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Ahmadi children arrested on false charges in Pakistan, alleges Indian Ahmadiyya community
QUADIAN: Ahmadiyya Muslim community in India spokesman Mohammad Nasim Khan said in a press release that five members of its community residing in Chak 172/TDA, District Layyah, Pakistan have been arrested and charged under Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code. In a grave blow to any standards of decency, four of the accused are children studying at the English language ‘Superior Academy’ private school. Under the terms of Section 295-C any person found guilty is subject to either the death penalty or life imprisonment.
The arrests have been formally condemned by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) , whilst Asma Jahangir the chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has also condemned the arrests of the children as ‘heinous’.
The four accused children are Muhammad Irfan, Tahir Imran, Tahir Mahmood and Naseeb Ahmad. There are conflicting reports regarding the exact age of the children however according to both the ‘AHRC’ and ‘The Daily Times’ their ages range between 14 and 16. Mr Mubashar Ahmad, aged 50, has also been arrested under section 295-C. All five were taken into custody on 28 January 2009 by virtue of a police raid on each of their homes. After four hours in custody each of the accused was charged under the terms of section 295-C on the completely false grounds that they had written the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the walls of a toilet at the Jamia Gulzar-e-Medina Mosque.
Mr Salim-ud-Din, Spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Pakistan said:
“These allegations are completely false and baseless. The police have no evidence whatsoever and have merely succumbed to the pressure of those who spread religious hatred in the region.”
It is of note that none of the persons arrested have any connection to the Gulzar-e-Medina Mosque and they do not live anywhere near it.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has stated:
“Family members were told (by the District Police Officer) that the police were under pressure from fundamentalists to act against the children. If he did not arrest them, the group had threatened to close down the whole city and attack the houses of Ahmadi sect members... The AHRC urges the government of President Asif Zardari to immediately release the illegally detained prisoners.”
The charge laid against the five Ahmadis is completely baseless and false without foundation. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat reveres the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the final law bearing prophet, who brought with him a universal teaching. No disrespect towards him could ever be tolerated by any Ahmadi; man, woman or child. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad wrote:
“The man who in his being and his attributes and his actions and through his spiritual and holy faculties set an example of perfection and was called the perfect man was Muhammad (peace be upon him).”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat urges the immediate release of the five persons imprisoned and for all charges to be dropped. In a country which seeks to promote an image of tolerance to the Western world, it speaks volumes that peace loving children have been charged with an offence that sanctions the death penalty as a sentence.
The International Community, Media and Human Rights organisations are all urged to take action to secure the release of all of the accused in this matter. In an era where freedom of religion and belief is accepted as a basic human right throughout the world it is of disbelief that anti-Ahmadiyya legislation is still active and indeed still being so cruelly enforced in Pakistan.
SITUATION IN DISTRICT LAYYAH WORSENS
Qadian 10th Feb (Maqbool Ahmad): Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat spokesman Mohammad Nasim Khan said in a press release today that the Human Rights situation of its members in District Layyah, Pakistan is worsening. The five Ahmadis, who include four children, arrested on 28 January 2009 remain in police custody. They are not being allowed to meet with any persons, in direct contravention to the provisions laid forth in Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Pakistan is party.
Further, to the arrests of the five Ahmadis, in the village of Chak 172/TDA the situation is becoming increasingly tense due to the acts of religious extremists in the area. A social boycott against the Ahmadis has started whereby it is not safe for them to travel home via normal routes and they are unable to purchase even food from the local shops.
Inflammatory posters in opposition to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat are being displayed throughout the village.
Once again the International Community is urged to take immediate action to bring an end to the increasingly dangerous and threatening situation that is developing in District Layyah.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat confirms that the situation in District Layyah, Pakistan continues to deteriorate. Although there are elements within the local community who are supportive of the Jamaat, the pressure of the local Mullahs is such that the situation is becoming increasingly tense.
The four children arrested by the authorities on fabricated charges under section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code were moved to Dera Ghazi District Jail on 4th February. Even though they have been in custody for over a week they continue to be denied access to Jamaat officials and to their families. An official at the Jail has said that some limited access to family will be granted in the near future, however until such meetings actually occur, doubt remains.
A natural consequence of the continued detention of the children is that they are falling behind in their studies. They are all due to sit exams in one month and therefore are all concerned at their lack of preparation and schooling.
In a further worrying move the local Mullahs have announced that a large scale rally will be held at Chak TDA/172 in opposition to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. It is more than likely that this event will be used to incite hatred against the Jamaat and to urge people to act against Ahmadis. The organisers of this event are inviting people from nearby cities such as Dera Isamael Khan and Muzafergarh to take part in this rally. The local authorities and police are seriously concerned about the event which they fear they will be unable to control.
Ahmadi Muslims throughout the world are urged to write to their local media and officials in protest of what is happening in District Layyah.
The International Community is once again urged to take immediate action.