ahmadiyya Amir under the Blasphemy Law, then sent the case to District Attorney in order to seek his opinion, who eventually wrote back to him that the Ahmadiyya Amir should be prosecuted under section 295C . The Amir was then arrested and charged under the Blasphemy clause.

The Deputy Commissioner while addressing a public meeting took credit for the action taken by him against the Ahmadi leader, (See for reference the Daily ‘Nawa-i-Waqt’, Multan Edition: 1 November 1994)

So much for the investigation by a judicial officer in order to avoid a false complaint.

A Sulky and Corrupt Police Officer uses PPC 295C
Mr. Mohammad Anwar, Ahmadi of District Rajanpur, had a dispute in 1995 with a party, involving sale of some landed property. A court of civil law should have handled the case, but the police department improperly passed it on to Riaz Ahmad, the local Sub Inspector of Police. Using the normal police bully tactics, he insulted Mr. Anwar and even detained him. Mr. Anwar moved a writ to the High Court against Inspector Riaz. The writ was turned down. The Sub-Inspector, consequently exhorted Rs.10, 000 from Mr. Anwar, against which the victim complained to the Director Anti-Corruption. This infuriated Inspector Riaz who arranged a professional complainant and a false witness, and had a case under the Blasphemy Law registered against Mr. Muhammad Anwar who was then promptly arrested and placed in Dera Ghazi Khan jail on 1 Feb 1996. An application for release on bail was moved before Addl Session Judge, who rejected it. High Court was then moved which also rejected the application. Then the appeal was made in the Supreme Court. Mr. Anwar had to wait for the decision on his plea for release on bail for more than one and a half year in prison.

The Anti-Corruption Department has registered a case against the Sub-Inspector on charge of seeking illegal gratification.

A Novel Reasoning to Cry Blasphemy
On 16 November 1995, Mulla Muhammad Siddique of Warah, district Larkana, Sind had a complaint made against two Ahmadis to the police and asked them to register a case under PPC 295-C, 298-C and 295-A against them. The complainant stated that he had personally seen the two Ahmadi infidels using a motor cycle on which a sticker containing a verse of the Holy Quran, Is God not sufficient for His servant? (Is God not sufficient for His servant?) was pasted; blasphemy had therefore been committed. The police took Mr. Zahur Ahmad and his motor cycle in custody. A sum of RS. 17000 had to be paid to have them released. Maulvi Fazl-ur-Rehman, Chief of the national Jamiat Ulamai Islam and former Chairman of Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee of Pakistan National Assembly arrived at Larkana and put his full political pressure on authorities to formally charge the Ahmadis. Messers Zahur Ahmad and Nur Hussain, both school teachers were accordingly arrested and their motor cycle again taken in custody. An appeal was made to the Session Judge to let off the accused on bail while awaiting trial, on the grounds that the basis of the case was flimsy. The Session Judge, however, rejected the bail application. The case for bail was then moved in Sind High Court at Karachi. The State counsel vehemently opposed the plea. However, the honorable Judge accepted the application and the accused were released on bail after approximately three months in prison.

The two accused now have this Damocles sword of death penalty hanging over their heads. Their crime is that they had a sticker on their motor cycle, “Is God not sufficient for His servant?” The future historian is going to find it difficult to believe that the entire establishment in Pakistan during the last decade of the twentieth century of the Common Era had found a simple and non-controversial verse of the Quran sufficient reason to cry Blasphemy and to make an effort to award death punishment to the believing accused. However, in the presence of the documents, evidence of the police FIR and the records of the Sessions Court etc, he will be left with no choice except to believe the unbelievable.

PPC 295C- A Tool of Mass Terror and Persecution
In October 1992, a mulla, A.M. Hamadi of Tando Adam, Sind, who calls himself Amir Mujahideen, had reportedly a few letters, originated from an Ahmadiyya Office, stolen and sent to him. He could find nothing objectionable in them except epithets praising God and His Prophet and Islamic greetings. Armed with this highly “objectionable material” he approached the police and had a criminal case registered against 10 important functionaries of the Ahmadiyya Community, under PPC 295-A, 298-C and 295-C which carry long imprisonment and death as penalty.

