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The present regime that installed itself in Islamabad in October 1999 can be arguably credited for being ‘consistent’ on the issue of Ahmadis - by keeping the issue off its radar. Only a few weeks after the take over, the Chief Secretary of the Government of the Punjab issued a letter on November 20, 1999, addressed to all the Commissioners, in which he urged them in the Ahmadiyya context to accord ‘due regard and respect to the religious sentiments of fellow Muslims’ — yes, ‘fellow Muslims’, as if those who are not Muslims or are not legally considered Muslims, are not fellow citizens in the province of the Punjab or the state of Pakistan. He unwittingly betrayed that Pakistan would remain a confessional state. There were other signals in quick succession. Dr. Ghazi, who was in fact a mullah, was inducted in the Federal Cabinet and nominated on the National Security Council, although he was on record in having formally recommended earlier that the penalty of death be imposed on apostates. On December 30, 1999, a mullah Ghulam Murtaza was permitted to make slanderous and highly provocative remarks on state television against the holy founder of Ahmadiyya Community. The government also refused permission to Ahmadis to hold their traditional annual conference at Rabwah. Next year, more Ahmadis were murdered for their faith than in any year of the preceding quarter century. One hundred and sixty Ahmadis were made to face criminal charges on religious grounds as compared to 80 during 1999. The government maintained its active support to tyranny, in that state prosecutors vigorously and successfully opposed bail applications of Ahmadis in courts. Encouraged by the government’s attitude, sitting judges like Nazir Akhtar of Lahore High Court publicly urged the common man to kill Ahmadis on the pretext of blasphemy.
The year 2001 was no different for Ahmadis. A judge, in one spurious case, awarded 118 years’ imprisonment to each of the two Ahmadis who, on their own land, had simply demolished a dilapidated one-room mosque made of mud and replaced it with a new one made of bricks.
The overthrow of Taliban in Afghanistan changed the regional politics considerably, and the President made his great anti-extremists policy speech on January 12, 2002. However, only a month later, during his visit to the U.S., when someone asked him if Ahmadis would be allowed to become part of the mainstream through joint electorate, he replied that he had not thought of that so far and that he had so many bullets to bite. He was consistent. On this issue he would not walk the way he would talk. He was not conscious that injustice lacks long term stability.
About this time, Chaudhry Shujaat entered the scene. Elections were being talked about and political battle lines were being drawn. The Chaudhry called on the President. Emerging from a successful meeting he told the press that the President had undertaken that while amending the constitution no amendment will be made to any clause of Islamic laws. In one get-together with clerics, an indignant mullah Saleemullah stood up and questioned the President on the Islamic status of Ahmadis in the newly implemented Joint Electorate. The President placated the mullah and assured him that the needful would be done. And surely enough, a few days later a Chief Executive’s Order was published in an Extraordinary Gazette that not withstanding the Joint Electorate, Ahmadis would be put on a Separate List of Non-Muslims. Ahmadis will remember the year 2002 in their history as the year when the state of Pakistan and its president chose, once again, to reassert the wrongs for which there was no excuse or moral basis whatsoever. In that year of elections, the regime decided to facilitate mullahs of the MMA to participate and win plenty of seats in the national and provincial assemblies. The general thus shot himself in the foot, as the later events now manifestly show. The stated policy was that of ‘enlightened moderation’; the failure to apply policy was an abuse of power.
The fragile state continued to be manipulated in the subsequent years by the fossilized forces of religion. Any attempts to dilute the impact of religious laws were frustrated by the so-called custodians of faith who were by then firmly entrenched in the arena of political power. For instance, a great deal of hullabaloo was made on an Amendment in 2004 to the procedure of registration of an FIR of the Blasphemy law. Later, everyone saw that the wording of the Amendment was designed to make it toothless. No wonder, just in one case, 15 Ahmadis were charged at Bahawalpur under the Blasphemy law, simply on the complaint of a mullah who, on a mischief mission, had a personal grievance against two or three Ahmadis. Despite the Amendment, Mullah Hamadi had no problem in getting a Blasphemy FIR registered against the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Community and three pressmen and one Ahmadi woman on the published report that the Quran had been recited in a sermon. The regime persisted in allowing generously for the demands of Islamist thugs. Implementation of the ‘enlightened moderation’ remained a pipe dream.
In the year 2005, 11 Ahmadis were killed only for their faith, the highest total of the preceding five years of the regime. These assassinations were the brain child of men about the like of whom Fanny Parker once aptly wrote, ‘externally he is a saint but, internally a devil’. This was the year when the government decided unnecessarily to retain the religion column in the machine readable passport. The government of the Punjab felt no embarrassment in advertising an auction of residential land in Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) to only those who believed in ‘complete and unconditional end of Prophethood and who was not a follower of anybody who claimed to be a prophet in any sense of the word or was an Ahmadi/Qadiani/Mirzai/Lahori’. This happened in the 7th year of the present regime. Its consistent commitment to the politics of religion and strident religiosity is amazing.
This year, 2006, was hardly any different. Ahmadis were murdered and attacked for their faith. They were made to flee from their home and hearth by sectarian zealots - in the police presence, who refused to restore calm on the excuse that it might spread the riots to other villages. Innocent Ahmadis remained incarcerated in prisons serving life terms. Tyranny and prosecutions continued all over the country on religious grounds. Freedom of Press, a flagship human rights policy of this regime was selectively denied to only the Ahmadiyya press. Mullah remained free to congregate in numbers at Rabwah and indulge in gross abusive rhetoric, but Ahmadis were not allowed to hold a single open-air community event in their own town. This report describes all that in essentials. Also included are a few reports on the situation of Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan by some international organizations, and also a few published articles by fair-minded intellectuals. This report could be called ‘essential reading’ for anyone who is interested in the Freedom of Faith in Pakistan in general, and in the Ahmadiyya situation in the country in particular.
A. Riots at Jhando Sahi
Ahmadiyya mosque destroyed. Entire Ahmadi community of the village is forced to flee for fear and lack of protection
No culprits detained; however, the police arrested seven Ahmadis and charged four of them on bogus charge of defiling the Holy Quran under PPC 295-B that prescribes imprisonment for life
Authorities have taken no steps till a fortnight later for the evictees to return home
THIS happened on June 24, 2006 in village Jhando Sahi, near Daska in the Punjab. It is a big village with a population of about 5,500. There are approximately a dozen Ahmadi households in the village; their population is approximately 100, women and children included.
Two or three Ahmadis undertook cleaning of their mosque after the mid-day Zuh’r prayers. In order to protect the sanctity of old religious literature and papers they put them in a sack, dug up a small pit inside the mosque and set them on fire. A hostile neighbor noticed the activity from a nearby roof, and without any further inquiry or information shouted that copies of the Holy Quran were being burnt. The village was hosting a fair on that day. This man hurried there and raised the cry. This agitated the crowd who rushed to the Ahmadiyya mosque, occupied the place, got hold of some Ahmadis and beat them up severely.
The local anti-Ahmadi mullah of the End of Prophethood (Khatme Nabuwwat) faction, called Multani came to know of the incident and proceeded to add fuel to the fire. The police had arrived by then (of Police Station Bambanwala; SHO Mr. Sanaullah Dhillon), but they made no attempt to restrict the clerics from spreading the mischief. They only arrested Ahmadis, and let the religious zealots do what they did.
These vandals, who were in hundreds, attacked Ahmadis’ homes, and set fire to their shops. In order to avoid physical harm, Ahmadi women and children fled from their homes. The mob looted all the expensive belongings from their homes and set fire to the rest. The stock of two shops owned by Ahmadis were also set blaze. Two motor-cycles were burnt and two tractors belonging to an Ahmadi were damaged. Three thousand liters of fuel was ruined, and these thugs looted thousands of rupees cash. In some homes, children scared to death hid themselves under charpoys (traditional beds) in unlit and unventilated rooms for hours to escape detection. These families were denied refuge by some neighbours while some others afforded them protection till the mullah announced on the mosque’s loudspeaker that those who provided refuge to ‘Mirzais’ would have their houses demolished. Mr Muhammad Nawaz, an influential Ahmadi agriculturist, was held by a scarf twisted around his neck. He was pulled around through the streets, and was beaten up severely on the face. He was hit on cheekbones; his eye-sockets barely escaped damage. They manhandled his septuagenarian father who is a respectable elder and president of the local Ahmadi community. All this was undertaken by religious bullies in police presence that was present in strength including the Elite Force, all under the overall charge of District Police Officer (DPO Sialkot) Mr. Tariq Khokhar. As a culminating act they destroyed the Ahmadi mosque and took away its girder and beams as plunder. It is funny that only three days later, the Federal religious minister Ijazul Haq could assert, “all minorities enjoy equal rights in Pakistan, and their places of worship are fully protected by the government” (The daily Dawn, Lahore; June 28, 2006).
The role of the police calls for special mention and censure. It was apparent to all that the police had given freedom of action to the rioters. In fact, some Ahmadis reported being chased jointly by rioters and constables. The crowd felt greatly encouraged by the permissive attitude of the police, and indulged in criminal behavior. The mullahs and riot leaders felt free to issue instructions to the miscreants on loudspeakers. It was announced that Ahmadis were Wajebul Qatl (liable to be killed). The police heard it and took no action. It is odd that those who decry in full throat the destruction of the Babari mosque in a neighboring country, themselves destroyed still another mosque. They took away from the debris whatever they found of value.
While the mob leaders were in complete control of the Ahmadiyya mosque they rigged the disposal pit, the bag containing the disposable papers, the Holy Qurans from the closets (but added by them to the disposal bag) etc, and prepared an incriminating video of the alleged activity of Ahmadis. The police simply witnessed the proceedings. Mullahs prepared dozens of CD copies of this fabrication for distribution, and sent them mostly to neighboring villages and nearby Daska town to inflame the public and spread the riots further. The next day a procession was planned at Daska, but it was a failure due to the visit of a VIP political mullah to Sialkot.
At the moment all the Ahmadi families, a dozen or so, are displaced. One of these has a farm outside the village; it has shifted there. Their plea to visit their home in the village was turned down, and they were threatened of serious harm if they attempted again. Couple of families have taken refuge elsewhere with their relatives. Most of them have come to Rabwah and have taken up temporary residence in the Langar Khana (the community kitchen). They have been visited by only a few human rights concerns and members of the press, but no politician or official has come to see them and sympathize. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and National Commission of Justice and Peace (NCJP) were good enough to send their representatives to look into their plight. Only the Daily Times and The Post sent their reporters to talk to them. (The Daily Times news report is available in news section). The Daily Times was sensitive and thoughtful enough to make a prompt editorial comment on the incident in its issue of June 26. The Associated Press team also came and talked to the victims. The homeless men, women and children had distressing and touching stories to tell the visitors.
Nr Nasir Ahmad, aged 39, stated: “……Soon came along the Imam Masjid, Multani Sahib, and he immediately took to the loudspeaker and shouted that Mirzais are Wajebul Qatl; set their houses on fire. …….The mob included Azmat Qadri, Rana Azhar, Liaquat Ali, Rana Sher Sulehra, Amjad Dar, Khurram Riasti, Qamar alias Badshah Sahi etc. They all were howling insults and tried to break open the outer doors. My wife fled over the roof along with the kids, and sought refuge with a relative who initially refused. But when asked in the name of Allah and the Holy Prophet, they agreed to it for a short duration. At about that time, the mob set fire to two of the shops belonging to me and my brother… These stores were the only source with us to support our families. Now we are deprived of these. …”
Mrs. Zubaida Shakil narrated: “…….Participants of the procession entered my home and went right into the back room from where they got hold of Shakil (my husband) by the hair, dragged him out and beat him up severely. …….. The police were present when they beat up the Muallim Sahib (the religious teacher) and our president’s son; the situation was as if that of the doomsday. My elder daughter was with me, and I was extremely worried on her account rather than my own. My house was like a Karbala (the site of Imam Hussain’s ordeal). My younger sons wilted under the stress of the situation, and went torpid.………”
Mrs. Parveen Akhtar, wife of Mr Abdur Razzaq stated: “………. When the mob attacked, I hid my son under the Charpoy and cried and prayed to God repeatedly: ‘O Lord, enable us to bear up with this ordeal in grace, and support us to remain steadfast (a scriptural prayer in Arabic)’. So God sent us his angels to protect us, so that we remained safe and quit our refuge sobbing at about 0200 at night. It felt like facing a doomsday or a Karbala.…………”
Mr Tariq Mahmud, 42, son of Mr Abdul Hamid told his story: “………. When the procession came over to my house, they were chanting insults and slogans. They set fire to some of my belongings and looted the rest. They severely damaged my home, and were going to set fire to it when they (the neighbors) dissuaded them. Thereafter they announced that those who gave refuge to Ahmadis will have their houses destroyed. After nightfall the miscreants destroyed our mosque in police presence, and took away the useful debris. At about 0100 at night, I fled from the village and reached Daska with great difficulty, where I went to a relative’s home.………”
The distressing event was a witness to some human decency as well. Most Ahmadis were given refuge and protection by some neighbors and non-Ahmadi relatives, even at risk and under threat. A number of non-Ahmadis kept the victims informed of what was happening outside. This helped them to remain out of harm’s way, and flee at appropriate time. The ‘Elite Force’ police was helpful in giving lift to some families, and drove them out to Daska.
Having relented in the first phase of the riot, the authorities could have undertaken the damage-control exercise during the night and the next day. If the authorities had then enforced law and order, they could have created suitable conditions during the next two or three days only for the evictees to return home in safety. However, they decided not to do so; and now, even two weeks later, the victims of the disturbances remain homeless.
The DPO Sialkot, Mr. Tariq Khokhar told the print and the electronic media that: “Criminal case will be registered against Ahmadi workers under the religious laws…. It is to be ascertained who were implicated in the incident of burning the Holy Quran…. The police had ‘strong evidence’ against three of the seven arrested men…. Bambanwala police has arrested all the three accused and the situation is ‘under control’.… ” etc. What he did not say was the action he failed to take against the criminals who destroyed property, physically assaulted their victims, looted their belongings and forced them to flee from their homes. He also did not assure the victims that they would return home soon in safety. In all fairness, the DPO should not be singled out for criticism; no political leader or government official, big or small, had the moral courage to utter a word of sympathy in public for the victims or to condemn the criminals. The authorities appear to appease and support the bigots and fanatics, and shun the molested and victimized. This is outright discrimination, persecution and violation of human rights amounting to criminal by international standards.
An interesting comparison can be made in governmental response in two different cases of almost similar nature — the Sangla Hill incident in November 2005 and this Jhando Sahi incident. At Sangla Hill the affected community was Christian, while at Jhando Sahi, the Ahmadiyya community was under attack. The post-incident response of the authorities was quite commendable at Sangla Hill, while it is plainly condemnable at Jhando Sahi. Briefly:
A mob comprising members of the majority community attacked church properties at Sangla Hill and destroyed buildings including two churches. Subsequently, as per press reports:
As for registration of the riot case, when Ahmadis approached the SHO to register an FIR against the rioters, he replied that he would do that only if ordered to do so by the DPO. The DPO in turn ‘advised’ Ahmadis to ‘exercise restraint’. It seems that according to the police, disposal of old pages of scriptures respectfully by burning is a major crime to be punished with imprisonment for life, while arson, loot, destruction of a place of worship and forced eviction of people from their homes and the village is not worthy of registration in a police report. This is amazing attitude to civil affairs. It also shows that the authorities are sensitive only to the drummed up sentiments of the majority, while the extreme plight of members of a small community is hardly worth placing on record. Whither human rights!
It would also be noted that the provincial government, the local government and the federal government all showed little interest in the plight of Ahmadis. They left it all to the DPO who was interested only arresting Ahmadis and making announcement to that effect, as if it was a great success story. Under what social and moral justification, the political authorities absolved themselves of the responsibility to mind the security and human rights of the Ahmadi community? Are the authorities not accountable for all citizens of the state to God and to the national and global civil society? The global village got the news of the incident by next day through internet. Ahmadis are now found in 184 countries of the world; and the international community regardless of nationality, colour or creed is mindful these days about human rights and freedom of religion and faith – concerns and concepts that know no borders. If the government wants Pakistan’s image as a ‘moderate and enlightened’ country, will such incidents and their such handling by authorities verify and fortify such an image? Quite the reverse, frankly.
It is noteworthy that as late as only a year and half ago the Lahore High Court took note of the opinion of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on the issue to give a decision in a case of alleged desecration of the Holy Quran (PPC 295-B). This opinion records, inter alia:
The case was registered against four Ahmadis, namely Messrs Zaheer Ahmad, Waqar Ahmad, Shakil Ahmad and Fayyaz Ahmad at Police Station Bambanwala in FIR NO. 165/06 dated 24 June 2006, under PPC 295-B. The accused are incarcerated in Sialkot.
(It appears that someone from the victims did betake to the ‘Powerful Support’ hinted by Prophet Lot. One bigwig responsible for their suffering, the District Police Officer, Mr. Tariq Khokhar was hauled up by the Supreme Court a few days later, in some other case, and, according to the press report, was ordered by the Chief Justice of Pakistan to, inter alia: “Go and sit down on the rear seats of the court room and write a report stating that you are incompetent and not fit to continue in service. And present this report to the Inspector General of Police”. The court observed that the I.G.P. should fire such officers (The daily Jang, Lahore; July 6, 2006.)
Essentials of the riots stated above were subsequently authenticated by non-Ahmadiyya independent sources. Some of these are quoted below for record.
Inquiry Report by a team of 9, organized by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan , was published in its monthly Jahad e Haq, August 2006. It mentions the following inter alia:
The Friday Times of August 4-10, 2006. It published an article by Ms Sadaf Arshad and titled it: Daska doomsday (with reference to the nearby town of Daska). It printed photographs of the destroyed Ahmadiyya mosque and the burnt-out stores. The article mentioned, inter alia:
The daily DAWN, in its issue of August 6, 2006 published an article on the Jhando Sahi incident, under the title: Religious laws — mob violence. Following comment therein is noteworthy:
The monthly Herald of Karachi covered the Jhando Sahi story in its issue of August 2006, written by Azmat Abbas under the title: Strangers at Home. A few excerpts:
The Video CD produced by Mullahs. Mullahs noticed fairly early during the disturbance that the police was on their side and would let them proceed with their criminal proceedings unhindered. So having undertaken a great deal of loot and arson, they settled down to prepare a video of the incident. In this they were at liberty to rig the scenes and mix facts and fiction as suited to their purpose. They produced many copies of this video and distributed them to other communities to spread the violence. The CD shows the following, inter alia:
While all this was happening through commission and omission in the months of June and July, the Home Secretary Mr. Khusro Pervaiz Khan, the senior most bureaucrat in the provincial capital who should have assured expeditious return of the homeless Ahmadis back to their village, only issued a governmental notification No SO (IS-III) 1-4/2005 dated 19th July 2006 that he was pleased to forfeit an issue each of the daily Al-Fazl, the weekly Alfazl International and the monthly Tashheez-ul-Azhan, with immediate effect. These issues were published prior to the Jhando Sahi incident, and the worthy Secretary made no exact mention of the matter therein that he found objectionable. It is certain that he was acting only to comply with spurious demand of some mullah.
