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Three more Murdered
Sargodha: It would be recalled that five Ahmadis were killed inside their mosque in anti-Ahmadiyya riot at Takht Hazara, district Sargodha, on November 10, 2000. The riot was instigated and precipitated by a mullah, Athar Shah, a non-local who had been posted at Takht Hazara by his parent Khatme Nabuwwat Organization only to cause mischief and instigate people to violence. On November 10, the mullah led a group of armed miscreants to the Ahmadiyya mosque where they raised slanderous slogans and precipitated a confrontation. Athar Shah was wounded in the brawl. This was followed by extreme violence in which an angry mob attacked the Ahmadiyya mosque, demolished a part of it, overwhelmed the few Ahmadis who were there, and murdered five Ahmadis inside the premises of the mosque. They hit the faces of their victims repeatedly with their axes and even cut their throats. It was not easy to recognize them when their dead bodies were handed back to their families. The attackers suffered no loss of life.
Although, at that time the government assured all human rights concerns that justice would be done, and arrested a number of the attacking hooligans, however it followed up the initial action by numerous steps to placate the mulla. Authorities booked 36 Ahmadis as well under various sections of the Penal Code and arrested a number of them. This was followed up by a police inquiry and medical reports. In Pakistan, these two sources are always in a position to substantially change and adversely affect the dispensation of justice. At the court, the state takes over the task of prosecution. The prosecutors are, of course, in a position to present the case in a manner that the guilty can get away with murder and the innocent can suffer for crimes they did not commit. False witnesses are another major problem. Thereafter, it is the judge who has the power to dispense justice according to his own inclinations and attitude. All these factors played their part in the final outcome of this important case.
Mr. Gulshad Hassan Alvi, Judge of the Anti-Terrorist Court at Sargodha heard this case and gave his decision on 31 October, 2001. Four Ahmadis were awarded five years' prison sentences and fine, on four counts. Six non-Ahmadi rioters were found guilty of murders and were awarded life terms and fine. Mullah Athar Shah, the agent-provocateur, was allowed to walk away a free man. Thirty-six other rioting miscreants, accused of violence, were also found not guilty.
Without going here in complicated legalities of this very important case, following observations state the specific and the obvious:
When the killers and the victims are treated this way, one is not surprised that terrorists and their sponsors plan and precipitate incidents at places of worship at centers like Takht Hazara, Ghatialian and Bahawalpur.
Lahore; Ahmadi students of UET Lahore, especially those residing in its hostels, are facing a very difficult situation for the last few weeks. A well-organized and orchestrated drive has been launched in the University by some religion-based student group or organization to create a law and order situation focusing on the Ahmadiyya issue. The University authorities are unable, and perhaps unwilling, to suppress the agitation with a firm hand.
A few months ago, a non-Ahmadi student, Sohail Ahmad started an anti-Ahmadi campaign in his hostel. He formed a group and formulated a list of demands that they presented to the Incharge of the hostel. They stated that for religious reasons, they would not like Ahmadis to partake food from the common kitchen. The group distributed anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlets, leaflets and stickers in the University to generate communal hatred. They formulated a list of demands against Ahmadis and started a signatures campaign. Suhail also prepared a list of Ahmadi students, male and female, and was able to identify 29 Ahmadi students. The group demanded that Ahmadis be isolated.
The University authorities, fearing some hidden designs of the agitators, told Ahmadi students to shift to Iqbal Hall (Hostel). It was at midnight that all Ahmadi students of Zubair Hall were ordered to shift to Iqbal Hall. The next day Ahmadis residing in other hostels were also told to shift.
Ahmadi students felt very disturbed and met the Vice Chancellor (VC) who told them in confidence that a serious conspiracy hatched by extremists was underway and asked them to co-operate with him. He even advised them to shift away from the University hostels. Ahmadi students informed higher civil authorities of their concern and difficult situation.
The opposition group deceitfully arranged to place some pistol bullets in an Ahmadi student's room and arranged a police raid. This way they planned to convey the impression that Ahmadis are involved in terrorism and violence. He was taken in police custody. It was with great difficulty that the magistrate accepted his bail.
In the meantime, all Ahmadi students had been shifted to a hostel meant for foreign students only. The opposition group did not leave them alone even there, and contacted foreign Muslim students and urged them not to let Ahmadis share their kitchen, on the grounds of religion. Ahmadis again approached the administration that advised them in their own interest to quit the University for some time. Ahmadis decided to hold on to their accommodation but started sleeping outside the University premises at night. It was with great difficulty that they arranged sleeping quarters for overnight stays.
On 16th October, Ahmadi students were informed by the administration that Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT), the student wing of fundamentalist Jamaat Islami had plans to take out a procession to protest the Afghanistan war but will target Ahmadi issues and students. As such, do not come to the classes and stay away from the hostel, advised the authorities. Ahmadis complied. However, on October 17, at about 10 p.m. the hostel warden sent for a few senior Ahmadi students and told them that in view of the deteriorating security situation, the University was not in a position to ensure their safety, so they should all shift out. On October 18, the warden conveyed that the extremists had obtained a Fatwa from Jamia Naeemia (a madrassa) and some mosques that Ahmadis' murder is an obligation, as such all Ahmadi students are ordered to vacate the hostel before sunset. They complained to the VC but to no avail. Accordingly, Ahmadi students were made to vacate their rooms, dump their belongings in a few allocated spaces and shift out.