To be exact, he accused the victims of writing the following in their correspondence:

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
(In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful)
We praise Him, and invoke blessings on His Noble Prophet
(We praise Him, and invoke blessings on His Noble Prophet)
May peace and Allah's mercy be with you
(May peace and Allah's mercy be with you)

Those whom he got included in the list of accused are:

1.
Mr. Mansoor Ahmad Khan: Director Ahmadiyya Foreign Missions
2.
Syed Ahmad Ali Shah: Deputy Director Guidance and Reformation
3.
Mirza A.R. Baig: Deputy President Ahmadiyya Community Karachi and an Advocate of High Court
4.
Mr. Nazir Ahmad: Secretary Finance, Karachi
5.
Mr. Sadruddin: Secretary Matrimonial Affairs, Karachi
6.
Mr. M.J. Asad: Secretary Education, Karachi (Retd: Deputy General Manager, Pakistan Burma Shell)
7.
Syed Sakhawat: Additional Secretary Guidance, Karachi and an Advocate
8.
Mr. Abdul Majid: Secretary Finance, Gharo Community
9.
The General Secretary, Karachi
10.
Mr. Abdul Malik, Landhi, Karachi

The Police FIR states that the case was registered at the orders of Superintendent Police, Sanghar. It is relevant to mention that four of the accused were over 70 years of age, including two who were 80. The crime is considered so serious that the bail was granted by no less an authority than the Honorable Chief Justice of Sind High Court. The accused faced these charges for six years and some of them had to travel regularly almost one and a half thousand kilometers for each court appearance. Not all of them have still been cleared.

Apparently, the entire Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan has become hostage under the Blasphemy Law. Anybody can have any Ahmadi implicated on the most flimsy excuse. There is no dearth of these ‘anybody(s)’.

A Dangerous Weapon in the Hands of Corrupt Officials
Six Ahmadis from District Gujranwala were booked on complaint of fundamentalists on 21 July 1996 under the notorious Anti-Ahmadiyya Law PPC 298-C, promulgated by the late General Zia. Two of the accused were arrested while the other four managed bails before arrest. Mullas had this case registered with full support of and in collusion with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Javed Sarwar. Soon after, the Blasphemy clause PPC 295-C was added to the charges. Their appetite for malice and transgression still demanded more, so the district administration and the extremists added three more names to the list of accused. These were Ahmadiyya missionaries, namely, Messers Tahir Ahmad, Muhammad Daud Nasir and Munir Ahmad Shams.

It is interesting and relevant to give in brief, some salient aspects of the life of Javed Sarwar, the Deputy Commissioner who played, behind the scene, a leading role in this case.

Sarwar joined the civil service as a petty official (Tehsildar) in 1960. A few years later, he was fired by the government on charges of corruption. Many years later, he was reinstated. He is related to the well known “General Rani” (Begum Raza) who claimed close relationship with Mr. Hamid Nasir Chatha, a Muslim League (J) leader. With these and some other powerful supporters in politics and bureaucracy, he was given the charge of district Gujranwala as Deputy Commissioner. He soon developed a reputation for open corruption and bribery. He was accused of receiving a heavy amount in bribes regularly every month. The President of the District Bar accused him in public of all these charges, some of which the Deputy Commissioner boldly and unashamedly admitted. Advocates and lawyers boycotted his court. In July 1997, Javed Sarwar was arrested and put behind bars for arranging murder of an adversary.

How could one feel safe from such administrators who, at will, can apply the Blasphemy Law?

Blasphemy Law- A Political Weapon
Mr. Atiq Ahmad Bajwa, an Ahmadi advocate from Vehari, distressed and moved by the moral and social decline in Pakistan decided to launch a social cum political movement, in his personal capacity. He named it “Tehrik Nizam Adal” i.e. Movement for Justice. He called a press conference on 6 July 1992 in the Press Club where he stated his perception of the national situation and his scheme for its improvement. On 29 July, he addressed the District Bar Association.