Till August 31, no riot leader nor any of the arsonists had been arrested. Two Ahmadis remain in prison exposed to serious risk of ‘life imprisonment’ through the bad system that is quiet effective in dispensing injustice. The molested members of the Ahmadiyya community are trying to restart their homes, and the government has given them no financial help for that. No promise has been forthcoming to rebuild their place of worship for them. Such is the state support to Freedom of Religion in the land of enlightened moderation.
Men, women and children of the Ahmadiyya community, who suffered greatly and unjustly in Jhando Sahi on June 24, 2006 and in the following weeks, place their trust in Allah, however, they are keenly watching how the provincial plenipotentiaries, Governor Maqbool, Chief Minister Pervaiz Ilahi, Chief Secretary Salman Siddique, Home Secretary Khusro Pervaiz Khan, IGP Ziaul Hasan and the District Nazim Akmal Cheema bear their noble burden of duty placed on their shoulders at this time and space in the Punjab. God and history will keep a record of that, as they did in the case of Mian Brothers’ conduct in Chak Sikandar riots in 1989. DPO Khokhar has been judged already when he faced his tormenting angels in the Supreme Court, a few days after the riots. And there is more to follow as told by the Holy Quran: What! Did you think that We had created you without purpose, and that you would not be brought back to us? 23: 115/116.
The action taken by the Chief Minister of the Punjab, Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi should be placed on record here. The Ahmadiyya Community headquarters sent a detailed letter to the Chief Minister on the tragedy at Jhando Sahi and requested intervention, relief and support for the riot-stricken. More than two weeks after the incident, the Chief Minister’s Secretariat wrote a brief letter to DPO Sialkot that is readable for its (lack of) concern, and is worded to ensure the desired action (or inaction). The entire body of this letter, No: CMS/AS(M) 25/2006/6602 dated 11 July 2006 is the following:
This letter arguably deserves no further comment.
An Amnesty International team of three, led by the president of the Pakistan chapter, visited Jhando Sahi on 13th August and made on-the-spot in-depth inquiry. The team produced a Fact Finding Report and sent its copy to the President of Pakistan with a covering letter on September 2, 2006. The Report, more or less, confirmed what we have already reported above, so we reproduce here only: 1 Comments/Recommendations, and, 2. The Important Points Needing Immediate Action of the A.I. Report, inter alia:
The drop scene. Many weeks later, there was a press report that the Inspector General of Police asked the DPO for a report on the status of the Jhando Sahi case. The officialdom handled the criminal clerics like a hot potato unnecessarily. No arrests were made, however a criminal FIR was registered against some named rioters and riot-leaders. They were threatened with further action. As a result a compromise was made which suited the criminals as well as the administration. Ahmadis, as the victimized group who had suffered greatly at their hands, had to cut their losses and agree to an unequal agreement. Both sides agreed to withdraw their complaints against each other. As a result, the two Ahmadis who were still in prison and whose application for bail had been rejected, were released on bail on November 8, 2006, three and half months after the attack on them. It is easy to discern that the net result of the entire episode was that the criminals who rioted, looted and burnt, and their mentors, all got away without paying any price for their excessive criminal conduct, while Ahmadis were made to feel obliged for cutting their losses and being spared from the risk of life-imprisonment for an act which is not a crime by any standard.
Those who harm simple people/and who laugh at their injuries/will not be safe./ For the poet remembers. (Inscription at the martyrs’ monuments, Gdansk shipyard, Poland)
At this late stage, the administration distributed some money to the victims of these riots and donated Rs 25000/- ( equivalent of US $ 418) for reconstruction of their mosque; this money would just suffice to construct a one-man shower & WC in the mosque. Ahmadis of the village are considering return of this charity to the authorities.
B. Attack on Ahmadiyya Press
Ahmadiyya press subjected to fresh attack by authorities on fabricated charges
Two named pressmen and ‘others’ booked under Ahmadi-specific clauses, anti-terrorism law and 16 MPO
Mr. Dogar, an old man, sick and under treatment, arrested and not released on bail
Rabwah: It happened on September 9, 2006. Two days earlier mullahs of the Khatme Nabuwwat Movement had held a provocative and slanderous conference at Rabwah by permission of the authorities. Among their other demands, highly prejudicial to human rights of Ahmadis, one was against the Ahmadiyya periodicals undoubtedly the most docile and modest of religious journals in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the police, under orders from the provincial capital, struck on the forenoon of September 9.
They raided the office of the daily Alfazl, and searched for the editor, the publisher and the printer. Not finding them, they picked up Messrs Qasim Ahmad and Abdus Sattar who have nothing to do with the Alfazl, took them to the police station, and locked them up. Subsequently the police continued with their raids, and arrested Mr. Sultan Ahmad Dogar from his residence. By nightfall they registered a serious criminal case vide FIR No. 480/06 dated September 9, 2006 at Police Station Chenab Nagar, District Jhang, under PPC 298B, 298C, 16MPO and the terrorism clause 9ATA. The FIR mentions Messers Agha Saifullah and Sultan Ahmad Dogar by name and includes ‘others’ in the business of the Press. Thus the net has been kept wide open maliciously. The FIR states that the Alfazl promotes hatred and injures the feelings of Muslims. The accusation is mullah-inspired, false and pure fabrication. They have not specified any ‘extracts’ or excerpts that are hate-promoting; there are none.
The mullahs’ conference at Rabwah on September 7 was so highly sectarian and even anti-government that the authorities decided to book four mullahs. Perhaps to look even-handed, they booked the Ahmadi pressmen. But while they have on record the highly objectionable diatribes of mullahs, it is certain that authorities will not have the audacity to quote from Alfazl any passage that is objectionable, so as to avoid being absurd. It is noteworthy that they arrested no mullah, but they arrested an Ahmadi and are looking for the other. The victims committed no terrorism; it is they and their families who are terrorized.
Both the named accused are old and on medication. Mr. Dogar is 60 years old, suffering from diabetes, and is taking insulin injections morning and evening. He does not know what wrong he has committed except that of being an Ahmadi pressman. Two days after the arrest, he was presented at the Anti-terrorism Court at Faisalabad. The judge told the police to bring him up a week later, so they sent him to the far away prison at Jhang. On September 18, the judge rejected Mr. Dogar’s plea for bail, and gave the date of September 25 for commencement of the trial. On September 25, the judge gave no hearing, and gave him the next date of October 4. He was under acute stress and his nervous condition visibly deteriorated. If declared ‘guilty’, he could be imprisoned for seven years.
The charge is false. There is no formal complainant or the accuser; the case is at government’s initiative. As per FIR, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (Operations) ordered the action. It is a serious violation of the flagship policy in the field of human rights of the present regime — “Freedom of Press”. Why the government decided to undertake the unjustified and unworthy action is not exactly known. The application of the terrorism clause was preposterous.
Mr. Dogar is old, not in the best of health, and under medication. They put him in prison. He asked as to what exact excerpts or passages the authorities object. They had no reply. “The whole lot”, said a mullah. But is that the way the present government has decided to function?
The defence told the trial judge that 9ATA was not applicable. He agreed, and told the state to take it off. Mr Dogar could not avail of the relief of bail earlier, because of the ATA clause. He remained in prison. Now he has applied again for the bail. It is now almost two months that this senior citizen from the domain of press is still in prison (on 31 October 2006). He does not know what wrong he has done. If this is not tyranny, what else is? And as for Freedom of Press in Pakistan, it is obviously selective and discriminatory. It reminds one of the concluding speech, made by the state prosecutor of China in 1979 at the trial of a dissident Wei Jingsheng:
Reportedly there are official agencies, groups and parties who commit accesses against pressmen, but they do it discreetly, mindful of the state’s declared policy of freedom of press. For example, the recent abduction, disappearance and detention for a day of Mr. Dilawer Khan Wazir, a reporter of the daily Dawn; no one claimed responsibility. However, the Ahmadiyya pressmen are not accorded any such privilege, caution or pretense; the Home Department or the Police Head Office issues written orders to commit the violation of fundamental freedoms.
Reportedly there are official agencies, groups and parties who commit accesses against pressmen, but they do it discreetly, mindful of the state’s declared policy of freedom of press. For example, the abduction, disappearance and detention for a day of Mr. Dilawer Khan Wazir, a reporter of the daily Dawn in November 2006; no one claimed responsibility. However, the Ahmadiyya pressmen are not accorded any such privilege, caution or pretense; the Home Department or the Police Head Office issues written orders to commit the violation of fundamental freedoms.
Although the judge removed the terrorism clause from the charge sheet, the prison authorities kept Mr. Dogar in the special cell meant for dangerous criminals. Here, he was allowed open-air time of only one hour during twenty-four hours, as compared to much longer hours allowed to ordinary prisoners that he was now as per rules. That was tough. Mr. Dogar then put up his plea for bail before the Addl. Session Judge, who accepted the plea. As such, he was released from the prison on December 2, 2006, almost three months’ incarceration for no valid reason. The daily Alfazl is extra careful in minding the rules. It carries the notice on its front page: ‘Meant only for the education of Ahmadis’. Its management makes sure that none of the subscribers is an Ahmadi. So the accusation of hurting the feelings of Muslims is fallacious and contrived.
Mr. Dogar has ten children, of which 6 still live with him and are his dependents. They suffered a great deal because of his ordeal. His wife bore the brunt. Mr. Dogar instructed the family women folk not to visit him in prison, as the procedure and the environment of meeting a prisoner is greatly inconvenient and even forbidding. Mr. Dogar has served 35 years in the world of publications. His undeserved persecution by the state is unbecoming and in violation of its own policy on print media. The discrimination against anything Ahmadiyya is excessive and unsupportable — to put it mildly.
And lo and behold, the authorities registered still another criminal case under Ahmadi-specific PPC 298B and 298C against the same team including ‘others’. The government apparently believes in ‘hit them, hit hard and keep on hitting’ — its own citizens, and for no good reason whatsoever. Who says only the Mullah is to be blamed for the sorry state of the ‘land of the pure’? The FIR was registered as No. 602/06, at Police Station Chenab Nagar, on November 17, 2006 under PPC 298B and 298C against Messrs Sultan Ahmad Dogar, Agha Saifullah and others, in pursuance of Official letters No. 7576-PA dated October 28, 2006 and 7846-PA dated November 7, 2006.
Eventually Mr. Dogar was released on bail. However, he will face prosecution in court for the two criminal cases against him under the Ahmadis-specific laws. He is at risk of imprisonment for years — for what, he does not know.
C. Rabwah as a safe haven!
Introduction: On account of the prevailing institutionalized persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan, many victims tend to flee from their homeland and seek shelter elsewhere in the world. In some countries the authorities raise a simplistic but formal question: Why don’t these Ahmadis shift to Rabwah rather than come that far to other countries? A special Mission, in fact came over to Pakistan to see the situation on the ground.
Ahmadiyya ‘assessment’ of the situation at Rabwah, with particular reference to the Mission’s task and its specific questions, was presented on October 9, 2006. It is reproduced below for its import and archival value.
‘Murder in the name of Allah’ remains an option with the Mullah. He hires one or two assassins for a paltry sum to do the job for him. The risk involved in killing an Ahmadi is minimal as the police does not take the assassination seriously. When Mr. Munawwar Ahmad was murdered at Gujrat in August 2006, his relatives urged the police to register the case under the Anti-terrorism Act as the law allows for it; but the police did not agree. Also, the judiciary takes an Ahmadi murder rather lightly. In a rare case at Faisalabad, an assassin who murdered an Ahmadi in broad daylight in the busy bazaar, was arrested by the police. He admitted the murder and said that he was proud of having done his religious duty. An Anti-terrorism Court awarded him death sentence. He appealed against the decision. It took some years to reach the Supreme Court. The apex court observed that with seven-years in prison, he had been punished adequately; and ordered his release. This was perhaps the most lenient judicial prescription ever for a confirmed murderer in Pakistan. The victim was only an Ahmadi, and the motive was ‘pious’.
Since the promulgation of the 1984 anti-Ahmadi Ordinance 82 Ahmadis have been murdered for their faith.
Ahmadi murdered at Karachi
Karachi; March 19, 2006: Sheikh Rafiq Ahmad, Ahmadi, aged 42, was murdered by armed attackers at his store, at about mid-day, in Manzoor Colony. He is survived by a widow and four orphans.
Sheikh Rafiq Ahmad owned a small shop in the locality. He arrived there at about 11 pm on March 19. Approximately an hour later two/three helmeted armed men arrived on a motor cycle. They shot him three times. He was hit in the head, the neck and abdomen. The assailants fled thereafter. Sheikh Rafiq was rushed to Jinnah Hospital where he expired at about 4 pm same day.
Sheikh Rafiq Ahmad was a good man. His financial dealings were above reproach. He had no personal vendetta with any one. He was, however, a practicing and well-known Ahmadi. He was not shy or afraid to convey the reality about Ahmadiyyat or its message of peaceful Islam. Earlier, in 1994, two Ahmadis were murdered for their faith in the same neighborhood. It is certain that Sheikh Rafiq was a victim in the same line.
The deceased is survived by 35 years-old widow, Ms Rehana Rafiq. All of their four children are below the teen age. They are Asees Ahmad 12, a son and three daughters Miss Mahira 11, Miss Ride 9 and Miss Manazza 7. They are all school going. The family feels devastated by the cruel and wanton attack.
Ahmadis continue to be murdered for their faith
Sanghar, Sindh; May 7, 2006: Dr Mujib-ur-Rahman Pasha was assassinated at 21:10 outside his clinic by an armed assailant who had covered his face. The good doctor was son of Pir Fazlur Rahman, an ex-president of the Ahmadiyya community of District Sanghar. Dr Pasha was 43.
Dr Pasha was talking at the time with someone outside his clinic when the assailant arrived and fired at him from close quarters. The victim was hit in the head. His staff and close relatives rushed him to Hyderabad where he expired at about 23:30. Since then the police have been unable to trace the killer. The authorities know the clerics well who have been supportive of such murders in the past. It is almost certain that they planned and sponsored such murders, and they still continue to do so. However, the authorities do not question them for political reasons. There is a trend in Sindh, that it is Ahmadi doctors who are given priority as targets in such attacks.
Dr Pasha has left behind a widow and three children aged 10, 7 and 4. He had an excellent reputation among all sections of the society and was known as a competent doctor and a very sympathetic and helpful man.
Yet another murder
Gujrat; August 22, 2006: Mr. Munawwar Ahmad, M.A; B. Ed. an Ahmadi school teacher was killed in broad daylight at about 09:45 at his home.
Two unknown persons riding a motor-cycle came to his house. When he opened the door, they opened fire at him. He was hit by five bullets. The assailants fled after the attack. Mr. Ahmad was rushed to Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Hospital where he breathed his last. The police registered the case and is investigating.
Mr. Munawwar Ahmad was in the education field for almost 20 years. He was a good man, a practicing Ahmadi and a member of the executive committee of the city Ahmadiyya community. He has left behind a widow and three sons aged 3, 7 and 11 years.
It is well-known in criminal circles that the police rarely takes an Ahmadi murder seriously. This encourages religious thugs to undertake assassination of an Ahmadi. It is their practice to target well-placed Ahmadis, such as professionals, activists, community leaders etc. Since the promulgation of the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX eighty-two Ahmadis have been murdered at various occasions. Assassins, in 90% of these incidents, have remained untraced.
The complainant requested the police to register the murder under anti-terrorism law, but they refused to do so. A month later they arrested an Ahmadi printer of a printing press and charged him under the anti-terrorism clause, although the police could not point out the words or the paragraph or the essay that they termed objectionable. Such is the tyranny and dishonesty in the use of the so-called Anti-terrorism Law.
A deadly attack in Rahim Yar Khan
Rahim Yar Khan; March 16, 2006: Sheikh Abdul Quddoos Wasim, Ahmadi was attacked by two assailants in his electric store at about 7:30 P.M. The bullet hit him on the back and damaged his entrails, stomach, lungs and liver. He was rushed to the hospital.
The evil duet arrived on a motor cycle. They were in their early thirties, wearing shalwar-qameez. At the shop, they examined some fans and went into the deep interior of the store. On return they asked Sheikh Quddoos to show them the fan in the interior. They were told that it was not for sale. At this, one of the two opened fire at Mr. Quddoos. The assailants fled from the scene thereafter. According to the medical report, the bullet injured his intestines and stopped inside.
Mr. Abdul Quddoos is the son of Mr. Abdus Salaam, a brother of Sheikh Abdul Qadir known well as Muhaqqiq (research scholar). His wife is the local president of Ahmadi women’s association. Mr. Quddoos, a well-known Ahmadi, is an ex-Secretary of the community.
Narrow escape from murder
Dera Ghazi Khan; September 29, 2006: Professor Abdul Basit, Ahmadi, a former member of the district Ahmadiyya community’s executive committee missed getting killed by a margin of hair’s breadth.
At about 11:00 when he entered his home, a bearded man wearing a red scarf forced entry along with him and fired at him pistol shots. Miraculously, none of these hit the professor. The attacker fled, and Mr. Basit chased him. The assailant fired another two shots at him, and the professor saved himself by taking cover behind the bend of the street. The assailant then managed to escape.
The incident was reported to the police. No arrest has been made. The incident caused great concern to the small Ahmadiyya community of D.G. Khan.
A murder attempt at Chawinda
Chawinda, district Sialkot; October 16, 2006: The Imam of the local Ahmadiyya mosque at Chawinda escaped attack on life, on the night of 15/16 October, through his sensible action. He lives in his apartment at the first floor of the mosque complex. At about 00:30 someone knocked at the window, to which he did not respond. When the intruder knocked again, the Imam shouted, “Who is there? Get me the gun”, and telephoned his friends. At this, the intruder jumped out of the building and fired a few shots. A few minutes later, some Ahmadis arrived at the scene. The police also came, subsequent to the call to them.
The community decided to raise the outer walls of the mosque complex by another five feet. It was decided to lodge a formal complaint with the police.
A murder attempt in Azad Kashmir
Mira Bharka, Mirpur; August 1, 2006: Mr. Etzaz Ahmad, an Ahmadi youth who is an apprentice at a computers shop became a target of a bigot’s blade, and escaped death by a very narrow margin.
At about 5 p.m. a bearded man entered the shop and attacked Mr. Etzaz with a cutter. The assailant went for his victim’s throat and, in the hassle, made three cuts. The cry of the victim attracted help, and he escaped further harm. The intruder declared that he was only trying to dispatch in infidel. He fled, but the helpers recognized him.
A helper took Mr. Etzaz to a doctor. His wounds needed 12 stitches.
Subsequently, the helper, who was the owner of the shop, contacted Etzaz’s father and asked for three days’ interval to deal with the incident. He sent for the attacker and arranged an unequal settlement. The attacker apologized and promised never to come to the premises again.
Etzaz has recovered from his injures, however the scars remain.
Imprisonment remains a very harsh tool available to the state and society to persecute Ahmadis. Some sociologist are of the opinion that imprisonment is a harsher penalty than some other forms of punishment considered barbaric that were practiced in historic past e.g. flogging, amputation, even death. Since the promulgation of anti-Ahmadi Ordinance, 23 years ago, not a single day has passed when an Ahmadi was not in prison for his faith. Ahmadis are booked under the Blasphemy law on highly doubtful grounds. An Ahmadi was arrested and booked under PPC 295C in Tando Adam, as they identified him by his wearing a ring on which was written in Arabic: ‘Is God not enough for His servant’. At present an Ahmadi is serving life-term in prison because the judge found him guilty of disposing some old pages of the Quran, by burning. Another is undergoing life imprisonment for insulting the Holy Prophet (pbuh) - a fabricated complaint supported by two false witnesses. Is there someone, somewhere to speak up for them?
