By Tayyba Seema Ahmed
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Nineteenth Century British India
Chapter 3: Jihad - Origins, Concepts and Interpretations
Chapter 4: The Essence of Jihad
Chatper 5: Introduction to the Translation
Chapter 6: Jihad and the British Government
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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.
Excerpts from “State of Human Rights in 1997”
These extracts, to some extent, describes the situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan. Please read them and judge the mental and moral level of the anti-Ahmadiyya elements.
These are only a few cases which were known to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Ahmadis charged under the blasphemy law 295-C (The law that only prescribes death punishment) for reciting Kalima Tayyaba La Elaha Illalah Muhammad ur Rusoolullah i.e. There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger" & verses of the holy Quran. The same when recited by other Muslims is considered as part of worship.
a) Eleven fresh cases were initiated against 32 members of the Ahmadiya community during the year under blasphemy and related laws. Two of them - including a 16-year old boy - were booked under 295-C (and other sections). The case of this boy, Anis-ur-Rahman, of Sanghar (Sindh), throws light on the methods adopted by Ahmadi-baiters to prey on their victims. An anti-Ahmadi activist, Mulla Hamadi, sent one of his pupils to talk to Anis about the Islamic kalima. Anis said the Ahmadis followed the same kalima. A few days later the man, alongwith three other persons (obviously to act as witnesses) approached Anis and again discussed the kalima. Soon they started protesting that Anis was violating the law by reciting the kalima. They went to the police to register FIR and when the police hesitated to do so for several days a demonstration was organized. Eventually a case under blasphemy and terrorism was registered against Anis. [Page 71 & 72]
b) Advocate Atiq Ahmed Bajwa, a former president of the Vehari Ahmadiyya community, was traveling in his car when he was chased by a bearded gentleman on a motorbike. He had 18 bullets pumped into him. His driver too was killed. Five years earlier he had been charged and arrested under blasphemy law for reciting the holy Quran but was able in the end to obtain release. [Page 140]
Another Case under blasphemy, a sheer cruelty
The court's intervention was rarely favourable to the Ahmadis, and when it was, it was not always effective. The additional sessions judge of Sheikhupura in December 1997 sentenced Abdul Qadeer, Muhammad Shahbaz and Ashfaq Ahmad to 25-year imprisonment and Rs. 50,000 fine each under the blasphemy law. They were originally charged, nine years ago, with derogatory remarks (according to complainant) against holy personages of Islam - which, under Section 298-A, carried a maximum punishment of 3-year imprisonment or fine or both. Six years later the magistrate decided that it was in fact blasphemy against the Prophet which, under section 295-C, carried death penalty. [Page 139]
Under detailed report of the same case it is mentioned that:
...A case under sec. 298-A PPC was registered the same day. For six years the case was heard by a magistrate. When the proceedings were near conclusion a petition was made on behalf of the complainant party to raise the charge to 295-C PPC. The magistrate referred the case to a court of sessions. In May 1997 the sessions judge sent the case back to the magistrate with the opinion that sec. 295-C was not applicable. The magistrate again referred the matter to the sessions judge (a different one) who agreed to the application of sec. 295-C, and his view prevailed. The defence efforts to get the case quashed by superior courts failed and on Dec 2, 1997, the additional sessions judge gave his judgment. In his judgment the ASJ recalled the order of the magistrate to the effect that instead of falling under sec. 298-A PPC the offence fell under sec 295-C which was punishable with death or imprisonment for life. (Under sec. 295-C the only sentence prescribed is death.) The judge noted that the record had proved the presence of 'certain hot-headed and emotional Muslims amongst the complainant side, who aggravated the situation.' This lessened the gravity of the offence and was a mitigating circumstance that persuaded the court not to award death sentence. The defendants had denied the charges against them and termed the prosecution case as false and concocted. According to them the family of Shahbaz and Ashfaq belonged to the Ahl-i-Hadith sect before converting to Ahmadiyat in 1984-85 (a few years before the alleged occurrence). The complainant and two prosecution witnesses belonged to Ahl-i-Hadith and had acted out of malice after having failed in their attempts to persuade the defendant's family to renounce the Ahmadi creed, they had maintained. [Page 70 & 71]
Some Other examples of cruelties against Ahmadi Muslims
a) In Khushab a case registered four years ago against the medical officer of the government hospital in Noorpur Thal had accused him of preaching Ahmadiyat at an iftar party and converting one person, During investigation, the complainant had the police add the charges of blasphemy and disturbance of the peace (295-C and MPO-16), The doctor, Mohammed Akhtar Majoka, was arrested, then released on bail. The complainant appealed for cancellation of the bail. The LHC (Lahore High Court) dismissing the application wrote; There is nothing on the record to justify the addition of these offences. There is no word in the FIR attracting the ingredients of Section 295-C PPC. This prima facie was done without any legal basis. Dr. Majoka then went to the sessions court to ask that the charge against him under 295-C now be dropped, but his petition was dismissed. The additional sessions judge proceeded to frame charges against him both under 298-C (an Ahmadi preaching his faith) and 295-C. [Page 139]
b) Dr. Saeed Ahmad of Chak 61/RB Faisalabad was arrested under 298-C. When he applied for bail the magistrate told him that he could even be charged with 295-C, On appeal the sessions judge too rejected his bail. [Page 139]
c) Malik Mohammad Iqbal, an Ahmadi of Narang Mandi, had married a Muslim cousin. His in-laws belatedly realising the inadequacy of the match had him arrested for preaching his faith (298-C) and for wrongful relations with their daughter (Hudood Ordinance). The sessions court rejected his bail application, but later, in April 1997, LHC accepted it, when he had been six months in detention.