One, Javed Iqbal, who claims himself to be a staunch Muslim, supported by other fundamentalists, approached the Multan Bench of Lahore High Court through a writ claiming that PPC 295-C and 298-C had been violated by Mr. Bajwa. The Police Addl SHO submitted to the court that if approached by the complainant, a case would be registered against Mr. Atiq Ahmad Bajwa. An FIR was accordingly registered on 10 November 1992 under Sections PPC 298-C and 295-C, the Blasphemy Law. The complainant complained that his religious sensibilities had been hurt and Blasphemy committed, because Atiq Bajwa, a non-Muslim, said the following:

Greeting of Assalamo Alaikum (Assalamo Alaikum)
In thee name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful (In thee name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful)
The accused also recited the opening chapter of the Holy Quran.

Mr. Bajwa was subsequently arrested. A large number of Muslim members of the lawyer community who were present in the meeting asserted in writing that Mr. Bajwa said nothing which hurt their religious feelings, and the complainant attended their Association meeting unauthorizedly and uninvited. So Mr. Bajwa was released on bail, but the charges remained and he continued to fend for his life ever since.

On 19 June 1997, Mr. Atiq Bajwa was murdered in broad daylight by a bearded pillion rider. Mr. Bajwa was 60. He left behind a widow, three sons, a daughter and many admirers to mourn his gruesome murder.

The Noble Lady Who Died Sixty Years Ago
Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan was the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan. He was Judge of the International Court of Justice at Den Haag for 15 years, and was nominated its President. He was also the President of the United Nations General Assembly during its 17th Session. Sir Zafrulla was son of a very noble mother, and he was very fond of her. After her death, he wrote a small, but very interesting biography titled ‘My Mother’. It narrates many instances of her spiritual and moral excellence.

According to one, Waqar Jadoon, an activist of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat Youth Force, Syed Bashir Shah, an Ahmadi sent a copy of this book to the mother of Hamid of Abbotabad. Jadoon claims that he located this book with Hamid, and he found it insulting to the religion of Islam. Obligingly the police registered a case against Syed Bashir Shah under section 295-C, 298-A and 298-C PPC (as if death penalty under 295-C was not sufficient).

It is relevant to mention that the book has been translated in English. Other than Waqar Jadoon and his type, anyone else may do the interesting exercise of reading through the book and try to discover anything even awkward in it. The soul of discreet Sir Zafrulla would indeed be very surprised at such an unlikely discovery.

Doctor On Trial for Life
Dr. Muhammad Akhtar Majoka, an Ahmadi doctor who invited some persons to an Aftar party, including one called Abdul Ghani, landed in a criminal case registered on 21-2-1994 with the police against him by his guest under PPC 298-C, 16 MPO and the Blasphemy Law 295-C. The doctor was arrested by the police. He was later released on bail, awaiting trial.

A counsel of state filed an application for cancellation of the bail in the Lahore High Court. The Judge dismissed the application with the observation that the addition of Sections 16 MPO and 295-C were made later without justification and legal basis.

The Additional Session Judge however did not concede to removing the charge of blasphemy, and on 20 March 1997, he framed Section 295-C against the doctor. On 9 April 1997, when the accused arrived at Khushab to face the charges, a host of prosecution witnesses and bearded sympathizers arrived at the scene crying hoarse that they were involved in Jihad. Most of them belonged to Sipah Sahaba; the group blamed for the recent wave of extensive terrorist activities in the Punjab. For the last many years, Dr. Majoka has suffered and tried hard to avoid hanging on the gallows, for a crime he cannot dream of committing.

In Prison- for what Reason?
Mr. Saeed Ahmad, an Ahmadi medical practitioner of Chak 61/RB Faisalabad was entrapped by the local mulla under PPC 298-C on charge of preaching and was arrested on 26 April 1997. When application was moved for his release on bail, the magistrate observed that the state counsel opposed the bail on the grounds that the accused translated Quranic verses incorrectly. He also observed that prima facie, the accused does not believe in the physical ascension of the Holy Prophet and says so in an objectionable manner, as such Blasphemy under PPC 295-C was indicated; hence the bail application being outside his jurisdiction was returned. The application was then moved to the court of the Addl Session Judge on the plea that the accusation was malicious, as the accused believed the Holy Prophet to be the greatest among prophets. The application, however, was vehemently opposed by the counsel for State who asserted that the remarks of the accused about ‘Miraj’ (ascension of the prophet to heaven) were derogatory. The Addl Session Judge observed: Allah Almighty has ordained in the Holy Quran “enter in Islam completely”; having embraced Islam one cannot remain hocus pocus and act like somersault in respect of the cardinal principles of Islam; to believe in the finality of Prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) as per his own saying and according to the verse of Holy Quran is the corner stone of Islamic Faith. Having given these religious grounds, the “learned” judge proceeded to reject the bail application of the accused who is charged with Blasphemy and is faced with a possible death penalty. One may ask: Is the accused being tried for having a different religious view or for blasphemy? Anyway, he continued to suffer in prison.