Two innocent Ahmadis are imprisoned for two years and fined Rupees 5000 each
Shorkot, District Jhang; June 5, 2006: Magistrate Akram Tarar sentenced two Ahmadis, Messrs Haq Nawaz and Nazir Ahmad to two years’ imprisonment and Rs. 5000/- fine under PPC 298C, a clause of the Ahmadi-specific law. The prosecution lasted almost seven and a half years. The two accused were arrested after the court verdict and subsequently taken to the prison at Jhang to serve their sentence. Essential details of this case given below are typical in that they are indicative of the origin, development and outcome of such cases registered under the notorious Ahmadi-specific laws.
Chak No. 20 Kaggh, a village in district Jhang is home to three Ahmadi households. They have a small mosque where they worship. On the face of the mosque is written their creed in Arabic: “There is none worthy of worship except God; Muhammad is His Prophet.” The mullahs, encouraged by the state support and the sectarian lobby, decided to strike a decisive blow on the small community. They decided to hold an anti-Ahmadi conference in the village. Large posters were printed and pasted on walls in Kaggh and the surrounding villages. The poster named a host of Ulema of the Khatme Nabuwwat faction, the Sipah Sahaba (now banned for its terrorist activities), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and some madrassahs, who were to speak at the conference on October 10, 1998.
The sectarian open-air conference took place as planned, and the clerics indulged in their usual slander and provocation. They enjoyed unwritten license for such activities from the federal and provincial governments that were headed then by Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif respectively. The mullahs were not content with only a verbal onslaught; they decided to do long-term material harm to Ahmadi residents of the village. They conspired and tasked Hafiz Dost Muhammad, a local mullah to get a criminal case registered with the police against four Ahmadis. The next day, the Hafiz made a written application to the police that the four Ahmadis, Haq Nawaz, Muhammad Siddique, Nazir Ahmad and Zafar Ahmad had re-written afresh the Kalima (Islamic creed) on their mosque; they say Salam to Muslims and thus injure their feelings and preach Ahmadiyyat to others; as such they were guilty of Blasphemy. An FIR No. 30/89 was thus registered at Police Station Shorkot Cantt on October 12, 1998 under PPC 295C for which the penalty is ‘death’. The police and the mullahs jointly wiped off the Kalima from the mosque.
The Ahmadis ‘under threat’ moved fast to arrange bail before arrest, but it was not confirmed subsequently and was cancelled by the Additional Sessions Judge on November 8, 1998; and the four accused were arrested. Ahmadis approached the District and Sessions Judge and appealed against the absurdity of the Blasphemy charge. He was good enough to see that, and ordered that the blasphemy clause be substituted by PPC 298C, the Ahmadi-specific law. Subsequently, the four were released on bail for the duration of the trial. The accused are cultivators and peasants with meager incomes, less than one dollar a day; they suffered the tribulations of a court trial for years. Mr. Muhammad Siddique who was advanced in age, suffered frail health under the stress and strain of the senseless trial, and died. Mr. Zafar Ahmad was a young man; he managed to flee abroad, and thus escaped from the tyranny and persecution. The other two had to stay put and meet the obligation of providing for their large families. Now they were sent to prison for years on the charge that they say Salam and profess in the Islamic Republic that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah.
Mr. Nazir Ahmad is 70 years old and has a big family. He owns only 1½ acre of land. When in prison, his family would have to subsist on charity. Mr. Haq Nawaz is 47 years old. He has 9 children, most of them of school-going age. He barely managed to support his family. Putting it mildly, the state, that treats its citizens in this manner, is in a sad state of affairs — what else can one say?
Fortunately, a good judge allowed them bail recently, while they await a decision on their appeal against the sentence.
Vicious application of the Blasphemy law
Tando Adam, Sindh: October 31, 2006: Mr. Muhammad Tariq, an Ahmadi from Nawab Shah was traveling on a bus. When close to Tando Adam, the town where notorious Mullah Hamaadi resides, the poor fellow was attacked by vultures of extremism and he ended up in the police lock-up, exposed to the possibility of legal murder.
He was wearing a ring with the Arabic inscription: “Is God not enough for His servant”. Many Ahmadis traditionally wear this ring; mullahs know it and it helps them to identify an Ahmadi. Mr. Tariq thus was identified as an Ahmadi. When the bus arrived at Tando Adam, the bus driver assisted by his staff caught hold of him, took him to the police, accused him of injuring their feelings by tearing off anti-Ahmadiyya stickers pasted inside the bus. They had him arrested under PPC 295A, which if upheld would land him in prison for 10 years.
The mullah has a tendency to use the sharpest and the most lethal weapon in his armory against Ahmadis. He was not content with an Ahmadi in prison for only 10 years; he wanted nothing short of death for his victim. The ‘enlightened moderate’ state is always there to support him in his unworthy ambitions. The mullah applied to the DPO (Investigation) to apply PPC 295C, the Blasphemy law, to which the DPO agreed without any qualms; and the PPC was added to the FIR. So useless and futile is the much-trumpeted Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2004, Section 156A which was claimed to restrict the misuse of the Blasphemy Law. Apparently the DPO (Investigation) is more responsive to the wishes of Mullah Hamaadi than to Dr. Arbab Rahim, the chief minister.
Mr. Tariq applied for release on bail. He was presented in the court on November 15, then on November 20, and again on November 29. He remained in prison. His ordeal has just started.
Before the end of the year, a judge accepted his application for bail, however he will face the trial. He remains exposed to the possibility of death sentence or long imprisonment.
Booked and arrested under Ahmadi-specific law
Rabwah; January 8, 2006: The police registered a case under PPC 298C and 16 MPO against Mr. Muhammad Latif Butt son of Mr. Imam Din, and arrested him. The FIR no. 21/06 was registered at Police Station Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) on the orders of no other than the District Police Officer himself, accusing Mr. Butt of preaching.
The FIR mentions that Mr. Butt is 65, married, and has three sons and five daughters. It also conveys that he was an ardent activist of Jamaat Islami and Ahle Hadith denomination up to 1973, but became an Ahmadi in 1974 (the year of extensive anti-Ahmadi riots). He is now the prayer leader in Rahman Colony mosque and is a Secretary of (local) Jamaat Ahmadiyya. He sends written literature by post and E-mail to the respected Ulama (Ulama Karam) wherein he states that according to Islamic theology, it is not correct that Prophet Isa was lifted physically to the sky; the Quran as well as common sense tell us that all those who are born, die and depart, so Ahmadiyya doctrine (of Prophet Isa’s death) is the truth, while Muslims of all the 57 countries are in error, etc.
It is noteworthy that the complainant in this case is not one of the ‘respected ulema’; it is the District Police Officer Jhang of this country that claims to be the standard bearer of ‘enlightened moderation’.
Arrests and registration of criminal case under Ahmadi-specific law
Mirpur Khas, Sindh; June 23, 2006: At the instigation of two mullahs, one Muhammad Ali son of Sharo reported to the police and had a criminal case registered under PPC 298C, 341 and 34 against five Ahmadis for preaching. Two of the accused, namely Maula Bakhsh and Muhammad Akbar who were fresh converts were arrested by the police. The other three went into hiding and applied for bail before arrest.
Later, when the plea for bail of the five accused was presented in the court, the two detainees told the court that they had recanted. The magistrate, however, did not release them on bail and sent them to a prison. Thereafter, the other three accused applied for bail in the higher Sessions Court, where the plea was provisionally granted. The FIR was registered as No. 62/2006 at police station Satellite Town, Mirpur under Sections PPC 298C, 341, 34 on June 23, 2006. If declared guilty, the accused are liable to 3 years’ imprisonment under this Ahmadi-specific law that denies religious freedom only to Ahmadis.
The evil of Ahmadi-specific law
Nama Jandeka, District Okara; August 10, 2006: The police registered a case under PPC 298C, the Ahmadi-specific law, against Mian Muhammad Yar, president of the local Ahmadiyya community, and arrested him for preaching. The FIR was registered as No. 46/06 dated 10 August 06 at Police Station Haveli Lakha, District Okara.
The FIR shows that there was no complainant. The police took the initiative for some political reason. Mr. Yar is an influential person, and the only Ahmadi in the family. In the local Union Council, first his father, thereafter his brother and now his cousin is the Nazim. Someone who did not like Mr. Yar moved the police to strike him with the religious law. The police report mentions that Mr. Yar was sitting at his farm along with friends and was showing them a TV program received through dish antenna. The police took possession of his TV set and the dish antenna.
If declared guilty, the friendly president could be imprisoned for three years.
Arrests at Jhando Sahi
In an anti-Ahmadi riot in Jhando Sahi, District Sialkot, on June 24, 2006, miscreant attacked Ahmadi persons, set fire to Ahmadi businesses, looted personal belongings of all Ahmadis, destroyed the Ahmadiyya mosque and made the entire local Ahmadi community flee from their homes to save their lives. Details of the riots are available in Chapter 2A.
Five weeks later, the refugees were given the signal to return to their homes. A conscientious efficient administration should not have taken more than five days to ensure safe conditions for the evicted to return home. However, it is gratifying that the affected people who were living in a Langar Khana (community kitchen) were able to go back to their homes, even if these homes were now empty. They had no utensils to cook their food, and their beddings and charpoys had been looted. The authorities gave no undertaking that they will receive any compensation. The molested community lost its place of worship; they worship now under the blue sky, on the plot where only the ruins now stand. None of the rioters or riot-leaders was arrested, although they were known to the authorities, and were booked. No official, representing the government visited the riot-affected community to offer sympathy and support.
After the riots, the police detained 7 Ahmadis. They kept four and let go three. Out of the four, they charged two under PPC 295 B on bogus charge of defiling the Quran by burning. More than 4 months later, the police released these two also as a result of a mutual unequal agreement between the two communities that they will not press charges against each other. It was an unfair deal in that none of the rioters who were guilty of assault, arson and loot was punished for his serious crimes.
In prison at the end of the year 2006
Granted, that a certain mount of tyranny and persecution goes on in many countries of the world, but it is a rare country where the state adopts it as a constitutional declared policy. Pakistan, by incorporating Ahmadi-specific Ordinance XX in the Constitution as a part of the 8th Amendment, is one such country. It is now almost a quarter of a century that this bad law was promulgated and the state thereby sent an open message to the villains in the society to avail of state support to persecute Ahmadis. More than three and a half thousand Ahmadis have suffered criminal accusations, charges and prosecution under Ahmadi-specific and other religious laws like the Blasphemy laws. In addition, Ahmadis have been en-masse deprived of their civic, political and human rights. The mullah and his acolytes spare no opportunity to enlist support of state institutions to suppress Ahmadi individuals and communities all over Pakistan.
Case registered under the Blasphemy law against the Supreme Head of Ahmadiyya Community and four presspersons including a woman at the complaint of a mullah, and with the approval of senior police official
Tando Adam, District Sanghar, Sindh: At the complaint of mullah Ahmad Mian Hamadi, the Convener of the Action Committee of the Protection of the End of Prophethood Association (Majlis Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nabuwwat), Sindh, the District Police Officer Sanghar told Police Station Tando Adam to register a case under all the three clauses of the Blasphemy law PPC 295A, 295B and 295C as also the Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298C, against the Supreme Head of Ahmadiyya Community (now residing in London) and four others namely Ms Amat ur Rashid the essay-writer and Messrs Mirza Khalil Ahmad Qamar the editor, Sheikh Khurshid Ahmad the publisher and Sultan Ahmad the printer, all of the women’s magazine, the monthly Misbah. Under the imposed clauses of the PPC, the accused could be given death sentence and also imprisonment for life. The law provides for the trial to be held in a Special Court under the Anti-terrorism law. The FIR is numbered 04/06, and is dated January 5, 2006.
The basis on which this case was registered is grotesque, even bizarre. It is expressive of the mindset of the mullah, the collaboration of the authorities and the absurdity of the law. The FIR records the grievances of the complainant mullah as follows (extracts):
The mullah went crazy centuries ago, but for a DPO in this country of ‘enlightened moderation’ of 21st century to tow his line makes no sense. In fact, in this, he is most probably supported by his superiors and the system. Perhaps the mullah told him that he has no legal option but to register the case. This shows the futility of the much trumpeted Amendment of 2004 to the procedure of handling the Blasphemy cases. It is probable that the authors of the Amendment designed it as such, to hoodwink the protesting world and to simultaneously maintain deadly poisonous fangs of this law. The registration of this case also reveals the very thin coating of the ‘enlightened moderation’ on the establishment, under which it remains plastered with thick coats of extremist emulsion. What else can be expected of a political establishment that calls MMA its ‘natural ally’?
Also, whither the Freedom of Press! Or, is it that it is also selective and discriminatory; and not available to Ahmadis?
Mr Muhammad Iqbal, Ahmadi of Faisalabad and Mr Mansur Hussain of Hafizabad are now undergoing prison sentences for life on charge of Blasphemy, on grounds as flimsy as this case; in fact their cases were fabricated, and false witnesses were paraded in the courts in support of prosecution to ensure conviction. Their appeals now lie with Lahore High Court, awaiting redress; while Mr. Iqbal is now in the third year of his undeserved incarceration. Is their some decency around to come to their rescue?
Blatant and incessant assault on Ahmadiyya Press
Rabwah: Three months after the registration of the first case the authorities registered still another criminal Ahmadi-specific case under PPC 298B and 298C against the same Alfazl team including ‘others’. The FIR was registered as No. 602/06, at Police Station Chenab Nagar, on November 17, 2006 under PPC 298B and 298C against Messrs Sultan Ahmad Dogar, Agha Saifullah and others, in pursuance of Official letters No. 7576-PA dated October 28, 2006 and 7846-PA dated November 7, 2006.
Details of these cases against Ahmadiyya press are available in Chapter 2B.
Four Ahmadis booked under Ahmadi-specific law
Mianwali Bangla, District Sialkot; July 14, 2006: The police registered a criminal case against four Ahmadis under PPC 298C on charge of preaching. The four accused are Professor Iftikar Ahmad, the president of the local Ahmadi community, Mr. Naeem Akram Bajwa, the community teacher, Mr. Shehzad Ahmad and Mr. Asghar Ali.
Among the Ahmadi accused, Mr. Asghar Ali is a convert. His exercise of freedom to choose his belief was not taken kindly by the opponents. The accuser had it recorded that Ahmadis invited him to their home, entertained him with tea etc and offered him a visit to Rabwah. It is also relevant that this is the same district where the police cooperated with the rioters on June 24 to destroy Ahmadiyya homes, mosque and businesses.
The police registered the case vide FIR No. 174/2006 u/s PPC 298C at Police Station Satrah, District Sialkot on July 14, 2006, against the four Ahmadis. If declared guilty, they could be imprisoned for three years.
A spurious charge by unscrupulous SHO
Dera Ghazi Khan, July 26, 2006: Muhammad Salim, Sub-Inspector of Police, accompanied by a few constables raided the city’s Ahmadiyya mosque, noted the names of those present, collected a number of issues of the Ahmadiyya daily that he could lay his hand upon, and went back to register a criminal case. There he fabricated his report and made out a case that is baseless. It deserves to be thrown out by any court; however, its mischief will cause the unavoidable stress, effort and expense that go with such cases, for the victims.
The Sub Inspector stated in the FIR, inter alia,
The Sub Inspector is wrong; the Home Department has not banned the daily Alfazl; in fact the Punjab Government has expressly permitted its publication. It is being published daily and is sent by official post to thousands of Ahmadi homes, mosques and offices, where its old copies are preserved in bulk. His opinion that these copies were kept at the Ahmadiyya mosque for distribution to non-Ahmadis to injure their feelings is presumptuous and very silly. However, very occasionally, to placate some mulla, the Home Department has confiscated in the past specified issues of the daily. The Sub Inspector, with after-thought will perhaps sift through the 31 confiscated copies and hope to find a banned issue. In all likelihood he will be disappointed. His raid on a house of worship was uncalled for, malicious and violation of a fundamental human right - the Freedom of Religion of Ahmadis. The two accused committed no crime - the Sub Inspector did, perhaps on behest of some mullah. By his action, the SHO brought a bad name to the government of the Punjab and Pakistan.
The applied penal code exposes the innocent accused to six months’ imprisonment. The case was registered as FIR 227/06 at Police Station City, Dera Ghazi Khan, on July 26, 2006, under PPC 188.
Another blow with the help of the bad law
Faiz Ganj, District Khairpur; June 29, 2006: A criminal case was registered at Police Station Faiz Ganj under the religious clause PPC 298A and the Ahmadi-specific PPC 298C against 11 persons at the accusation of one Haji Ali Ahmad of Jamal Pur. The accused include Mr Muhammad Ayub who was on a visit here from the UK, and Mr Maulud Ahmad son of Dr Ismael, Ahmadis. There are two non-Ahmadis also among the accused.
The complainant has not named the other 7 accused, but has mentioned that he can identify them on seeing them. This is the usual trick to widen the net of criminal accusation.
The accusation is the result of nothing but personal vendetta; there is no genuine religious basis for the case. Ahmadi-specific and religious laws have been invoked by the accuser simply to dishonestly support his case.
The evil of most of such laws defies description. The recent in-depth inquiry by the media in the Hudood laws has brought that out manifestly.
Following criminal cases based on religion were also registered; these are all mentioned in Chapter 4:
Ahmadiyya mosque defiled by authorities
Chak 35 N, district Sargodha: Malik Saif ur Rahman, president of the local Ahmadiyya community has a mosque at his farm. Recently, he built the traditional niche, and put up small ready-made minarets at the mosque. The mullah objected strongly to this, even though the law does not forbid such construction. He reported against the Ahmadi to the police who were happy to oblige the extremists.
The SHO of police station Sadr, Sargodha sent for the two parties on September 28, 2006, and fully supported the mullah. He threatened the Ahmadi that not only the minarets and the niche will be undone by the police, but also he will be made to face a criminal charge. Obviously, the SHO gave no weight whatsoever to the news: “Nation urged to shun sectarianism — President and PM’s Ramazan greetings” (The daily Dawn; September 25, 2006). He acted as if he knows that such statements are nothing but empty rhetoric.
The next day, in broad daylight, the SHO sent his policemen in plain clothes to the village. They demolished the minarets and the niche.
If the government supports extremism in one part of the country, how can it credibly condemn the extremists in other parts. The policy needs a firm, pervasive and uniform implementation.
Disinterment by orders of the police
Chanda Singh Wala, Qasur; March 16, 2006: A girl child of Mr. Muhammad Hanif, Ahmadi, died on March 8, and was buried in the common graveyard of the village. After about one week, a whispering campaign by obscurantist elements gained momentum and the police was co-opted by the mullah to have the dead child removed. The police acquired a statement under oath from the relatives of the deceased that they will never use the graveyard again. Having obtained the undertaking, they assured the family that no further action will follow. However, the same evening, the police visited Chanda Singh again in three van loads, entered the Ahmadi’s home, took control of his telephone and told them to disinter the dead body. This was done at about 21:30.
The Ahmadi community officials came to know of the proceedings, so they tried to contact higher police officials at district level. None was available. At about 23:30 the DPO himself phoned the Ahmadi district president, informed him of the disinterment and told him that the dead body was being brought over to Qasur for re-burial. When the president protested, the police chief responded that he was sorry for the incident but in the interest of law and order and in view of the ignorance (Jahalat) of the masses, the police had to act the way it did. Eventually at about 02:30 the girl was re-buried in the Ahmadi-specific graveyard in Qasur, in the police presence.