d) In another case of conversion, in Hafizabad, Muhammad Ashraf Janjua found himself disinherited from family property and, on his father's complaint, arrested for preaching his faith.
e) Wasim Ahmad of Faisalabad, held on the same charge, was also refused bail.
f) In Sanjwal, Naseer Ahmad got his bail but he got transferred to Wah Cantt, had his marriage declared void, and received daily threats to his life. [Page 139]
g) Dr. Saeed Ahmad of Faisalabad was accused of preaching Ahmadiyat (298-C) in April, but the magistrate also added the charge of blasphemy (295-C) and the doctor remained in jail without trial and without bail. [Page 139]
h) Rana lrsal Ahmad was jailed in late 1992 on a charge of blasphemy but released by the high court three months later. The pursuit of him continued. His brother was murdered, he himself escaped a murder attempt, his father was abducted, beaten up and left for dead. Late in 1997 his case was transferred to a special court under the Anti-Terrorism Act. [Page 140]
i) A century old Ahmadi place of worship in Dalmial in Chakwal was ordered by the civil magistrate into the custody of Muslims. [Page 140]
j) Bashirul Haq and Bashir Ahmad of Patoki, Kasur, Were charged under sections 295-A and B for hanging an inscription of Kalima Tayyaba (i.e. There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger) in their shops. The magistrate granted them bail, but when the locals raised an outcry he canceled it. [Page 140]
k) When an Ahmadi in Mansehra went to the court complaining of his house having been raided, his dish antenna broken up, and the Ahmadi graves desecrated, the complaint was dismissed, and following it there was much rejoicing in the streets mocking the Ahmadi. [Page 140]
l) If a court verdict is favourable there were ways of defying it, as mullah Allah Yar Arshad of Rabwah showed. He was asked to vacate an illegally occupied property. But on the bailiff's arrival he collected a crowd, caused a medley and even created a fire. The police then intervened. Meanwhile the mullah had the mosques in nearby Chiniot announce that the Ahmadis in Rabwah had attacked Muslim homes, set some on fire, and even burnt the holy Quran. The media too splashed that news. The original issue got buried. [Page 140]
m) Dr. Nazeer Ahmad of Dhonki in Wazirabad was kidnapped from his home and his dead body discovered the next day. He was reputed to give free treatment and medicine - even meal and bus fare - to the poor population of the area who thronged to his small clinic. This was seen by those unhappy with his popularity as a ploy to attract simple people and convert them to Ahmadiyet. [Page 140]
Ahmadis put behind the bars for four years for saying Asalam-o-alaikum, (i.e. Islamic words of greeting that means Peace be upon you
Two Ahmadis, Bashirul Haq and Javed, facing trial since 1993, however, did get relief from the supreme court and were granted bail. Before passing its order the court asked the state counsel whether Queen Elizabeth (who was then on a visit to Pakistan) would be arrested for saying Assalam-o-Alaikum. (The use of Islamic epithets by Christians, Hindus, agnostics, etc., is not an offence, their use by Ahmadis is.) [Page 71]
The partial attitude of the State and popular media
The attitude extended to personal harassment of members of the Ahmadiya community. It was easy to provoke them and then blame them for creating the trouble. It was also common to have them proceeded against under one of the Ahmadi-specific laws (preaching Ahmadiyat or using a Muslim form of address or displaying a Quranic verse), even under the more general blasphemy law (295-C) or the breach-of-peace provision (MPO-16). With the police, magistracy, the popular media and the state prosecution generally acquiescent in, sometimes even actively supportive of, the tendency, the accused often suffered for long before obtaining relief, if they obtained it. [Page 138]