The bail application was then moved in the High Court, where it was accepted and the accused was released from the prison three months after his arrest to face the actual trial.

Translate the Quran and Face Hanging
A case was registered under the Blasphemy law on 12 October 1994 at police station Tando Adam, District Sanghar, against three Ahmadis for translating the Quran in Sindhi language. In the FIR, the accused were shown as (a) Professor Dahri, a senior educationist (2) Mr. G.B. Sheikh, a Sindhi scholar and (3) Qazi Munir Ahmad, the keeper of Ziaul Islam Press Rabwah. The accused came to know of the case in early 1995 when the police came searching to arrest them. Subsequently, with malafide intentions two more Ahmadis were added to the Chalan (Final charge sheet), namely, Messers Agha Saifulla and Muhammad Ibrahim, falsely alleging them to be the publishers.

Long Reach of the Persecution Net of the Blasphemy Law
Mr. Abdul Qadir, an Ahmadi Missionary and his two brothers-in-law were charged nine years ago under PPC 298-A on 28 October 1988, on charge of preaching. The prosecution went on for years. Six years later when the court proceedings were almost complete, the opposition gang applied to the magistrate that the case should be dealt with under PPC 295-C, the Blasphemy Law, rather than the 298-A. The magistrate obligingly referred the case to the Sessions. Two years later, on 16 May 1997, the Session Judge gave the decision that PPC 295-C was not applicable and sent the case back to the magistrate.

In the meantime, the Session Judge was transferred, so the magistrate again pushed the opinion that PPC 295-C was indicated. Lahore High Court was then moved by the defense for quashment of the whole case. Justice Mohammad Nasim, however, was not convinced; he set aside the 298-A, but maintained PPC 295-C, the blasphemy accusation. If after nine years, an accusation under 298-A can be changed into 295-C, no defendant can ever feel that the tie of the hangman's knot is too far from his neck.

An appeal was made in the Supreme Court against the High Court decision. Judge Ejaz Nisar of the Supreme Court also did not provide any relief, instead ordered maliciously that the case be decided by 30 November 1997. Accordingly, Rana Zahid Mahmud, Additional Session Judge, Sheikhupura, gave the decision that each one of the three accused was to undergo 25 years of rigorous imprisonment and to pay Rs.50,000/- fine. Immediately the accused were arrested inside the court and were taken to the district jail Sheikhupura. Later, they were shifted to the Central Jail, Faisalabad.

According to the trial judge the three accused had responded to the complainant who was critical of Hadrat Ahmad, in these words: ‘We say the same about Mohammad what you say about Ahmad’. Twenty five years' imprisonment simply for this reply! In fact, even this reply is fabricated. And surely, not all the three accused said these words in unison. History will not readily forget nor forgive Rana Zahid Mahmud for his injustice.