The incident was grievous and shocking for the local and district Ahmadiyya community. It is indicative of the unbridled extremism and the unwillingness of the administration to control it.
Joint Electorate — a misunderstanding removed
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom noted in its recent annual report that in January 2002, the Pakistan government abolished the system of separate electorate. It seems there is a general impression that Pakistan has shifted from Separate Electorate to Joint Electorate system, although actually the shift was only from one level of Separate Electorate to another. Joint Electorate system calls for only ‘one list of voters’ on which all eligible citizens of Pakistan, regardless of their caste, color and creed should be placed. This has not happened. A move was made early in the year 2002 to introduce Joint Electorate in the country, but by Chief Executive’s Order No. 15 of 2002 published in the Gazette of Pakistan (EXTRAORDINARY) issued at ISLAMABAD on MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2002, titled Conduct of General Elections (Second Amendment) Order, 2002, a separate ‘supplementary list of voters’ was created in which Ahmadi voters were placed as ‘non-Muslim’. That was the end of the short-lived Joint Electorate reintroduction. A copy of the Order is placed at Annex VI to this report.
It would be recalled that in May 2002, when the system of Joint Electorate was reintroduced, mullahs raised some hue and cry. One of them who calls himself Engineer Saleemullah stood up in a state-sponsored Seerat Conference, which was attended by the Chief Executive and the Chief of the Army Staff, and protested in favour of Separate Electorate to exclude Ahmadis. General Musharraf readily reassured him that his concern would be attended. Sure enough, a few days later Chief Executive’s Order 15 was published in the Gazette of Pakistan on June 17, 2002. The new articles enforced that the status of Ahmadis etc. was to remain unchanged despite the Conduct of General Elections Order 2002, and provided a procedure in Article 7C whereby voters would be required to sign declaration concerning ‘belief about the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and those who refuse to sign the certificate were to be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as non-Muslims’. So that was once again the end of the resurrected Joint Electorate system. It is an interesting footnote that Mullah-cum-Engineer Saleemullah was arrested a few months ago, as no amount of official gratification would put an end to his unending drives at mischief.
The new situation of electoral rolls is only a variation of their content, not a wholesome change in principle or concept. It would be correct to state that prior to 2002 Orders, there were separate electoral rolls, one of these was jointly for Sunnis, Shias, Wahabis etc while the others were for other denominations. Now there is one for Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs etc and another one for Ahmadis ‘as non-Muslim’. This is Separate Electorate, not Joint Electorate, obviously.
The absence of change was noted by discerning intellectuals at the time in 2002. Mr Ayaz Amir, a leading columnist wrote his column for the daily DAWN at this occasion and titled it ‘Back to the future’. His opening remark was: EVEN in a land renowned for silly edicts, the most recent addition to the statute book, Chief Executive’s Order No. 15, takes the prize for silliness. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan criticized the continuation of the requirement of the Sworn Statement regarding Religion by the candidate, and expressed its concern regarding Ahmadis’ electoral situation. Mr. I.A. Rehman, a leading intellectual wrote an article in the DAWN of September 17, 2002 and gave it the heading: Joint electorate? Not quite.
As such, there is no doubt that in Pakistan separate electorate system is still in vogue. The given impression of joint electorate is trickery and propaganda. The revised rules respond only to a powerful lobby; these do not in principle redress the basic wrong.
The court takes kind-hearted view of an extremist who was proud of committing a murder
The following was reported in Ahmadiyya Annual Report for the Year 2002:
An anti-terrorism court heard the case at Faisalabad. The court acquitted Rafaqat Ali who was accused of being an accomplice to the murder and sentenced Imtiaz Shah to death.
Imtiaz shah subsequently appealed to the High Court. The court has reduced his death sentence to 7 years’ imprisonment. It is for consideration whether such drastic reduction will encourage Imtiaz Shah and others like him to continue ‘to do their religious duty’.
Mulla continues to wield unworthy influence
Faisalabad; May 5, 2006: The daily Aman published the following Press Release issued by a notorious cleric of Faisalabad representing a religious body reputed for its extremist views and drives:
It is not clear as to other than being of Qadiani origin was there anything else objectionable in the pamphlet. The press release, however, does show that the mullah has easy access to the Chief Secretary, the highest ranking administration official in the Punjab, and has the clout to make him demand an explanatory report from the Home Secretary who heads the entire police service and security agencies in the province. It shows that these powerful civil servants follow some other orders than the policy pronouncement of the President that one often reads and hears in the print and electronic media.
The mullah scores — once again, as usual
Chiniot: The daily Jinnah in its issue of November 19, 2006 published the under mentioned news. It is self explanatory and conveys its purport quite candidly:
It would be of interest to know that it was the DSP who had accepted all their demands. The story is indicative of the clout these petty mullahs have been ceded by the political powers of the Punjab.
No decrease in registration of false blasphemy cases
The Daily Times, Lahore reported the following in its issue of April 17, 2006:
Another case of official myopia in the field of religious tolerance and harmony — Recognition of a Hafiz
Lahore: Following was a report and comment in August 2006:
The following month, the daily Pakistan of September 13, 2006 published the following report:
It would be of interest to mention that in pre-partition India, when there was greater inter-faith tolerance, non-Muslims were awarded the university degree of Maulvi Fazil, and Muslims who were qualified used the (traditional Sikh) title of Giyani. Giyani Ibadullah was a well-known Muslim scholar. The Faisalabad Education Board is somewhat like proverbial Mr. Craven who is always on the side of progress: he had false teeth when he was twenty-seven.
The shameless insistence
Faisalabad: The Assistant Education Officer Faisalabad issued still another unbecoming reminder on March 16, 2006 to the management of two schools that the word ‘Qadiani’ must be written on the schools’ display boards. It will be recalled that this grotesque order was initiated in 2003 by the provincial Education Department on behest of the Home Department in order to placate a mullah. The order was titled: “LETTER RECEIVED FROM MAULVI FAQIR MOHAMMAD”. This mullah was charged earlier under the Goonda Act (aimed at rascals) by Mr Javed Qureshi, the Commissioner. A note on this letter is available on page 22 of the Ahmadiyya Annual Report 2003.
Maulvi Faqir knows the art of letter-writing to authorities, and intimidates them politically. He also has access to the vernacular press where he spends some money, and gets his statements published as news regularly. The authorities unwittingly find it convenient to placate this mouthpiece of extremism rather than uphold higher values of administration and human rights. Eventually, the relatively peaceful plains of the Punjab are slowly being corrupted to follow religious fault-lines of the Frontier province. The political leaders and bureaucrats at Lahore need to look beyond their nose. Hereunder, we produce English translation of the unbecoming official letter to the management of the schools:
The letter is registered as No. 076, dated 16.3.06.
Management by exception
Lahore: According to the daily DAWN, Lahore of August 24, 2006:
It is noteworthy that DPO Mandi Bahauddin is not in the list, although it was at village Mong, District Mandi Bahauddin that a few months ago 8 Ahmadis were killed and almost twenty injured in a sectarian attack on an Ahmadiyya mosque.
Does the Government of the Punjab not consider murder of 8 Ahmadis a high-profile case?
Conclusion of a case registered under the Anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance
Gujranwala: Ten years ago Messrs Ijaz Ahmad and Naseer Ahmad were charged under Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298C for preaching. Mr. Ijaz Ahmad was acquitted of the charge on July 29, 2006 by magistrate Jahangir Ashraf. A brief resume of the case would be in order and of interest to whoso is concerned with human rights of Ahmadis in Pakistan.
The complainant told the police in April 1996 that two Ahmadis had preached him Ahmadiyyat while traveling on a bus to Gujranwala and then on a railway platform while waiting for the train to Sialkot. The accused availed of bail, and the prosecution went on for next ten years. The co-accused Naseer Ahmad, hurt and very tired of years of court appearances, eventually stopped presenting himself and was proclaimed as offender. Mr. Ijaz Ahmad continued to suffer the prosecution. Eventually the magistrate found and observed in the judgment that:
So the magistrate acquitted the Ahmadi from the charge.
To sum up: a frivolous and fabricated case under Ahmadi-specific law took its time and toll. One of the accused had to flee and suffer dislocation to some foreign country. The Investigating Officer died during the long duration of the trial. Mr. Ijaz Ahmad, although acquitted eventually, suffered the following during the ten years:
This is the kind of toll that such criminal complaints take in these religious cases. And there was always the risk of ending up in prison for years.
Anti-Ahmadi clerics and fanatics are well aware of the Pakistani state’s self-imposed and deliberate policy to deny normal citizen rights to Ahmadis. Some enforcement agencies look the other way when Ahmadis are under attack, and even act in collaboration with the attackers. Mullas know the constitutional position and the mischief potential of Ahmadi-specific laws. Over a period of almost a quarter of a century they have become skilled on how to convert the legal position into law and order excesses. At Jhando Sahi they undertook a big riot and got away with it scot-free. Not even one of the riot-leaders or rioters spent a day in detention. On the other hand, two Ahmadis spent weeks in prison, and were exposed to life-imprisonment on fabricated charge of defiling the Quran. The authorities seem unaware of Plato’s wisdom: “To do injustice is more disgraceful than to suffer it.”
Attack on Ahmadis’ business
Rahim Yar Khan; February 12, 2006: The mullahs took out a procession here to protest against the blasphemous caricatures published in Denmark. The crowd comprised approximately 2500 protesters. They were marching through the bazaar and were heading for the railway station. When they arrived at the electronics shop owned by Messrs Shakil Ahmad and Tariq Mahmud, two Ahmadi brothers, someone pointed out the Ahmadiyya ownership of the shop. It had glass windows in which a number of mobile phones and computers were displayed. Publicity board of Telenor was also on display. A group led by some mullahs attacked the store and severely damaged the glass casings and the inventory. The police were present but failed to take effective action to protect the property.
The mob, having done the damage, dispersed. The police DSP inspected the site, regretted the incident and promised (paper) action. The police registered an FIR of the incident. The proprietors suffered a loss of approximately half a million rupees. No arrests were made; no compensation was paid.
Anti-Ahmadi riots in police presence
In an anti-Ahmadi riot in Jhando Sahi, District Sialkot, on June 24, 2006, miscreants attacked Ahmadi persons, set fire to Ahmadi businesses, looted personal belongings of all Ahmadis, destroyed the Ahmadiyya mosque and made the entire local Ahmadi community flee from their homes in the darkness of the night to save their lives. Most of this happened in the presence of a heavy contingent of police who did not intervene so as to ‘contain the riot and not let it spread to other locations.’ The police registered no FIR against the rioters and looters for many days on the plea that ‘no Ahmadi has approached us’; all Ahmadis had to scramble looking for security wherever they could find, even scores of miles away. More than five weeks later when the refugees were allowed to return to their empty homes and torched businesses, the authorities provided no immediate financial aid to restart their lives. Details of this story are available in Chapter 2A.
Murder and Murder attempts
Three Ahmadis were murdered only for their faith at Karachi, Sanghar and Gujrat. Murder attempts on Ahmadis were made at Rahim Yar Khan, D G Khan, Chawindah and Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. For essential details refer to Chapter 3.
Desecration of a cemetery
Rabwah; June 15 and 22, 2006: Bahashti Maqbra is a special Ahmadiyya graveyard at Rabwah. Its sanctity is great in the Ahmadiyya tradition. The mullah proceeded to provoke Ahmadis, through his deliberate violation of this holy site.
Mullah Allah Yar Arshad has located his mosque almost adjacent to the northern boundary wall of this cemetery. On June 15, two miscreants jumped over the wall from the north-west corner and entered the graveyard. They damaged some tombstones and desecrated the graves. This was a serious provocation loaded with mischief; however Ahmadis maintained their calm.
A week later, on June 22, a repeat attempt was made by miscreants. This time, a few urchins surveyed the graveyard again from the north-west corner and then let loose a chicken over the wall, as an excuse to their intrusion in the premises of the graveyard. Three of these youth jumped over the wall and came in. The duty personnel inside noticed this and told the bunch to leave. The miscreants misbehaved and retorted by suggesting that Ahmadis should take their graveyard elsewhere; as for themselves, they intended to continue to behave the same way, they said.
In view of the gravity of the incident Ahmadi community took up the matter with authorities to ensure no repeat occurrence.
An incident of assault at Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur; October 25, 2006: Mr. Shabbir Hussain Bhatti, the head of the District’s Ahmadi elders’ association, suffered an assault from two persons on 25.10.2006. He was returning from his morning walk, when at about 06:00 two men intercepted him. They had covered their faces and one of them carried a big knife. During the brief encounter the man wielding the knife made two attempts that missed. However, the other tried to hold the victim by the collar of his shirt; as a result Mr. Bhatti’s shirt got torn in the front. Mr. Bhatti ran for cover and reached a security guard in the next street. The guard accompanied him to the site of the attack. The attackers had left by then. The guard then accompanied Mr. Bhatti to his house.
Mr. Bhatti lost his NID Card, some documents and three hundred rupees, in the incident. He reported the case in writing to the local police. Mr. Bhatti has also reported that he is being followed at times. On November 12, 2006, his son was attacked at about 2 pm. The identity of the miscreants is still to be confirmed.
Religious thugs on the loose
Chak 37/12-L, District Sahiwal: Major Mashhud was on a visit to his home village when a gang of heavily-armed robbers raided his residence at night. They took away jewellary, cash and mobile phones. They set on fire a motor cycle and damaged the car and broke its windows.
During the raid, the gang leader questioned the residents about Ahmadiyyat, asked them to recite the Kalima (Islamic creed) and threatened them to recant or quit the village.
The police were informed.
Firing at Ahmadiyya Mosque
Talwandi Musa Khan, District Gujranwala; January 31, 2006: Two armed miscreants arrived at the local Ahmadiyya mosque prior to the evening prayers and parked their motor cycle at a distance from the mosque gate. The guard noticed them and became vigilant. He shut the mosque gate.
When the congregational prayer started, the two intruders drove up to the mosque. On finding the gate shut and the duty personnel vigilant, they fired a few shots in the air and went away. As they had covered themselves adequately they could not be recognized.
The incident was reported to the police who arrived at the spot and made a few inquiries. The worshippers had to become more cautious. They felt very concerned.
Religion, a tool in the hand of miscreants
Ouncha Paharang, District Sialkot: Mr. Latif, an Ahmadi owns a Lower Secondary school at Ouncha Paharang for the last seven years. He undertook its extension and reconstruction. On October 7, some miscreants demolished its outer walls in the cover of the night, and the next day it was propagated that ‘Mirzais’ had undertaken construction of a ‘Center’ at that location. A man Masud Bajwah and a school teacher Fida Shah were the instigators of this propaganda.
Mr. Latif reported the incident to the police who advised that a formal complaint not be made, and a Panchayat decision should be sought. This was done. At this session, the opponents stated that they were not averse to the construction of the school; however, thereafter they maintained their propaganda drive. They have since invited different mullahs from outside to come to the village and deliver anti-Ahmadiyya sermons. Mullahs Atique, Afzal Bajwa etc have come and delivered slander. An open-air conference was held on 22.10.06.
In the meantime, the opposition has acquired a ‘Stay Order’ from a court. This is an easy way to enforce a stop to the construction. The court may take a long time to give a final decision, and the work would remain stopped all along. However, the general public knows the facts of the case and is sympathetic to Mr. Latif. The mullah’s propaganda continues in the meanwhile; and there is tension in the air.
Riots, business and sectarianism - a strange mix
Lahore; February 17, 2006: During the anti-cartoons violent demonstrations at Lahore on February 14, the demonstrators chose to attack and badly damage the Shezan Restaurant on The Mall. This well-known restaurant was owned by an Ahmadi in the past, but he had sold it to a buyer in 1974. The mischief leaders of the February 14th riots were perhaps not aware of this; hence the attack. The daily Pakistan published the following story of this double mishap in its issue of 17th February. It reflects rather poorly on the psyche of religions groups in Pakistan as regards riots and religion.
Violence and tension in District Khanewal
Bagar Sargana, District Khanewal; November 2006: Two Ahmadis, Messrs Muhammad Ahmad Fahim and Toqir Ahmad were subjected to physical attack by Ahmadi bashers, and had to be admitted in the hospital. The religious thugs continued with their chauvinistic behavior subsequently and maintained sectarian tension for the rest of the month.
The two Ahmadis were on their way home after the evening prayers on November 3, 2006, when they were surprised by a gang of lunatics. They beat up the Ahmadis severely. The fracas attracted attention of other persons, on whose intervention Ahmadis were rescued and taken to the hospital for treatment.
A few days earlier, Mr. Mazhar Abbas, a non-Ahmadi had joined the Ahmadiyya community. This apparently was the cause of the attack. The attackers subsequently tried to force Mr. Abbas to recant, and simultaneously were aggressive against other Ahmadis.
Ahmadi elders reported the matter to the police who reacted unsympathetically. The SHO and the DSP were hostile to Ahmadis, and polite to the other party. This encouraged the latter further and they fired gun shots at night and attempted to bang open some Ahmadis’ doors. They even used loudspeaker to muster the Musalman Bhais (Muslim brothers).
Under the circumstances, Ahmadi leadership at the district level approached the District Police Officer (DPO). He sent for Mr. Abbas who told him that he had decided to join Ahmadiyyat at his own free will, and nobody had compelled him to do so. This statement and the incident of firing and the use of loudspeakers convinced the DPO as to who were the guilty party. He ordered the DSP and the SHO to ensure peace and act fairly. The DSP sent for both the parties and having heard them, told the aggressive agitators to apologize and refrain from mischief. They asked for couple of days to think it over. The DSP told them to report to his office on November 13. On that day they refused to put a stop to their unlawful activism and failed to explain their firing. The DSP ordered that a case be registered against them under PPC 148/149 and 341/506. These clauses are rather light for the attack they undertook and the violence they are fomenting. So, undeterred, these sectarian fanatics took out a procession at about 11 a.m. on November 15 at Bagar Sargana Pul. Approximately 200 participated. The tension continues.
Rabwah, officially now named Chenab Nagar, is the center of Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan. As such, it is frontally exposed to the anti-Ahmadi pressure of the state and the mullah — for the last 29 years. Prior to the promulgation of Ahmadi specific laws, it was the global center of Ahmadiyyat. Now it is a national center only, and the main target of sectarian prejudice and policy. Mullahs assemble here a number of times annually and hold provocative and slanderous conferences and rallies. This year, Qazi Hussain Ahmad (President MMA) attended one such moot. The Ahmadiyya press at Rabwah suffered a direct attack from authorities when its printer and publisher were maliciously charged under the anti-terrorism law. Democratic rights are denied to Ahmadis who have no representation in the local Union Council. As such the civic conditions are in a deplorable state. The situation is so bad that even the otherwise hostile press considers it essential reporting. For instance:
These and under mentioned stories will give an idea of the prevailing pressure cooker situation of Rabwah.
At present 236 Ahmadis of Rabwah are suffering prosecution in courts in 85 criminal cases based on anti-Ahmadi laws or their religion. Officially they now call this town Chenab Nagar. It is the only town in Pakistan whose name has been changed against the wishes of its residents.