The academic year is coming to an end, and annual examinations are to be held shortly. Ahmadi students are facing difficulties that amount to terror. Authorities are unwilling to restore calm and order with a firm hand. They would rather yield to fundamentalists and obscurantists.
Lahore: Ahmadis, all over Pakistan, continue to receive threatening calls and letters. Threat-launchers consider themselves immune from any criminal proceedings against them by authorities. Their assumption is based on firm ground; they have never been taken to task even when they boldly print their addresses on threatening leaflets and letters. Such a letter was sent recently by the Office of Anti-Qadiani Movement, Allama Iqbal Town Lahore, to the Ahmadiyya Community, Rehmanpura, Lahore. Some excerpts:
Severer insults have not been included in excerpts give above.
Sargodha; September 1, 2001: Mr. Sultan Ahmad Bhatti is a hawker for the Ahmadiyya daily Alfazal, in Sargodha. On September 1, at about 0530 when he approached an Ahmadi's house to deliver the daily paper, he was nabbed by a neighbour, Sheikh Athar, and detained in a room that the kidnapper bolted from outside. Athar's elder brother, Amjad joined him and the two subjected Sultan to violence. They also told him that he will be slaughtered if he did not recant. It about mid-day, Mulla Toofani, a leading fundamentalist figure of the city came along with three other clerics. They had brought along a policeman, and accused Sultan of distributing Ahmadiyya literature. Sultan told them that he was only a hawker of the Daily Alfazl that was published with the permission of the government.
They took their Ahmadi victim to the police station. They offered to release him if he recanted, but he refused. At the police station, they locked him up. The police wanted him to sign a given statement, that he refused to do.
In the meantime, Sultan's family got to know of his predicament. They rushed to some influentials to rescue the poor fellow. They contacted the police and told them that the detainee was innocent. Eventually the SHO let him go after sunset. It was a heavy day for the unsuspecting hawker who had gone out to earn his daily bread.
It may be mentioned that Mulla Toofani has often violated the law and absconded, but, on the Ahmadiyya issue he has sufficient clout to avail official support. In this case, the authorities should have taken him to task for severely harassing an innocent citizen; instead he managed to get help from the police to assist him in his evil undertaking.
District Badin: Ahmadi children are facing harassment at a school in Tando Ghulam Ali. They are not allowed to drink water from the public source; they are not permitted to attend the Islamiat class. If they complain to their teachers, they tell them that they are infidels, so they have no right to complain. Ahmadi girls in a private school face the same problem. At a private public school in Golarchi, a number of Ahmadi children, both boys and girls, have been expelled.
Rachna Town, Lahore; September 7, 2001: A Khatame Nabuwwat Conference was held by mullas at Rachna Town, Lahore.
The first speaker stated that some people tend to praise Qadianis for their courtesy and moral excellence; this must stop, we must condemn them regardless.
The second speaker urged the audience to pursue Qadianis to far corners of the earth. He lamented that Muslims were not doing enough for the cause of Finality of Prophethood; Qadianis must be chased out of the country.
A poet came up on the stage and combined the temporal with the religious. He led the crowd in shouting slogans against America and also the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Community.
The special Guest Speaker was extensive in his slanderous rhetoric. He told the dwindled crowd that Qadianis had been planted by the British. He informed them that the founder of Qadianism was a one-eyed person (another blatant lie). He ridiculed him for receiving some revelations in English language. It is understandable; after all, he was planted by the English, he jeered. He proposed that if everyone killed one Ahmadi each, there would be none left; and this was the sure way to earn paradise. He lamented however the poor attendance.
Lahore; November 1, 2001: Two Ahmadi brothers namely, Hamad Ahmad Khan and Waqas of Hajweri College of Computer Science, Lahore were beaten up only for their faith, by other students who they did not even know by name.
Hamad and Waqas of Rabwah, joined the College only a month ago. They were in the process of settling down. Other students had, however, come to know that these two were Ahmadis from Rabwah.
On November 1, at about 2 pm, a student asked Waqas as to why he laughed at Ali. Waqas told him that he did not even know who was Ali. At this, the fellow assaulted Waqas. Soon a dozen other students joined in and beat up the two brothers. It seems they had preplanned the joint assault. The beating stopped only when a professor arrived at the scene and intervened. Waqas had a head injury; stitches had to be applied to it. Hamad had a fractured arm; it developed swelling. The victims had to be taken to a doctor.
The next day, the Principal sent for the offenders, but they had absconded not only from the college but the hostel as well.
The incident is particularly noteworthy in view of the concurrent developments at the Engineering University, Lahore. Normally students do not behave this way; however those belonging to wings of politico-religious parties are often tasked by their parent organizations to foment trouble. Islami Jamiat Tulaba has a long history of such conduct; now there are other such bodies as well in educational institutions.