Conclusion: The above stories have been repeated with slight variations in all the rest of the 189 cases concerning Ahmadis. Although a few individuals of other religious denominations including some Muslims have also faced charges of blasphemy, the most frequent victims of the blasphemy law are Ahmadis. A Supreme Court decision in 1994 provided the legal convenience for action against Ahmadis. The Supreme Court, while dismissing a petition of Ahmadis, observed: “When an Ahmadi or Ahmadis display in public, on a placard, badge, or a poster, or writes on a wall or ceremonial gates, or bunting the Kalima (Islamic creed) or chant other Shaaire Islam (Islamic epithets) it would amount to defiling the name of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)”. [Also See Enforced Apostasy: Zaheeruddin v. State and the Official Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan by M. Nadeem Ahmad Siddiq] Thus, while a Hindu, a Christian or any other non-Muslim could only be charged under the Blasphemy Law if he actually defiles the person of the Prophet or if he is falsely accused of such an act, Ahmadis, on the other hand, are charged under the Blasphemy Law when they profess or practice the faith they believe in, i.e. Islam. The persecutor thus may not bother to produce witnesses or any other evidence, as no Ahmadi is, ever, going to deny or denounce his own faith. Dr. Karen Parker, the internationally well-known human rights campaigner told the UN Sub-Commission that President Zia told her that he considered that Ahmadis defile the Holy Prophet; Ahmadis personally offend him and that it was his duty to eliminate heretics (Report of her interview with the General on 5 May 1986). According to a recent press report (Jang Sept 5, 1997) Raja Zafar ul Haq, the Federal Minister of Religious Affairs told a visiting delegation: Qadianis are enemies of both Islam and Pakistan; they are worse than Jews. The statement was subsequently not disowned by the Minister or by the Government, thereby indicating confirmation.

Sometimes ago, the Government of Pakistan proposed that the law would be amended to discourage unjustified use of complaints of blasphemy, but no concrete or binding steps have been taken in that direction or to provide relief to the numerous old cases. No safeguards and effective legal remedies have been made available against illegal or abusive application of PPC 295-C. Mulla and the officialdom are free to exercise their discretion to victimize innocent Ahmadis who could never even consider being blasphemous to the Prophet. Very recently, a sinister and inauspicious move by the government has come to light which is loaded with possibilities of grave miscarriage of justice and human rights. According to a report, which appeared in the Daily Jang, Lahore of 11 September 1997, Mr. Rana Latif, Additional Advocate General Punjab informed the Lahore High Court during the hearing of a blasphemy case against Yusuf Ali that, according to the new legislation, blasphemy case under PPC 295 will be placed under the jurisdiction of Special Courts, as such these anti-terrorist courts will hear these cases. On 20 September, the same newspaper reported that the High Court judge refused the applicant's bail and concluded that according to the new law, Special Courts have the authority to hear Blasphemy cases. Subsequently, a number of such cases were referred to these courts under the Anti-Terrorist Act which a Human Rights scholar has called an Act of Terrorism (Newsline, Sept: 1992). Faced with international condemnation, the government withdrew the PPC 295 C from the ATA list but maintained the 295 A.

For sometime, various arms of the government have themselves been active in application of the Blasphemy Law on Ahmadis who happen to get implicated in religious litigation. Officials of both the judiciary as well as the executive branches have participated in this exercise. From 1994 to April 1997, twenty-four Ahmadis were made victims of this official tyranny. Now it has become almost routine. For instance, 19 Ahmadis were booked under this law at Umarkot Sind, on 2 September 1998. In addition, officers of the Attorney General Department have persevered in attempts to block bail applications of Ahmadi victims. This belies the government claim, made off and on, that the provisions of Anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance are not being actively applied and the application of PPC 295C has been made ‘restricted’.

Last, but not least, Ahmadiyya Community is of the considered view that the Quran makes absolutely no mention of the Blasphemy Law or of punishment of death or imprisonment; on the contrary, there are many verses in the Quran which clearly support the principle of freedom of faith and conscience. Blasphemy, as an immoral act, however, stands to be condemned by not only Islam but also all decent persons and societies, no matter against whom blasphemy is committed.

From the Archives
Prize on the Head of Khalifatul Masih IV (Supreme Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Jamaat)
According to a news item that appeared in the Daily Jurat, Karachi, of 30 September, 1998 and the Daily ‘Assalamo Alaikum Pakistan’, London, of 1 October 1998, the life of the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat was threatened for a cash reward of ten million rupees. Both the newspapers claim wide circulation - the former in Pakistan, and the latter in the Urdu-speaking community in England. One, Khanzada Abdul Hamid Khan, who chaired a meeting of the Islamic National Front at Baitul Mujahedeen, Karachi, reportedly offered the cash reward. The government of Pakistan did not state what action, if any, it took against this instigator and exporter of terrorism.

Previous -> The Tidal Wave of Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan in Consequence of Ordinance XX of 1984 Table of Contents Top of Page Next -> Ahmadi Martyrs - Slain in Pakistan for their Faith - April 26, 1984 to April, 1999