The plight of Rabwah — from press reports
Rabwah, renamed wickedly Chenab Nagar during the regime of Sharif brothers, is the Ahmadiyya headquarters town in Pakistan. As such, it is exposed to the anti-Ahmadiyya prejudice and persecution in many ways. Ahmadi-bashing organizations and groups have targeted the town and stationed their mischief managers here. But, in this entry, it is intended to refer only to the civic side of the town’s situation. The government has provided the infra-structure to ensure that the town is neglected and is deprived of its usual rights. This has been done through deliberate corruption of the local government system. Voting rules have been designed and enforced to prevent Ahmadis from not only getting elected as councilors but even to exercise their right to vote. As a result the local council has no representation of 95% of its population that comprises Ahmadis. Thus the city (step)fathers care little for the city and spend money on themselves or on the 5% whom they represent. The town therefore is in utter state of neglect. It is manifest from even press reports, which fall on deaf ears, and the local government takes no action to improve the deplorable civic facilities. Here we reproduce just a few of the headline news that were reported in the national and regional press during only ten weeks of June and July:
Unfortunately there is no remedy to this state of affairs. The system is designed by the authorities and the mullah just for such results. On July 19, 2006 a local Ahmadi Mr. Muhammad Yaqub, Engineer, met the District Nazim and the District Coordination Officer in his personal capacity with a pubic welfare request. Both the officials received him, but reminded him matter-of-factly and rather unkindly, “You people have no vote”. Mr. Yaqub told them that one injustice does not justify other injustices, and his request was based on his citizenship rights and not his status as a voter. “Seventy per cent of Pakistanis do not bother to vote under the present system, any way,” he quipped.
Mass prosecution of Rabwah citizens
Rabwah: Rabwah remains at the cross wires of Ahmadi-bashers. At present 236 Ahmadi residents of Rabwah are facing prosecution at courts in 85 cases have faced charges on religious grounds. Mullah Allah Yar Arshad was himself the complainant or pusher in 37 such cases. All these are in addition to the case in which the entire Ahmadi population of Rabwah was accused of violating the anti-Ahmadiyya law. This situation must be a rare one in the whole world, whereby such a large number of citizens are prosecuted for years on religious grounds by the state that otherwise claims commitment to a religion that preaches toleration, generosity and compassion. The accused are all exposed to years of imprisonment under the bad laws.
Rabwah — in a press report
Rabwah, (Chenab Nagar) gets some news coverage for its neglect by the officialdom and local government. This neglect is too extensive and obvious to escape notice of the press. The weekly News Week, Faisalabad in its issue of 8-14 August reported at some length, under a four-column headline, the deterioration in civic conditions in this town. Its translation is produced below:
The state of roads in Rabwah
There was a letter to the editor of the daily Express by one, Mr. Kamal Din; it was published in the issue of August 26, 2006. Its translation is produced below:
Outbreak of epidemic at Rabwah
Citizens of Rabwah have serious complaints about the neglect of their town by city officials and higher authorities, and they have repeatedly brought these to the notice of all those who matter in the land. Even in Ahmadiyya monthly reports, a mention has been made often of these conditions that deserve urgent attention. In the report for the month of May 2005, having described the story of ‘Deplorable situation of civic services at Rabwah’ it was opined that “The situation can lead to any urban catastrophe like outbreak of disease or threat to peace etc.” (A copy of these reports is regularly provided to the authorities in Islamabad). Regrettably, the government took no notice of the alert, and the citizens of Rabwah had to bear the consequences. The daily Aman, Faisalabad of January 20, 2006 reported the happening in 3-column headlines:
The disease affected thousands and lasted months till the end of August. It cost the population hundreds of thousand man-hours and millions in financial terms.
Rabwah — a target of neglect and callousness
The daily Aman of Faisalabad in its issue of 8 November 2006 reported once again the plight of civic situation at Rabwah. It is a condemning report and is expressive of the neglect and callousness to which the citizens of Rabwah are exposed. English translation of the news is given below:
The previous chapter mentions the situation specific to only Rabwah, the center of Ahmadis in Pakistan; however, their persecution is wide spread, and almost the entire country is exposed to the mischief of anti-Ahmadi laws and the mullahs. For instance, Jhando Sahi in District Sialkot in the north east of the Punjab was the location of anti-Ahmadi riots in June 2006. Ahmadi prisoners of conscience were grabbed and lodged at prisons and lock-ups in Faisalabad, Lahore, Jhelum, Mianwali, Okara, Bahawalpur in the Punjab, and in Mirpur Khas and Tando Adam in Sindh. Ahmadis were murdered for their faith in Gujrat (Punjab), Sanghar (Sindh) and Karachi, the port city of Arabian Sea. Murder attempts were made in District Sialkot and at Dera Ghazi Khan, a city of Punjab, adjacent to the Baluchistan boundary. Criminal cases were registered similarly all over. Ahmadis have been suppressed effectively in the NWFP and Baluchistan ruled by mullahs, to the extent that they merely exist there. In addition, there were reports of agitation and tension at other locations; these are mentioned in this chapter.
The mullah who is committed to extremism is found all over from Landi Kotal in the north to Karachi in the south, and from Bahawalpur in the east to Zahidan in the west. He has switched over almost entirely to earthly gains. The daily Pakistan, in its issue of March 30, 2006 reported Qazi Hussain Ahmad (JI) a leading cleric as, “We shall use mosques as centers of politics, and rid the people of rulers in power”. Anti-Ahmadi drive is also driven by the engine of political ambition. Daniel Defoe knew well the nature of religious politics:
Anti-Ahmadi sectarian agitation at Jhelum
Jhelum: The president of the Ahmadiyya Community of Mahmud Abad received a lengthy printed letter in January that raised a number of theological issues (no objection to that), but then indulged in mockery and insult to the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. It instigated Ahmadis against their leadership and employed calumny, slander and vulgarity. It gave the website address of its compilers.
In addition to the above, they circulated a pamphlet that exhorted people to boycott all products and services by Ahmadi proprietors, in particular Shezan, Zaiqa, Shahtaj Sugar and OCS. It exhorted the readers to kill all claimants to prophecy, and urged them to play their part in extermination of this great evil by the suggested commercial boycott. It concluded:
The Jhelum chapter of the Khatme Nabuwwat Organization has undertaken various other means to propagate sectarian hatred. They have printed glossy colorful stickers and distributed them. One of them, for instance, conveys:
Tension in District Qasur
Jaura, District Qasur: During the month of January, anti-Ahmadi activists diusturbed the peace of Jaura, as also of the Adda Nurpur Nehr. Ahmadis reported the matter to senior officers of the police department, who took suitable action to deter these activists from making the situation any worse. These elements then contacted their mentors, the district leaders of the Khatme Nabuwwat organization, who, in league with mullahs from Multan, made a plan to hold anti-Ahmadi rallies in the area. The police were informed and they took preventive action by switching off sound amplifiers of the two mosques at Adda Nurpur Nehr. The police warned the agitation leaders namely, Javed Gill, Haleem Yusuf, Sabir Shah, Sheikh Riaz etc to desist from creating a law and order situation. These activists, however, still indulged in harassment of individual Ahmadis here and there, but on the whole the situation remained under control.
Harassment in Vehari
Burewala, District Vehari: Hafiz Abdul Latif, an Ahmadi oldster was subjected to harassment here by unknown persons. Someone knocked at his door late at night on 14/15 January. When the Hafiz arrived at the gate, the miscreant went away. Four unknown persons came over the next day at about sunset time and demanded that the door be opened. The door was bolted from inside; Hafiz’s wife noticed that a man tried to climb over the northern outer wall to enter their house. When he was challenged, he fled. On 17th January, two persons arrived on a motor cycle. They met the Hafiz in the street and inquired about Sakina Latif. He told them that he himself was Latif. At this, the unknown individuals hurriedly went away. These incidents have caused concern in the local Ahmadiyya community, and their president has made special arrangements for personal security of the old couple.
Maestros of hate infect Lahore
Lahore: Wahdat Colony, Lahore was chosen by anti-Ahmadi lunatics to splash the message of sectarian hate all over. Multi-coloured glazed stickers were prepared and pasted on gates, walls, gas-meters etc to convey the message. The messages exploited the sentiment of Muslims’ love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh), for example:
These band-leaders of hate do not hesitate to show their contempt for the state rhetoric in favor of tolerance and enlightenment; they have printed their addresses on the stickers, as:
When the authorities take no action against these people, they find it convenient and get encouraged to mount attacks as the one at Nishtar Park at Karachi last month in which 58 were killed.
Threats at Mardan
Mardan, NWFP: Mardan is known for its harsh religious environment. In 1984, mullahs and their acolytes destroyed completely the Ahmadiyya mosque there. The mullah who precipitated that incident is active once again. At the end of this year’s Ramadan and on Eid day, the mullah made vicious attacks on Ahmadiyyat and instigated hatred and violence against Ahmadis. The daily Islam Peshawar (Oct 23, 2006 issue) reported the outrage under a two-column headline. A few days later, some unknown person dropped the newspaper cutting and a hand-written threat at an Ahmadi’s shop. The written threat is translated below:
The state policy to disregard violation of human rights of Ahmadis has promoted a culture of open sectarian extremism all over the country. Reports received only during March from some of the locations are briefly given below:
The mullah, Athar Shah who precipitated riots in Takht Hazara four years ago that resulted in murder of 5 Ahmadis, is now active in District Khushab. He has settled down in Qaidabad. He has acquired the support of some political groups including that of Karam Ilahi Bandiyal. This mullah has arranged showing of anti-Ahmadi documentaries and videos through the local TV cable network. Anti-Ahmadiyya stickers have been distributed, and wall-chalking has been done. The mullah is gauging the reaction of authorities, and is raising the level of his mischief by the week. Ahmadis feel very concerned.
Qari Qiyamud Din held a demonstration on March 3 and addressed the crowd. He told them a concocted story that “a Qadiani in Hyderabad made a blasphemous remark against the Holy Prophet. A Muslim family felt so grieved that they asked one of their male members, who had recently returned from pilgrimage of Makka, to kill the Qadiani blasphemer.” They undertook not to partake food till that was accomplished. So the Haji (pilgrim returned) took an axe and cut the uncouth Qadiani to pieces. Referring to this incident, the Qari told the crowd that Qadianis were Wajab ul Qatl (must be put to death).
Ahmadi bashers held an anti-Ahmadi conference here on February 16, and called it Shan Mustafa Conference. Clerics, Javed Gil and Munshi Sharif made very provocative speeches and urged the audience to implement social boycott of Ahmadis. They told shopkeepers to sell nothing to Ahmadis. This wave maintained itself for almost a week, then petered out.
The mullah of Masjid Rahman delivered a slanderous sermon on Friday 17. He said that Qadianis are selling pork and call it veal. They consider their Mirza at a higher pedestal than Muhammad (pbuh), etc. etc. Influenced by such harangues, street urchins have stoned Ahmadis houses and used abusive language against Ahmadis. The mullahs have attempted to convert the caricature issue to a political movement, and they urge the government to severe diplomatic relations with relevant countries.
A group of mullahs in Jhang are trying to mix the caricature issue with the anti-Ahmadiyya drive to make political gains. They have formed an association, and called it “Anjuman Fidayan Namus Risalat” (an association of devouts committed to uphold the honour of the prophethood). Their first meeting was planned for March 9, 2006. These people led by Muhammad Siddiqui (perhaps a pseudo-name) issued a pamphlet in which they urged the addressees to sacrifice their lives for the honour of the Prophet, by confronting the challenge of Qadianiyyat.
An Ahmadi Raja Muhammad Razzaq and his wife Farzana Begum were found murdered at their home on February 23, 2006. The police is investigating. The murderers and the cause of the murder have still to be pin-pointed. The couple have left behind eight children, aged 22 years to 2½ years. They had a small store that provided them with some income for a living.
Anti-Ahmadi activism at Lahore during September
Following was reported from various quarters at Lahore:
A pamphlet was distributed that called Ahmadis ‘apostates’ and urged social boycott of Ahmadis. It gave the edict that anyone who has any dealing with Qadianis, is a kafir (infidel). It ridiculed Ahmadiyya view on Jihad that fighting is not permissible to propagate Islam.
Posters were put up forbidding the population to have their children admitted in the local school ‘Ahmad Academy, Girl Campus’. “Only thus you will safeguard your faith and morals”, the poster urged. The poster is issued by Mirzai Mukao (exterminate Ahmadis) organization. It gave its address as P.O. Box 440, perhaps false.
Khatme Nabuwwat activists arranged an anti-Ahmadi seminar. They used foul and provocative language against the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, and distributed sectarian literature.
A man who had covered his face, arrived at the residence of Mr Afzal Rabbani, an Ahmadi. He got hold of his daughter, place a knife at her throat and said, “I know, you people are Ahmadis; I am on your track and I’ll fix you up.” The girl shrieked in fright and the lunatic fled.
Apparently there is plenty of freedom of expression in the country. At Rabwah, one gets the impression that mullas have a blank cheque, and sky is the limit of their uncontrolled and grotesque freedom. A lot that they say against Ahmadis on loud speakers in open-air conferences is so abusive that a decent person would find it shocking. In their conferences at Rabwah, the mulla talks a great deal of politics — both national and international. He often lashes out freely against the rulers as also foreign heads of government. On the other hand, the authorities have placed a strict ban on Ahmadiyya conferences, their women’s rallies, and even sports. Ahmadiyya press is harassed for no apparent reason; periodicals are forfeited and pressmen are arrested. The non-Ahmadiyya press is at liberty to print highly provocative and damaging fabrications and views about Ahmadis. These restrictions on Ahmadis are not restricted only to Rabwah; Ahmadis face these in all the four provinces of the country. It is mindless and aimless discrimination.
Rabwah suffers barrage of ill-will against Ahmadis
Rabwah; April 10 and 11, 2006: Majlis Ahrar Islam was permitted and facilitated by the authorities to hold a two-day conference at Rabwah. The proceedings of the conference, its rhetoric and resolutions were given wide coverage by the vernacular press. As usual, the mullah used the platform of Khatme Nabuwwat to promote his national and international agenda in politics. His primary target, however, was the Ahmadiyya Community. Following is quoted from the Conference Reports in the daily Pakistan, Lahore of 13 April and the daily Din of 14 April:
The daily Pakistan reported the following:
The mullah correctly remarked in the Conference that Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat and Majlis Ahrar Islam mean almost one and the same thing. So the Ahrar (a political party) is using the platform of Khatme Nabuwwat (in religious garb), and is provided the sanction by the government to promote its wicked national and international interests. Ahrar’s conference and procession at Rabwah defied blatantly the declared policy of the government on sectarian activities. These proceedings in Rabwah at the blessed occasion of the Birthday of the Holy Prophet PBUH were the most rabid and provocative than anywhere else in the district, the province and the country. The government ought to take suitable action to establish credibility of its declared policy, as also to nip the resurgence of Ahrar in the bud. Their harmful nature was abundantly made clear in the prestigious REPORT of THE COURT OF INQUIRY constituted under PUNJAB ACT II OF 1954 to enquire into the PUNJAB DISTURBANCES OF 1953.
A typical Khatme Nabuwwat Conference at Rabwah facilitated by authorities, despite the ban
Rabwah; September 7, 2006: Prior to this conference in September, the Ahmadiyya community expressed its concern in a news bulletin titled Let’s see: “The mullah had announced with the beat of the drum that he would hold two major Khatme Nabuwwat Conference at Rabwah on 7 and 21 September 2006. According to the APP, the Government of the Punjab has directed all District Governments to forbid all religious open-air meetings, gatherings, processions, rallies etc under clause 144 for 30 days w.e.f. September 01 (the daily Din, August 24, 2006). It would be interesting to see again as to how the government deals with the mullah in a situation that concerns Ahmadis. Its past record does not inspire confidence that the authorities will take a stand against the Mullah”. And sure enough, the government made the exception, and granted special permission to the clerics to hold the conference — despite years of repeated experience about the highly objectionable nature and content of these sectarian gatherings.
The mullah made no secret of his intentions; he knows that he does not have to. He announced: “This Khatme Nabuwwat Conference will to be the last nail in the coffin of Qadianiat. S.P. Chinioti” (The daily Pakistan, Lahore; September 3, 2006). The daily Nawa-i-Waqt of September 5, 2006 quoted Mullah Shabbir Usmani at this occasion: “The Qadiani element is an ugly mark on the body of the Muslim Ummah; it is a cancer and we shall continue to strive till its elimination.” The authorities took no action against these mullahs nor against these newspapers for adding fuel to the fire of sectarianism, although the government’s declared policy is to firmly discourage sectarian agitation. It is rather comic that it was announced that Hafiz Tahir Mahmud Ashrafi, the Advisor to the Chief Minister of the Punjab for Promotion of Religious Harmony would participate as a Special Guest (Mehman Khususi) in the Khatme Nabuwwat Conference scheduled on September 5, 2006 at Sargodha (Nawa-i-Waqt; September 5, 2006). Unbelievable, but true.
The conference was held at Madrassah Usmania in the so-called Muslim Colony of Rabwah, and was named the 19th Annual International Khatme Nabuwwat Conference, Chenab Nagar. Banners were put up in advance; the writings on some of these are translated below:
Whither human rights? Not that the mullah is not aware of them; he is well aware, and he is cunning enough to pose as the grieved party through the text of the banner at Serial 11 above.
The speeches at the conference were the same as before: abusive, slanderous, provocative, political and sectarian. According to the daily Jang, Lahore of September 9, 2006: “Maulana Abdul Hafeez Makki said that … Crusaders and Zionist forces have lost balance, and being afraid of Islam, they are indulging in propaganda and giving a bad name to Muslims by labeling them extremists and terrorists. Allama Qari Tayyab Qasim remarked in his address that incompetent rulers, short-sighted politicians and fortune seekers have made the country a pawn in support of imperialist powers. … Mufti Zia Madni urged all Muslims to unite to counter the conspiracies of Qadianis. Maulana Sami ul Haq, the Jamiat leader (JUI) stated in his message that he and his colleagues will continue to work in collaboration with the leaders of Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat to safeguard this dogma, and against the mischief of Qadianiat. Abdul Rehman Yaqub Bawa, the head of the Khatme Nabuwwat Academy at London said in his message on internet that the end of Qadianiat is near, people (awaam) should launch a united movement against them and they will be supported by his group.
The above is not all that was said. Most of their outbursts were not fit for reporting in the press. We translate here only some of their remarks; these must have been recorded by the intelligence agencies. Mullah Allah Yar Arshad said “If Bugti can be killed in attack, why an attack is not launched against Chenab Nagar where the law is violated and the town is being turned into an Israel.” Mullah Ilyas Chinioti said, “Akbar Bugti was shot dead as a traitor, but Mirza Masroor Ahmad Qadiani is a fugitive from the country, a traitor. Why don’t they shoot him? Qadianis do not enlist as voters. They are traitors to the law and Constitution; impose Sharia penalty on them.” Maulvi Irfan Mahmud of Lahore said, “Qadianis are the greatest mischief in the universe. Get ready to face them.” Hafiz Abbas of Lahore said, “Mirza Qadiani, let alone a prophet, was not even a good man.” Mulla Iftikhar of Khanewal said, “Qadianis have dropped themselves in a ditch. They have died their own death. They are backing every obscenity (be-hayai).” Qari Umar Farooq of Lahore said, “We shall not let any Qadiani become a member of the National Assembly.” The conference ended at 3 a.m.
At the end of the conference a number of resolutions were passed. These were inter alia.:
Would it not be almost impossible to prepare another list of public demands more obscurantist and regressive than this one in the early 21st century? Also, it is for consideration whether these conferences, held under the cover of religious umbrella are not essentially political?
The leading figures who organized and participated in some way in this conference were Mullah Abdul Hafeez of Makka; Mullah Abdul Rehman Yaqub Bawa of London (by internet); Mullah Shabbir A Usmani; Mullah Ilyas Chinioti; Mullah Muhammad Hanif Mughal of Chiniot; Mullah Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianwi of Kawaliya; Mullah Nazir-ul-Hassan Thanwi of Australia (on internet); Mullah Sami ul Haq of JUI (sent message); Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf; Mufti Zia Ahmad Madni, Advocate Badi uz Zaman of Lahore, Mullah Allah Yar Arshad, Mullah Yahya Marth of Hafizabad etc.
After the conference, the authorities reportedly registered a criminal case against Mullahs Abdul Hafeez Makki, Tayyab Qasmi, Raheel Ahmad, Ilyas Chinioti, Yahya Marth, Zia Madni, Allah Yar Arshad etc for making provocative speeches. However no arrest was made and the FIR was sealed (i.e. no further action, at present) (The daily Pakistan, Lahore September 10, 2006). Adv. Badi-uz-Zaman the band leader in obscenity was not charged in the FIR. Does it mean that authorities allow that kind of language in public against Ahmadi holy pesonages? Some of these very mullahs who were charged but not detained, then went over to Sargodha and committed the same offence there for which no further action was taken by authorities at Rabwah. Obviously paper action against the mullah is mutually convenient to the two parties, the clerics and the authorities.
On the other hand, government registered an FIR against Ahmadi pressmen, and arrested Mr Sultan Ahmad Dogar on imprecise accusation that the daily Alfazl prints hate-promoting material. The authorities did not mention precisely the passages that were considered objectionable. The case and the arrest is obviously malafide and vicious.
Although the Quaid-i-Azam assured the people of Pakistan and the world that Pakistan will not be a theocracy, it is very nearly in the tight grip of clerics with support of powers that be.
President Musharraf spoke at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative at New York recently and said, “The focus had now shifted from Al Qaeda to the Taliban and warned: Taliban are more dangerous because they have roots in the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the tribal areas” (The Dawn; Sept 21, 2006). Is it difficult to see where some of these Taliban or their supporters had assembled on September 7, 2006?
Ahmadiyya headquarters wrote a letter to all the concerned political and administrative authorities forewarning them of the impropriety of permitting this conference at Rabwah. After its conclusion they wrote another letter to the concerned officials.
Other Khatme Nabuwwat Conferences
Khatme Nabuwwat is an issue that is considered of substantial political value by most politico-religious groups. So they all try not to miss out on its real or imaginary dividends. A few of these are mentioned below briefly:
The conference was held at Jame Masjid and was attended among others by Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, the Advisor to the Government of the Punjab. Its proceedings are included in this report as a separate story.
Advocate Rab Nawaz, self-styled chief of the Khatme Nabuwwat Lawyers’ Forum arranged a seminar at Chiniot on this occasion. He said that Qadianis and Lahoris who call themselves Ahmadi turn to Washington for guidance. They, in conjunction with CIA and RAW are involved in religious violence in the dear country. … Qadiani lobby is responsible for 16,000 deaths in the shia-sunni conflict. He paid great tribute to Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, then Prime Minister, parliamentarians at the time, and the leaders of Khatme Nabuwwat movement (for the anti-Ahmadiyya amendment to the constitution) (The daily Pakistan, Lahore; September 10, 2006).
Forfeiture of Ahmadiyya periodicals
Lahore: The Provincial Home Secretary of the Punjab issued the following two Notifications:
The notifications mentioned a few issues of some Ahmadiyya periodicals, accused these of containing matter ‘objectionable and deliberately/maliciously intended to outrage the religious feelings of the Muslims’ and stated that ‘the Government of the Punjab is pleased to declare all copies of the above mentioned Booklets/Magazines along with its translation in any language to be forfeited to the Government with immediate effect.’
The government has never told Ahmadi publishers as to what specific extracts and passages it objects precisely. It would be interesting if someone could persuade the authorities to formally pinpoint in writing such matter. We are fairly certain that the government will not respond. It knows that any objection would expose it to serious accusation of discrimination and violation of Freedom of Press and Expression on flimsy grounds. These notifications are issued only to placate some bigoted mullah who poses having some clout with politicians.
In the meantime, the local police indicated that they had instructions to register a criminal case against the pressmen. Thus, while the present regime is very proud of its policy concerning freedom of press, it readily yields to the mulla to suppress the freedom of Ahmadiyya press.
Vernacular press — a review and comment
Vernacular press in Pakistan does not rise above the level of its readers; in fact it makes deliberate efforts on the Ahmadiyya issue to stay well below their intellectual potential. These newspapers have fairly wide readership, and few refuse to spare their space for the Mulla. While publishing ‘news’ items regarding Ahmadiyyat or Ahmadi community, they seem to care little for journalistic ethics or the interest of the civil society. In fact, they rarely have ‘news’ to publish on this issue; often it is the views, statements, demands, rhetoric and instigation to hate and intolerance. Below we reproduce the gist of a few of the sample entries in these papers to illustrate:
The daily Nawa-i-Waqt led this charade of falsehood and hurtful propaganda by printing 235 items during this year. The daily Pakistan stood second with 124 entries. The Khabrain was third and the Jang was close at fourth position. These papers almost refuse to print the Ahmadiyya rebuttals, except occasionally when they spare the space not more than that of a postage stamp. The mullah, as a matter of policy, used the vernacular press in his anti-Ahmadi campaign. The vernacular press is ever willing to co-operate.
Anti-Ahmadiyya Conference at Chiniot
Chiniot; 26/27 February, 2006: A two-day ‘Fatah Mubahila Conference’ was held at Chiniot, neighburning town Rabwah by the Ulema under the auspices of International Khatme Nabuwwat Movement. The main theme of this conference is always anti-Ahmadiyya, but the clerics mix it with their other objectives – national and international politics. The daily Jang of Lahore reported the proceedings of the Conference under three-column headlines on 27 and 28 February. On both days it was reiterated by the mullahs that they will continue their drive till the extinction of Ahmadiyyat.
The Ulama availed of the occasion to lash out at their perceived enemies abroad. The caricatures issue provided them plenty of fuel for this purpose, so they dwelt on this at length and undertook:
Maulana Pir Abdur Rahim Naqshbandi stated that the publication of blasphemous caricatures was an American conspiracy. The conference demanded that recommendations of the Islamic Ideological Council be implemented in the country and non-Sharia laws be abrogated. (The Council has recommended that apostates be put to death). The government was urged to ‘keep a watchful eye on the anti-state and anti-Islam activities of Qadianis.’ The conference declared that as Chiniot was a sensitive town (!), Qadiani officials should be transferred from here as they ‘because of their evil nature continue to create difficulties for the people’. (This is mullah’s way of harassing the few Ahmadi officials wherever he finds them).
According to the Daily Jang those who addressed the conference included: Qari Khalil Siraj, Zahid Qasimi, Shabbir Usmani, Latif Khalid Cheema, Abubakr, Ramzan Usmani Ishtiaq, Badr Alam Chinioti, Sanaullah Chiniot, Hafeez Makki, Ilyas Chinioti.
Step-motherly treatment of Ahmadis
Rabwah: As usual, anti-Ahmadi organizations of Khatme Nabuwwat based at Lahore, Multan and Chiniot were allowed by the government to hold open-air conferences at Rabwah in April, first week of September and the 4th week of September 2006. The participants were transported from other towns and madrassahs. They disturbed the peace of this town, and citizens as well as authorities had to be on guard against their mischief.
On the other hand, when Ahmadis ask permission to hold their traditional annual conference in their own town, the government decides not to send a reply or even acknowledge. The following letter was sent to them (translation from Urdu original):
The Nazim did not respond. Ahmadiyya annual conference was initially banned by the dictator-president General Zia in 1984. The unjustified ban has been maintained ever since. The general perished in an air-crash in 1988. He was succeeded by democratic governments of Ms. Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif for 11 years. They did not lift the ban in deference to the mullah. General Musharraf of ‘enlightened moderation’ has been in power since 1999; he brought about no change either.
Compare this with the conference of the Tableeghi Jamaat held at Raiwind in the second week of November 2006. According to a press report, the participants included three chief ministers, Pervaiz Ilahi, Arbab Rahim and Akram Durrani, also Governor Maqbool, Fazlur Rehman (MMA) and federal minister Ejazul Haq (the daily Jang, Lahore; November 13, 2006). “Is the freedom of faith and assembly allowed only to the majority and to the ministers and governors in Pakistan?” one may ask. No, as per Constitution of the Republic. It was also reported that the authorities arranged 20 trains for the faithful to facilitate their participation. All trains passing through the Raiwind station were ordered to stop there during the days of the conference, although ordinarily these do not stop at Raiwind. So, one is reminded of two quotes from the press:
Attack on Ahmadis’ freedom of expression and press
Rabwah: Despite the declared and much-trumpeted policy of ‘Freedom of Press’ of the present regime, its functionaries raided the office of the Ahmadiyya daily “Alfazl’ on September 9, 2006 and arrested Mr. Sultan Ahmad Dogar the printer of the daily. They charged him under the anti-Ahmadi laws PPC 298 B and C, and 9 ATA (Anti-Terrorism-Act). The application of 9 ATA was preposterous. Approximately two months later the authorities registered a second similar case against the printer and publisher and ‘others’ of the daily Alfazl. A somewhat detailed account of this outrage is given in story at Chapter 2B.
Yet another Khatme Nabuwwat conference at Rabwah
Rabwah; 21 and 22 September 2006: The Almi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat faction, with centre at Multan, were permitted by the government to hold their 25th Annual 2-day Conference at Rabwah on 21, 22 September. They held it in the yard of the Masjid Abu Bakr Siddique in the so-called Muslim Colony. Khawaja Khan Muhammad, the Amir and Syed Nafis Shah Alhussaini, the Deputy Amir organized the function. Qazi Hussain Ahmad (President MMA and Amir Jamaat Islami) participated as the special guest speaker. Numerous other Ulema addressed the conference.
Maximum attendance was approximately 2,500. In all, five sessions were held. In a special meeting, attended only by Deobandi clerics, Khawja Khan Muhammad and Syed Al-Hussaini were reappointed as Amir and Naib Amir for the next three years. The Amir was given the authority to nominate other officials of the Majlis. All the Maulvis indulged in almost the same type of rhetoric as that in the conference of September 7, so that need not be repeated in this story. Brief mention is made below of what was significant in the speech of Qazi Hussain Ahmad and also whatever was different and noteworthy in the rhetoric of other clerics.
Other noteworthy quotes: Maulvi Muhammad Din of Bhakkar said: “Pervaiz Musharraf is comrade (Pitthu) of Qadianis. From where did he get his enlightened moderation? From Mirzaiat and he is supporting Qadianis in London and the US; thus raising issues of amendments to (Hudood) laws”. Maulvi Bokhari of Sahiwal said: “The US and their gangsters are facing humiliation at the hand of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is no difference between Mirzais and Jews.” “Qadianis provided Pakistani nuclear secret programs to the US. They prepared a fake grave of Dr Abdul Qadeer and beat it up with shoes”, said mullah Tahir Abdur Razzaq of Lahore. Hafiz Zaheer of Lahore came up with a new slogan: “We shall not rest till the flag of Khatme Nabuwwat is raised at the Parliament in Islamabad”. Advocate Badi uz Zaman was right, in a way,: “Qadiani population has reached 10 million mark in Pakistan”. Maulvi Murad of Sindh indulged in the theme of comparative religion: “Christians keep on making changes to their Gospels, while the Muslims’ book has remained in its original content. Just as Jews and Christians stand on falsehood, so do the Qadianis.” Mullah Ghafur Haideri of Peshawar was more political: “Qadianis are promoting disunity and confusion in the country. The General should be forthright and take harsh action against them. Whatever is happening in North Waziristan and Baluchistan, is the work of Qadianis and their patrons. Hundreds of thousand have become Muslims after 9/11. Qadianis are responsible to make the Hudood laws controversial.” He also lashed out at the judiciary: “Judges take brief cases full of (currency) notes, and give decisions accordingly. They have no conscience.”
The banners at the Conferences included the following:
The conference passed a number of resolutions, inter alia:
The participates raised slogans; most of these were anti-Ahmadiyya. At a book stall, they distributed highly provocative anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlets and leaflets.
A great deal goes on against Ahmadis in Pakistan beyond the obvious activities like murder, attack, arrest, prosecution and denial of various freedoms. It takes different forms, and anti-Ahmadi groups and officials devise and implement ingenious ways to harm and harass Ahmadis. They rarely run short of ideas. Such activities that defy grouping under other chapters are mentioned in this chapter titled ‘Miscellaneous’.
Preparation of Voters’ Lists - no change in the old procedure adopted for Separate Electorate
The Election Commission of Pakistan issued detailed instructions in a booklet for its officials who are tasked to prepare electoral lists for the forthcoming elections. It includes various Forms meant for specified purposes which have to be filled in by the voters/applicants/officials.
It is interesting that despite the spurious claim of having Joint Electorate in the country, all these (Form 2 to 6) have the religion column. The indicated religious affiliations are: Mussulman, Isaee (Christian), Hindu, Sikh, Buddh, Parsi, Qadiani/Ahmadi, Deegar Ghair Muslim (other non-Muslims). The appropriate column is required to be ticked. It is relevant to mention that ‘Qadiani’ is a pejorative term used by mullahs for Ahmadis. It is unbecoming for a government to use this term.
Again, Forms 2, 3 and 4 contain the attestation that every voter, who claims to be a Muslim, has to sign. Its language is the same as prescribed during the regime of General Zia. The certificate required is:
Pakistan is well in the thick of the medieval-age of centuries ago. This futile exercise that brings ridicule to Pakistan is there only to deny Ahmadis their right to participate in the normal political life of their country.
Forms No 2, 3, 4 and 5 contain warning that anyone who makes a false attestation is liable to be punished according to PPC Sections 182 and 199. These sections provide imprisonment and fine as penalties.
All these measures deny Ahmadis the possibility of registration as voters in the forthcoming elections. Moreover, these are obviously based upon the concept of Separate Electorates.
Copy of the letter addressed to the President and other authorities by the Ahmadiyya Community is placed as Annex V to this Report. No reply or even acknowledgement has been received from any addressee.
Burial of a dead Ahmadi — an ordeal
Thatha Chando, (near Rabwah); December 5, 2006: It is common knowledge that life of an Ahmadi is difficult in Pakistan, but his or her death is equally problematic. The incident in a small village near Rabwah should illustrate.
Ms. Bakht Bibi, an Ahmadi of Thatha Chando died on December 5, 2006. It was intended to bury her in the common graveyard of the village. However, Mulla Ghulam Mustafa of Muslim Colony came to know about it. He has been lately extra-active on the anti-Ahmadiyya front, and succeeded in collaboration with the police during November to have an Ahmadiyya prayer-center closed down in Ahmad Nagar.
The common graveyard has many graves of Ahmadi relatives of Ms Bibi. A grave had already been dug there for her, and the local villagers had no objection to her burial there. However, at the report of the mullah, a police contingent arrived at the graveyard, and its leader conveyed his orders not to permit burial of the deceased in the graveyard nor anywhere else in the village. He said that he had been instructed by his superiors to fill up the grave with earth. Mulla Ghulam Mustafa accompanied by a few acolytes also arrived at the site. The situation became difficult and tense.
Relatives of the deceased requested the police SHO that if the burial in the graveyard was not permitted, then they should be allowed to bury her in private land located 1½ kilometer away. The SHO replied that even for that he would have to get clearance from his superiors. It was with some difficulty that this permission was granted. The mullah displayed his anger even at this, and it was with some difficulty that he was controlled and pacified.
Approximately 250 men offered her funeral prayers — most of them were non-Ahmadis. The burial was undertaken in privately owned land. The incident was a heavy dose of anguish and agony for the grief-stricken family.
Events unfold to nail a lie of clerics
It would be recalled that on October 7, 2005 a group of three opened fire on Ahmadis at Mong District Mandi Bahauddin, who were offering their morning prayers in congregation at their mosque. Eight Ahmadis died in the attack while a score were injured. The criminal attack was condemned by the authorities, the media, NGOs and all the decent people, generally. Once again, the evil of sectarianism had struck and taken its toll. ‘It must be stopped’, was the general reaction. However, the malicious mullah gave it another twist, and insisted that the carnage was result of ‘internal strife of Qadianis’. The mulla used the vernacular press to air his assertion:
Almost a year later, the authorities have finally arrested all the three accused who undertook the attack. No less a person than Regional Police Officer Gujranwala, Malik Muhammad Iqbal said so, and the daily Pakistan of 6 October 2006 and the daily Jang of 5 October 2006 carried the story that the mastermind of the attack Arshad alias Doctor was also arrested. He and his colleagues belong to the banned Jaish Muhammad and were involved in other terrorist attacks also.
Where do the mullahs of Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat stand now? They should go in hiding, if they have any conscience.
Fazlur Rehman acts nutty as a fruitcake
Birmingham: According to a report published on the front page of the daily Jang, Lahore of August 17, 2006, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the MMA’s Secretary General and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly was on a visit to the United Kingdom where he addressed the first session of the Khatme Nabuwwat Conference. He reportedly spoke mostly on the subject of international politics, the war in Lebanon, and said little on the theme of ‘the end of prophethood’, the theme of the conference. He availed of the occasion to indulge in rabid anti-Ahmadiyya rhetoric. According to the Jang, he said:
The Maulana is known to generally hold his tongue in public, but it seems that in the free and democratic England he went overboard and lost all balance. He spoke as if he was addressing a procession in Qissa Khawni Bazaar at Peshawar or a crowd at Bhati Gate in Lahore. His sectarian drive and talk of ‘last drop of blood’ for a sectarian cause must have sounded out of place even to his audience in Birmingham. Why did he have to go all the way to the United Kingdom to persuade fellow Muslims to shed blood for a religious cause, as if not enough was not already spilling in Pakistan?
Statement of a high government official
Lahore: Statement of Hafiz Tahir Mahmud Ashrafi deserves to be reported, as he then held the august position of Advisor to the Government of the Punjab on Religious Affairs. He addressed the Khatme Nabuwwat Conference at Jame Mosque Gol Chauk, Sargodha in September and stated:
Is it not rather unbecoming and highly improper for a high official of the provincial government to air in public such views, in such language? It is quite possible that he only made public the policy directions of his employers in the Punjab.
School demolished by religious bigots
Ouncha Paharang, district Sialkot: The daily Nawa-i-Waqt published a news item on October 11, 2006 that there was communal tension in the Ouncha Paharang area due to the construction of an Ahmadiyya religious institution and the police had put a stop to the construction. The news were not credible, as the community had no such plans. On enquiry, it is learnt that an Ahmadi, Mian Latif owns a private lower secondary school in the village, which approximately 300 students attend. On account of shortage of class-room space, he had undertaken construction of a new building elsewhere. The mullahs demolished it in darkness after sunset.
Noteworthy incident at a governmental education institution
A reflection on the poor state of human rights in the context of freedom of faith in society
Rabwah: The Talim-ul-Islam College owned by the Ahmadiyya community at Rabwah, was nationalized 34 years ago. Since then, the government made it a point not to appoint any Ahmadi as its principal. Denationalization policy was adopted in 1996 but the college has not been given back to the Community. The college building is in a dilapidated state due to lack of proper maintenance, and has been declared ‘dangerous’. The college principal, Mr. Maqbul Ahmad is not an Ahmadi, while the vice principal Mr. Mubarak Ahmad Tahir is an Ahmadi. Last month an incident occurred here which got publicity in the press, and involved the mullah and the government. It is worthy of record as it is a reflection on the state of civil society in Pakistan, in the sphere of public education in particular.
The principal decided to depart on a month’s leave on September 22, 2006. As per rules, the vice principal Mr. Tahir took over as Acting Principal. The provincial education authorities ordered him to put up a feasibility report for shifting the college from the present building, declared dangerous, to the alternate location of the new campus. Mr. Tahir appointed a committee comprising senior professors to put up comments and recommendations.
The daily Jang, Lahore dated September 29, 2006 published the news of the change of the principal and the ‘shift’, giving it a major twist of mischief and falsehood. The news mentioned that the principal had gone abroad for further education (as if for a long duration, while he had actually gone only for a month to meet his family), and also the false news that Mr Tahir had ordered that the staff and students shift over to the alternate site. No such orders had been given; only a committee had been formed to make recommendations in order to implement instructions of the government. The Jang news also stated that, “the students and the lecturers have protested and leveled accusation that the building was being evacuated under a conspiracy so that Qadianis could occupy it.” This was entirely incorrect. There was no conspiracy, no orders, no protests by the student nor by the lecturers. It is the usual Jang, leader of the yellow vernacular journalism in Pakistan. The name of this paper is ‘Jang’, which means ‘War’ — an odd name in the world of journalism, when the whole humankind is yearning for peace.
The situation was ideal for the mullah to jump in. The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore, that is a worthy competitor of the Jang in obscurantism, was not to be left behind. It spared on October 1, 2006 two-column space for the Ulema, to report their protest against the (very temporary) appointment of an Ahmadi as Acting Principal and his assumed action which he had not undertaken. According to the paper, Maulana Suhrawardy, Qari Allah Yar, Maulana Mustafa, Maulana Abid, Qari Usmani, Maulana Alam, Maulana Karim and Maulana Matlub ur Rahman participated in a meeting at Muslim Colony and issued a very angry protest over the (imaginary) shift order. The Ulema demanded that Mr. Tahir be replaced by a Muslim professor.
Maulvi Faqir Muhammad (of Faisalabad Qadiani schools fame) who makes a living out of anti-Ahmadi activism by co-opting the vernacular press and bureaucracy, got a statement published that Mr. Tahir be replaced forthwith as he was being nasty with Muslim lecturers (!). The mullah lashed out at the District Education Officer and the Director of Education, as well, for unknown reasons. He insisted that the government policy of not appointing a Qadiani as principal at Rabwah had been violated. Is it not interesting how the mullah holds the government by its throat for the unsupportable policies that it formulates at the advice and in consultation with these mullahs?
The daily Nawa-i-Waqt followed up the story the next day as well, and gave details of the mullah’s version as to how Qadianis were striving hard for billions worth of college property. It was nothing but nonsense, falsehood and imagination. On October 4, 2006 this paper attributed to the Acting Principal the statement in a press conference that the college had been shifted to the other location on account of its depleted building. He had made no such statement, and not even an office pin had been shifted there. In fact, an in depth study in the facts of this event and the fiction published in the vernacular press would suffice to shake any inquirer’s faith in the credibility of the vernacular news reporting journalism in Pakistan.
But in all fairness, such an assessment may not be entirely justified as some papers occasionally do take the liberty to publish the correct story or show the other side of the coin. The daily Aman of Faisalabad, issue of October 4, 2006, published the factual position in some detail and also the plea of the Acting Principal: “The other day, Mr. Mubarak Ahmad Tahir, the Acting Principal in a press conference termed the agitation and the published demands of obscurantist and prejudiced elements as pure falsehood and propaganda, and stated that the government has not even considered, at any level, to hand over the college building to Jamaat Ahmadiyya; so the anti-education elements should refrain from issuing harmful and ignorant statements.” The daily Rahi-Talash, Lahore (Editor: Dr Dilawar Hussain Faridi) of October 8, 2006 made a similar report.
In the meantime, the authorities issued no public statement to educate the pubic on the reality of the situation. Instead they asked the ‘police’ to make a report on the ground situation. The inspector of police interviewed the Acting Principal.
On October 6 it was Friday, the Muslim holy day for congregational assembly. Mullahs in Pakistan have made it a practice to use this day of worship for mass political agitation. The Acting Principal was mindful of this. The case of the Rabwah Police Post and mosque of 2004, when the political bosses of the Punjab had dumped their own police department to oblige the Mullah, was also perhaps fresh on his mind as an unpleasant precedent; so he decided that enough was enough. He handed over the charge of the college to Hafiz Muhammad Anwar, an officially recognized Muslim, and proceeded on short leave.
That was the end of the story. The daily Nawa-i-Waqt of October 15, reported the change over, and published the statement of Mullah Faqir Muhammad of Faisalabad:
“Maulvi Faquir Muhammad welcomed the decision of the government to replace the Qadiani principal Mubarak Ahmad Tahir with a Muslim professor, Hafiz Muhammad Anwar as Acting Principal and demanded that the Qadiani Jamaat of Chenab Nagar should be stopped from indulging in unlawful activities”. Even this closing statement was a fabrication — it was not the government that had replaced Mr. Tahir, and also he was not the principal, only the acting principal for a month. Few other Maulvis have done as much disservice as Faqir Muhammad to this one-time prestigious title of ‘Maulvi’; his choice of every word is routinely self-serving at the cost of truth, accuracy and authenticity. Maulvi Faqir and the daily Nawa-i-Waqt make a convenient team; they remind one of the proverb — Birds of a feather flock together.
Politics and the ‘hypocrite’ mullah
Subsequent to the passage of Women Protection Bill and the resulting political turbulence, the President has been talking tough and candid about political clerics. The daily Jang, Lahore of December 6, 2006 quoted the President as: “Opponents of the Women Protection Bill are Munafiq (hypocrites)”. The word munafiq in Islamic terminology has a very strong connotation. The next day the daily Express quoted him as:
The mullah is not taking it passively. Dr Israr Ahmad, a leading cleric from Lahore was quick to retort:
Of late, mullahs have formed a Majlis Tahaffuz Hudoodullah (Association for the Protection of Allah’s Hudood). They have a reason to choose this title. Many years ago, they formed a Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat (Association for the protection of the End of Prophethood). Under this title they posed their activities as ‘religious’ and enjoyed great freedom from all accountability and even support from the authorities. They violated the law of the land openly and no body touched them. Early this year, subsequent to the Danish cartoons they found it convenient to form Majlis Tahaffuz Namus Risalat, and undertook agitation, riots and destruction of property. Now on the same note, they have formed the Majlis Tahaffuz Hudoodullah. The specter of Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat is back again, but in a different garb. Mullah Zahid-ur Rashdi was quite explicit in his column in the daily Pakistan of December 4, 2006 in which he was of the opinion: “Maulana Qari Muhammad Hanif Jalandhari, the Head Nazim of Wafaq ul Madaras Arabia, Pakistan is very active in this field (of Majlis Tahaffuz Hudoodullah) and I think that his line of action will enable him to unite all the religious factions and have them out on the streets (for agitation) the same way as the Tehrik Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat”.
The mullah was adopted by the state more than 30 years ago, and was pampered all along. The spoilt kid is now grown up to full maturity, and his guardian has only itself to blame for his outrageous conduct.
Harassment of an Ahmadi religious teacher
Chak No. 20, District Mundi Bahauddin: For the last many weeks, Mr. Zahur Ahmad Maqbool, the Ahmadi prayer leader in the local Ahmadiyya mosque has reported repeated surveillance at night and jump-ins by unknown prowlers. Periodically, one or more vigilantes came to the vicinity of the mosque and even jumped the outer wall to enter the mosque complex where he is quartered. The intruders were seen by others also who were doing the guard duty. At one occasion the unwelcome visitors used red-colored laser light. One of these was seen armed at one occasion. Mr. Maqbool is worried, and has made many written reports on the suspicious activities of these intruders. He also mentioned it to Mr. Amin, a local CIA official who is of the opinion that the visitors may be from some terrorist group.
A tale of two mullahs
After decades of official patronage and pampering, the Pakistani mullah has become very arrogant and highly unreasonable. On the Ahmadiyya issue, he exercises unbridled freedom, and accepts nothing short of total submission to his will. Below we produce English translation of two news reports issued by two mullahs. The tone and content of their statements shows the extent of spoiling that the clergy has undergone in Pakistan.
1. Mullah Faqir Muhammad calls himself the Secretary Information of Alami Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat. A few years ago, he faced imprisonment under the Goonda (Rascals) Act, and extracted himself from the situation only after an apology and a promise of good behavior. However, since then he has secured for himself a niche in the Khatme Nabuwwat organization. He has the audacity to demand closing down of the Rabwah railway station that serves not only Ahmadis of Rabwah but also all the non-Ahmadi population located within 200 square kilometers area around and whose number exceeds 60,000 — more than the Ahmadis in this area. The daily Aman, Faisalabad of December 19, 2006 carried the following report:
2. Then there is mullah Hamadi of Tando Adam, another cleric spoiled by the authorities. Any efficient police outfit would have nominated him and proven in the court that this mullah was at least guilty of instigating numerous Ahmadi murders in the province of Sindh. Recently, he demanded that Ahmadis be fired from service in the national airline PIA. He had the following published in the daily Express, Karachi on December 9, 2006:
How is that from a divine!
An obvious contradiction in implementation of the policy against extremism
The daily Jang, Lahore in its issue of January 22, 2006 gave three stories that deserve notice and comment. It reported quoting its staff reporter at Sargodha:
In the second report it reported:
The question arises: If the government can conveniently take these reasonable precautionary measures for communal peace, what makes it violate its own policy, when it permits and facilitates dozens of rabid anti-Ahmadi ulama to congregate at Rabwah a number of times every year, e.g. last year on September 29 and 30, September 7, and April 22 and 23?
In another story the daily Jang reported the same day:
The mullah is thus demanding that the government of Pakistan should follow the footsteps of the Afghan government of 1903, when it ordered the death of Sahibzada Abdul Latif Shaheed, an Afghan divine and noble who became an Ahmadi and refused to recant. The Sahibzada was killed in a stadium by stoning in the presence of the king, his courtiers, the Ulama and a huge crowd. This mullah Allah Yar has the audacity to make such demands (and the Jang to publish them) when the Chief Minister of the Punjab has publicity declared his perception and policy: “Islam is a religion of understanding and tolerance. It clearly forbids people to impose their dogma upon others…. The government will not hesitate to bring such people to law who spread disorder in society through religion. Those who make provocative speeches should be pointed out….” Well, the Jang has pointed out one of them who is a persistent offender. It is very relevant to mention that this mullah was booked recently for his mischief but he was released only three days later. Three individuals stood surety for him for Rs.100,000 each that he will not make sectarian or anti-state speeches. This mullah thus treats with contempt the pronouncements of the high-ups and of the implementation potential of the authorities. It would be appropriate to hold his supporters and guarantors accountable for his repeated criminal conduct.
Jihadis threaten an Ahmadi in Azad Kashmir
Bhimber, Azad Kashmir; October 3, 2006: Raja Mehtab Mustafa, Ahmadi, a son of Raja Rahmatullah Khan former president of the Ahmadiyya community of Bhimber, has reported on a visit to him by self-styled Jihadis.
Mr Mustafa was at his clinic in the afternoon of October 3, and was studying the Holy Quran when two bearded men, aged approximately 30 came in. They were wearing the head scarf popular with some who display religiosity. They asked him if he was a Qadiani. To this, Mustafa replied, “By the grace of Allah, I belong to the Jamaat Ahmadiyya.” At this, the two uttered some slander and abuse against the holy founder of Ahmadiyyat and his Successors. They accused Ahmadis of being anti-Jihad and also, wrongfully, of the belief that Mirza Sahib was a greater prophet than the Holy Prophet (peace be on him). They threateningly told Mustafa of the only option: Quit Ahmadiyyat and come out to undertake Jihad along with the Jaish Muhammad. The unwelcome visit lasted approximately 10 minutes.
Later, Mr. Mustafa reported the episode in writing to concerned officials of the security agencies in the area. They were sympathetic and reassured him.
Ahmadi doctor faces terrorism threat, for humanitarian work
Lahore: Doctor Mohiuddin, Ahmadi, is a senior medical officer at the renowned Ganga Ram Hospital of Lahore. He has founded Al-Qamar Foundation that offers subsidized medical facilities to the public. The bullies and bigots, who claim to be Islamists, have objected to his welfare work, and threatened him with serious consequences. They printed their threats in a leaflet and distributed them in the local Jamia Masjid Farooqia Hanafia at the Friday congregational prayers on September 29, 2006.
One of the leaflets was addressed to the doctor and the other to the general public. Both are on legal-size paper, computer-typed in Urdu, and are without signature and address. The one addressed to Doctor Mohiuddin is titled:
It is a lengthy letter; a few excerpts are translated below to show the tone and the purpose of the message:
It is not difficult to imagine the security concern of the good doctor who only desires to help the poor through the Foundation.
Are these purely religious associations?
There are numerous Khatme Nabuwwat (End of the Prophethood) organizations in the country that pose as purely religious associations and thereby enjoy all the privileges and freedom in this guise. Authorities give them the permission, even support, to operate at will, and these undertake hostile and highly provocative propaganda against Ahmadiyya community. However, as their real agenda is political, they avail of the permissive attitude of the government to promote their political aim. Below, we reproduce some of their statements from the vernacular press in support of this hypothesis to show their real colors:
Drop scene of a dishonest venture
Baseerpur, District Okara: September 10, 2006: According to the daily Pakistan of September 10, 2006, a big incident occurred at Baseerpur that involved non-Ahmadi officials; however no Ahmadi was involved.
One, Mazharul Haq reported to the DPO Okara and the Ulema by phone that the Ahmadiyya TV channel MTA was being shown on the local cable network, and that he had the video-recording as a proof. This agitated the mullahs and the police, and they all cried ‘wolf’. At this the police arrested eight persons including Munir Anjum Rehman, the Deputy Nazim who is a partner in the local cable-network business. Subsequently the Ulema and others attested that the detainees were ‘genuine’ Muslims, so they were released. An artificially created ugly situation was brought under control by the efforts of the Ulema and the police. In the process, SHO Baseerpur Inspector Arshad and Incharge Investigation Inspector Mushtaq were relieved of their duties and ordered to report to the headquarters. Two other officers were appointed to take over the charge. The whole incident smells of false reporting, false blame, false credit and false religious emotions. ‘Much ado about nothing’ perhaps suits for incidents like this.
Disinformation at Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi; 1st week of September 2006: Mullahs turn to lies and falsehood in public in their animosity towards Ahmadiyyat, and the authorities let it pass as if this is not covered in their definition of harmful sectarian activities. Subsequent to the death of Akbar Bugti and the unrest in Baluchistan, mullahs prepared banners and hung them at various squares in Rawalpindi, on which it was bold written:
Balochistan ke halat ki khrabi mein Qadian mulawwis hein i.e. ‘Qadianis are to blame in the unrest in Balochistan’. The banners carry names of a number of mullahs as the sponsors of this lie. The authorities took no action against the brazen clerics.
Also, in an anonymous letter, Ahmadis were blamed for aggression against Lebanon. Ahmadiyya Centre in Rawalpindi was mentioned as the source of terrorism. Another source was the co-centre at Islamabad. The Deputy Amir of the Ahmadiyya Community of Rawalpindi was named as the supporter of these activities. The letter contained great deal of filth against Ahmadi elders. They sent a copy of the same to the Ahmadiyya center. A similar letter was initiated in nearby Gujar Khan by the writer who posed as a women and member of the Ahmadi women organization.
Anti-Ahmadiyya hate literature distributed to children
Dwalmial, District Chakwal: A mullah is managing a madrassah here for young children, boys and girls. Rather than teaching them Islam which every Muslim claims to be a religion of peace, harmony and tolerance, the mullah has loaded the children with literature that contains concentrated doses of hate-material against Ahmadis.
Extracts from the distributed pamphlets:
It is relevant to quote here the declared state policy, announced by the President at New York on September 17, 2005:
The flag-bearers of extremism reported here do not keep their identity secret. They have boldly printed their addresses on these pamphlets as follows:
It was for the State to take notice and implement its declared policy. It did not.
A librarian is targeted
Bahawalpur: According to the daily Bahawalpur Post, Mr Iqbal Arshad, Ahmadi is the Librarian at the Islamic University. The mullah would like him to lose his job. So he arranged the following to be published in the Bahawalpur Post of July 11, 2006:
The poor librarian is under pressure.
Mullah Allah Yar and the local police
Rabwah: Mullah Allah Yar Arshad whose sole mission is to promote sectarian mischief at Rabwah cannot be blamed of lethargy. Early this month, he sniffed out a location that could possibly suit his purpose of Ahmadi-bashing. He noticed a small TV at a vendor’s wooden cabin (khokha) near the Fazle Umar Hospital. He shouted at the location against the proprietors, and accused them of preaching through TV programs. The mullah then contacted the local police post, wherefrom two constables eagerly arrived at the cabin. They took away the TV and the vendor’s 14-year old son to the police post.
The community officials contacted the DSP and complained against the harassment and unjustified activism of the police and the mullah against the innocent. The DSP understood and ordered the release of the boy and the TV.
Mischief is a many-headed snake: Mullah Allah Yar Arshad and the vernacular daily Din
Lahore; June 4, 2006: The daily Din, Lahore of June 4 published the following ‘news’ under a 2-column headline, quoting the ill-famed mullah Arshad based at Rabwah:
The content, language and style of this news, that is not fit to print, is typical of the collaboration of the obscurantist mullah and the yellow vernacular press. They jointly make mountain of a mole hill to obstruct even petty Ahmadiyya role in public affairs, and hurl hollow threats as scare crows to frighten career-conscious bureaucracy into unnecessary fugitive action.
Faisalabad schools — the mullah persists
It would be recalled that mullah Faqir Muhammad prevailed upon the government of the Punjab in 2003 to issue an unbecoming letter (TOP PRIORITY and REGISTERED) ordering the District administration to ensue that:
The proprietors appealed against this unfair and silly letter that was based upon false information, and requested the authorities for a personal hearing. Subsequently the mullah kept on pressing the authorities for implementation of the decision. The authorities showed no courage to shut him up, and followed up the case still with more mediocrity. Three years later, the government appointed a commission to look into and report on the case. The commission has forwarded its report to the higher authorities, who will now take further action.
Should the high officials not attend to the problem of ghost schools and absentee teachers and lowering standards of public education than attending to the cry-baby Mullah Faqir Muhammad who makes them issue such letters that a future researcher would find rather comical. The properties of the school have faced continuous undeserved harassment from official quarters during the last three years.
Faisalabad: While the entire religious establishment was protesting against the Danish caricatures as blasphemous and provocative, the Alami Majlis Tehrik Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat chose to duplicate and even outperform the provocation of the daily. This Majlis designed, produced and freely distributed highly provocative stickers with anti-Ahmadi slogans. These producers are so sure of their immunity to President Musharraf’s declared policy against extremism that they appear to violate it with contempt. They have boldly printed their address on these stickers as:
While these mullahs may be given full marks for ‘audacity’, the government cannot miss negative grading in credibility. The daily Khabrain gave the following headlines quoting the Chief Minister, on January 25, 2006:
Another organization, self-styled Mirzai Mukau (Exterminate all Ahmadis) produced a sticker that is even more provocative than all the others. The producers have given their postal address in the provincial capital: Post Box No. 1582 Lahore
A caricature of the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat published by such clerics defies reproduction or description. It is under circulation in Faisalabad.
A fake letter, and some evil plan
Mandi Bahauddin; 17.2.2006: Mong is located in district Mandi Bahauddin. A few months ago, it was the scene of a murderous attack on Ahmadi worshippers that resulted in eight deaths. This month a serious conspiracy came to light that got Ahmadis worried. It was distribution of a fake letter by the opposition.
This meticulously designed evil letter was sent by post to all the major mosques of the city on Friday, the 17th February 2006. It is computer typed in Urdu; its translation is given below:
On inquiry it was found that the above phone numbers are those of Mr. Ejaz Mahmud, an Ahmadi businessman, resident at Mandi Bahauddin. His signatures were simulated with care. He has a good business in the town, and is well linked with the local press. On discovery of this fraudulent letter, Ahmadis brought this to the notice of authorities. Ahmadis also met 18 prayer-leaders who were known to have received the letter, and explained to them the real position. The remainder are going to be contacted. Four days earlier, robbers snatched Mr. Mahmud’s new taxi at gun-point, a Corolla 2005/06 model. This could be a related incident. Mr. Mahmud felt concerned, but bore up the situation bravely. The greater concern was that of a move against the local community. All reasonable precautions were taken.
Falsehood in the name of Allah
The present day Pakistani mullah and vernacular pressman may follow the edicts of their forebears or not, but some of them do cherish and avail of the convenient tool provided to them by some of their controversial and misguided clerics who decreed that falsehood in support of religion is permitted, indeed essential at times. These ulama include notables like Maudoodi, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and Sanaullah Amratsari, opponents of Jamaat Ahmadiyya. The most recent fabrication of their acolytes is the story that it is Ahmadis who devised and implemented the blasphemous caricatures in Denmark. How is that!
The story was initiated in London by someone called Dr Javed Kanwal, and was published in the daily Jang on its internet edition of March 3, 2006. This bogus doctor is not even a qualified dispenser. Reportedly Kanwal was in Italy from where he intimated what was happening in Denmark. In order to follow up the conspiracy, Kanwal came over to Pakistan. Here the mullahs loved his lie and started repeating it in their conferences which they were holding in the name of ‘honour of the Prophet’. Their statements were published in the vernacular press of Lahore without verification. The mullah built up a sand castle on the foundation provided by Kanwal. For example, mullah Allah Yar Arshad and his gang from Chiniot issued a statement that Qadianis declared at the Royal Hotel in Denmark that the prophetic era of Muhammad is over and has been replaced by that of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani… the real instigators of blasphemous caricatures are Qadianis; Mirza Masroor directed the event… Mirza Masroor should be arrested by Interpol and brought back to Pakistan, etc. etc. (The daily Aman, Faisalabad; March 8, 2006)
A few weeks later, this fabrication is on the wane. However, the mullah cannot be blamed for lack of effort. The present day Islam needs no enemies in the presence of friends like these who live on falsehood and trickery.
Harassment of an Ahmadi for his faith
Thatha: Mr Shakoor Ahmad, Ahmadi, faced threats and harassment from religious bigots in the month of September, and he made a detailed written report on September 25, 2006. His report is now on record; here we give its summary:
Mullah’s outrage against restaurant owner
Qasur; June 14, 2006: Mr Qiadat Ahmad Hashmi, an Ahmadi stopped at a restaurant for breakfast at the city’s bus station. The business is owned by Abdul Ghafur Ansari. At the time, his son was minding the shop. When Mr Hashmi started partaking his meal, a Khatme Nabuwwat organization activist Muhammad Ahmad approached the son and demanded as to why a ‘Mirzai’ had been allowed to eat there. He threatened that he would contact Maulvi Manzoor and arrange a Gherao (encirclement) of the restaurant. The boy was polite to the agitator and tried to calm him down. However, the miscreant kept simmering, and when Mr Hashmi rose to pay the bill, he broke the crockery used by the client. He warned the boy, “If you serve a meal again to a Mirzai, I shall take full action against you.” He also used foul language against the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.
Qasur is only 30 miles from the provincial capital. The incident shows the level of respect (or disrespect) the clerics have for the anti-sectarian drive of the higher-ups.
Mullah undertakes sectarian drive
Toba Tek Singh: Maulvi Allah Wasaya, one of the leaders of Khatme Nabuwwat organization undertook a week-long anti-Ahmadiyya tour of district Toba Tek Singh in June. He addressed a gathering at Chak No. 295 Berianwala. Here he was accompanied by Maulvi Abdullah of Toba. The police intervened and stopped his slander by switching off the loudspeaker system. Next he visited Chak No. 293 G.B. Thereafter, he addressed two meetings at Toba Tek Singh. At all these occasions, his main theme was: “If you people co-operate with us, we can precipitate once again an anti-Qadiani agitation like that of 1974”. His tour was advertised through posters.
New list of demands by the mullah
The mullah knows how to compile a list of anti-Ahmadiyya demands. He prepared a long list in early 1950s and launched an ugly movement that fizzled out at the time, but the mullah persisted and eventually got what he demanded; and much more. However his appetite for ill-will and transgression is vast, so he is still not happy and has come up with still more demands. According to a press-report in the daily Jinnah, Lahore, of July 15, 2006, the mullahs assembled at Jame Masjid Siddique Akbar, Chiniot demanded the following in the form of resolutions, inter alia:
The mullah’s appetite for anti-Ahmadiyya fodder and political craving is limitless. Only a fortnight later, clerics added the following demands at Faisalabad to their list compiled at Chiniot only a few days earlier. According to the daily Aman, Faisalabad, of July 31, 2006, the following were also demanded by the Ulama of the International Khatme Nabuwwat Movement, inter alia:
This list included the following political demands as well at the end — another dimension of their agenda:
Agitation against self-defense
Faisalabad. Syed Mahmud Ali Shah, Ahmadi of D-type Colony Faisalabad, owns a small factory. On June 23, he invited some of his employees to visit Rabwah and judge for themselves of what is right and wrong about the allegations concerning Ahmadiyyat. Twelve of the invitees decided to avail of the tour, and reportedly were happy about the trip.
The mullah came to know of this visit, and did not like at all that people should be facilitated to inquire into his incriminations and allegations. Mullah Muhammad Hussain Chinioti applied to the police that Shah should be booked for violating the Ahmadi-specific law. Mullah Faqir Muhammad approached, as usual, no less than the Home Secretary and the DPO, and demanded severe action against Shah and his two sons. As a result, an official of the Special Branch made the visit, undertook inquiry and interviewed the invitees. The mullah at the local mosque harangued the worshipper to agitate, but they refused to cooperate with him. In view of all this Mr Shah called on the DSP who heard him and opined that the event was a non-issue.
It is however interesting to note how the mullah co-opts the vernacular press to achieve his undesirable goals. The clerics approached, and at least three newspapers agreed to print the mullah’s version of the incident under two-column headlines. According to the daily ‘Islam’, that claims to issue simultaneously from Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar and Muzaffar Abad, in its issue of July 2, 2006 that covered this story, the Ahmadiyya way of proselytizing was as follows:
It would be interesting to ask the 12 who visited Rabwah if they were offered this heavenly package. The mullah is expert at telling lies, and believes that a lie in service of his faith is not only permissible, it is even a duty.
Ahmad Pur Sharqia; District Bahawalpur: Threats are a favorite tool with malicious elements to harass Ahmadis. These threats may be hollow or real, the target does not know; and he suffers all the same. In the past, threats have frequently materialized, and Ahmadis were killed or attacked. Recently, Dr Munir Ahmad, president of the local Ahmadiyya community received a 4-page hand-written letter in Urdu, full of threats. A few extracts are translated below as sample:
This letter was received by post.
A wise comment
The Daily Dawn, Lahore of July 16, 2006 in its flagship column on the editorial page produced an article titled ‘Anatomy of blasphemy laws’ by Professor Anwar Syed who is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, US. The essay is of great merit and thus a recommended reading. It not only analyses the issue ably, it proposes a wise solution as well. Mr Syed, at the end of his essay refers to the impossible position of Ahmadis. An extract is reproduced below:
The mullah demands stiffer punishments
Faisalabad: A mullah representing the Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat has demanded a higher punishment than ‘imprisonment for life’ for an act of defiling the Quran. It is relevant to mention here that individuals who disposed worn out pages of old copies of the Holy Quran by burning, so as to ensure a respectful disposal, have also been punished and are in prison serving life terms. The daily Aman, Faisalabad reported the mullah in a 2-column space on November 4, 2006, as below:
Qadianis: Pakistan’s death-wish
Lahore: Khalid Ahmed wrote a readable piece in his Review of the Urdu Press in the Daily Times, Lahore of 17 March 2006. Its copy is reproduced as Annex III to this Report.
Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan has implications for most of the rest of the world. Ahmadiyya communities are found in 185 countries, and they all feel concerned about what happens to Ahmadis in this country. Also, Pakistan is an important nation-state in the international comity of nations. So, it is not rare that Ahmadis’ persecution and denial of basic human rights to them are noted and reported by foreign concerns and NGOs. This year the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the US State Department, in their Annual Reports mentioned adequately the Ahmadiyya situation in Pakistan. Here, we reproduce also a statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden on Ahmadiyya situation in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
Annual Report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom
Washington, DC: The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released its Annual Report 2006 on May 1, 2006. The Report contained a Country Report on Pakistan as well. It recommended that in addition to those on the existing list, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan should also be added to the list of countries designated as Country of Particular Concern (CPC). It is, however, the Secretary of State who has the executive authority to designate a country as CPC.
Section 402(b)(1) of International Religious Freedom Act specifically directs the President to at least annually designate each country in which the government has engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” as “a country of particular concern” or CPC. Particularly severe violations of religious freedom are defined as those that are “systematic, ongoing, and egregious”. In defining violations of religious freedom IRFA directly refers to the “Internationally recognized right to freedom of religion and religious belief and practice” as laid out in such international instruments as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Pakistan is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 18 of the UDHR lays down: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in pubic or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Article 19 of the Declaration prescribes: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The Commission has recommended that the U.S. government should, inter alia:
Ahmadiyya situation in Pakistan receives extensive mention in The US Department of State 2006 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom
Washington: The US State Department released its annual report on International Religious Freedom, on September 15, 2006. It contained a fairly detailed country report on Pakistan. Some of its excerpts, relevant to the Ahmadiyya situation in Pakistan, are reproduced here. It is also worthwhile to quote two general remarks from the first page:
Apart from the excerpts quoted above, the Report mentioned anti-Ahmadiyya incidents and events at the following locations:
Press release by the ruling political party of Sweden
June 28, 2006: Mr. Jan Eliasson, Foreign Minister of Sweden and President UN General Assembly was asked a question by a Member of Swedish Parliament Ann-Marie who also asked for a written response. The ruling party of Sweden, Social Democratic Party’s Parliament Group issued the following press release to the news media:
Ahmadiyya issue, for its religious nature, is often neglected by self-styled intellectuals and even human rights activists for excessive consideration for the majority community in Pakistan. It is rare that when they compile a list of objectionable religious laws they include the anti-Ahmadiyya laws in the list. The vernacular press finds it sales-promotive to spare plenty of space for the mullah for his rhetoric against Ahmadiyyat. The English language press however is more considerate, and occasionally publishes views and news that address to the human rights aspect of the Ahmadiyya issue. At the occasion of the 10th death anniversary of Professor Abdus Salam, the Ahmadi Nobel laureate in Physics, most of the English newspapers published articles, and some writers availed the occasion to voice their criticism of the tyranny perpetuated by the Ahmadi-specific constitutional amendment and laws. Three of these articles are reproduced here. The Ahmadiyya Community is grateful to all such writers and their publishers, and acknowledges similar articles in the Urdu papers, such as the daily Express.
Remembering Dr Salam
Plight of the minorities
Lest we forget
We reproduce below selected headlines and op-eds from the press, that are of more than transient interest. It would be engaging to compare the ‘Statements’ with what actually happens ‘On the ground’. The ‘Political mullah’ is also placed on record for his declared intentions and political undertakings. News headlines that concern ‘Foreign’ lands and ‘NGOs’ are included. Rabwah’s situation also merits a record in this easily accessible listing. Some news of ‘Political’ significance and ‘Miscellaneous’ developments are also included. The list had to be reduced greatly to keep it within available space of this annual report. A larger list is available in the monthly news reports section of our website and for further details reference should be made to the source newspapers.
Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, who was too clever by half, pushed Ahmadis in a tunnel with no light, in 1974. General Zia made the tunnel suffocating and tortuous in 1984. So it is decades that Ahmadis are suffering, and the state and society continue to make deliberate moves to ensure that no shade of light becomes visible to them at this tunnel’s end. The year 2006 was no different than earlier years in this context; it only confirmed once again, while it needed no confirmation, that the treatment of Ahmadis in Pakistan was bad and condemnable.
In 2006 again, Ahmadis were murdered for their faith and the police failed to find the assasins. The family of Mr. Munawwar Ahmad, a murder victim at Gujrat, requested the police to register the case under the Anti-terrorism Act, as provided therein, but the police refused to do so. However, at Rabwah, they arrested printer of an Ahmadi-owned press, and charged him under 9ATA, the Anti-terrorism law, although they could not and would not pinpoint the word, the sentence or the paragraph which they considered objectionable. No wonder, religious thugs felt encouraged and they carried out strikes on Ahmadi individuals at Karachi, Sanghar, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sialkot — all over the country.
The religious lunatic-fringe in the Punjab is quite quick in assessing the mood and attitude of the government. They know that the government does not care for Ahmadis’ human rights, so they rioted freely and extensively at Jhando Sahi, district Sialkot. In police presence they indulged in violence, arson and loot, and forced the entire Ahmadi community to flee from the village. Authorities took their own time to create suitable conditions for the refugees to return home. In order to rebuild the totally destroyed Ahmadiyya mosque the government donated Rs. 25000/-, a sum just sufficient to build a WC for one person.
Ahmadiyya press, that is the most docile and harmless in the country, suffered undeserved attack from the state. At the orders of provincial authorities, the police registered a criminal case against the press staff under the Ahmadi-specific laws and, unbelievably, the Anti-terrorism Act. They arrested the printer who despite being old and sick was not granted bail for months. This was followed two months later by another similar case. These moves were outrageous in the face of the declared federal policy of ‘freedom of press’.
Ahmadis continued to face charges on fabricated accusations based on religious considerations. In all 30 Ahmadis were booked in 12 cases under laws that prescribe a wide range of penalties — from death to unspecified fine. Among these, 10 Ahmadis were booked on false charge of Blasphemy. Twenty-nine were booked under Ahmadi-specific laws, while nine were charged under other religious laws. The land of ‘enlightened moderation’ gives no quarters to innocent citizens who are vulnerable to the aggression of religious bullies and self-styled devouts. Politically-ambitious priests cherish their state-supported freedom to abuse the law and operate with impunity against a marginalized section of society.
Ahmadis continue to languish in prisons for uncommitted crimes. Muhammad Iqbal committed no blasphemy but the mullah who had an argument with him, had him convicted, and he is now serving a life term in Faisalabad prison. Another, who was declared guilty of burning a few old pages of the Quran, is also imprisoned for life. The plea that he was disposing old religious literature by burning to ensure its respectful disposal did not impress the judge who wrote the dubious judgment: “It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused acted in ill will manner and willfully…”. Three other Ahmadis, whom the police did not find guilty of involvement in a murder, are condemned and incarcerated while awaiting a hearing of their appeal by Lahore High Court. Years of incarceration of these innocent individuals on account of miscarriage of justice is most painful and unfortunate. A priority hearing of their appeals by the High Courts is paramount.
Ahmadis’ status remains that of political orphans. Joint electorate was adopted, but Ahmadis were made an exception in year 2002. National elections are expected next year, and a sort of campaign has already started and political maneuvering is in progress. The President and other top-ranking political leaders have assured the international community that elections would be free and fair. But what about Ahmadis? If the government means what it says, it must undo the ‘exception’ imposed upon Ahmadis, and hold elections under genuine joint electorate system. Let this be the first step towards free and fair elections. It does not become a decent government to add water to milk like a contemptible milkman.
Anti-Ahmadiyya conferences at Rabwah were again permitted and facilitated by the authorities, while Ahmadis were not allowed to hold their traditional Annual Conference that are held all over the world. Fossilized forces of obscurantism converged to Rabwah three times this year to cry hoarse their message of hate and intolerance. They repeated their list of anti-Ahmadi demands that any human rights activist would find unbelievable. One of these conferences was attended by Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the head of the high church Jamaat Islami. The Advisor to the Chief Minister of the Punjab for Promotion of Religious Harmony attended the other conference in which inter alia it was demanded that: The Shariah penalty (of death) for apostasy should be enforced. The President was not wrong some months later when he called these political clerics Munafiq (hypocrites). They were quick to retort and call him Kafir, Manafiq, Zalim and Fasiq.
Ahmadiyya educational institutions, nationalized earlier, have still not been returned to Ahmadis. This is still another glaring ‘exception’ imposed on Ahmadis by the government. The building of Talim-ul-Islam College at Rabwah has been declared dangerous and thus unsuitable for its students. The standard of education is far lower than pre-nationalization era. A large number of these students are not Ahmadis. The state and society will only gain by handing back these institutions to Ahmadis — their owners. The mullah is only a bogey. The government need not take his hollow threats seriously.
The neo-Taliban have again legislated the Hasba Bill in NWFP. If implemented, it will facilitate holding Islamic kangaroo courts. It will symbolize an advance of the religious radical forces from across the Durand line. Their next drive will be to cross the Indus. It will not bode well for anybody. The drawing room Islam lovers of the Q League who now wield power in this division-prone society would also be losers in any eventual victory of religious bigots and reactionaries. If ‘enlightened moderation’ is a good idea, it should be implemented with no bars held, and no ‘exception’. Let there be an end to the futile tunnel for Ahmadis.
Particulars of Cases registered on Religious Grounds against Ahmadis during 2006
Updated Summary of the Cases
Instituted against Ahmadis in Pakistan
(From April 1984 to Dec 2006)
Summary of other events
All kind of meetings of Ahmadis in Rabwah, i.e. Ahmadiyya headquarters, large or limited have been under a strict ban since April 1984 after the promulgation of anti-Ahmadiyya ordinance. Even sports events organized by the Community have been prohibited by the authorities.
Annex VII — Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan
Some Statistics and Information for the Year 2006
Ahmadiyya Community was targeted by the state and the mullah this year also as in the past. No relief whatsoever was provided, despite rhetoric in support of ‘enlightened moderation’. The authorities took initiative to press charges against Ahmadi individuals and the press, on baseless accusations. A riot at Jhando Sahi, in police presence, made the entire local Ahmadi community flee from their home and hearth.
In addition, murder attempts were made on Ahmadi individuals at Rahim Yar Khan, Mirpur of Azad Kashmir, Dera Ghazi Khan and Chawinda, district Sialkot on March 16, August 01, September 29 and October 16 respectively.