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Lahore; January 5, 2010: Professor Muhammad Yusuf was killed on January 5, 2010 by two masked gunmen in Lahore. He was 70.
At around 7.30 a.m. Professor Yusuf was tending his son’s grocery shop near his home in Rachna Town when two masked persons drove up to the shop on motorbikes and fired two shots at him. Thereafter they fled the scene.
Upon hearing the gunshots, a son of Professor Yusuf came running to the grocery shop and found his father seriously wounded. Professor Yusuf died on route to the local hospital.
The Ahmadiyya Jamaat has faced a great deal of opposition in the Rachna Town area, and this opposition has markedly increased in recent times. Banners are seen around the area stating that Ahmadis are ‘Wajibul Qatl واجب القتل’ that is they ought to be killed. Further, a number of anti-Ahmadi rallies have taken place in the area inciting others to violently oppose and harass all Ahmadis. One such rally took place a few days earlier. A number of Ahmadis in the area have also faced death threats. Police was made aware of all such incidents yet no action has been forthcoming.
Professor Yusuf was a greatly loved and well-known personality of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. He is survived by his widow, four sons and a daughter.
The Press Secretary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Abid Khan said:
“The martyrdom of Professor Muhammad Yusuf grieves every single Ahmadi the world over. He was a gentle and loving elderly man. It is a grave reality that no Ahmadi – man, woman or child – is safe in Pakistan. A country founded on principles of tolerance and religious freedom has transformed into a country of hatred, extremism and cruelty of the highest order.
“Last year 11 Ahmadis were killed in Pakistan for no other reason than that they belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. This new year of 2010 is not even a week old and already the blood of another Ahmadi has been shed.”
It is of great concern that the deteriorating sectarian situation in Rachna Town was well-known to the Sheikhupura Police and the government of the Punjab. The laissez-faire attitude of law-enforcement agencies allowed the extremists to undertake the murder of the president of the local Ahmadiyya community (of more than one hundred households). It is our considered opinion that a firm and professional handling of the situation, would have prevented this incident.
Events reflect very poorly on the quality of governance, administration and police work in the province. This murder was preventable as the instigators had previously been reported to the police. However, even after the incident the police and the political heavy-weights handled the crime investigation in a non-professional and highly improper manner. This was taken up by the press.
The Daily Times, Lahore reported the incident in the following headlines and excerpts; it would not be difficult to read the truth between the lines:
It is such attitude of authorities that precipitated the tragedy at Gojra. Some people do not become wise even after an incident.
Sanghar, Sindh; February 3, 2010: Mr. Sami Ullah was shot dead on the evening of February 3, 2010. He was on his way home after closing his shop in Shehdadpur. When he reached near his house, two unknown motorcyclists stopped him, and fired on his head and fled away. He died at the spot. He was 55.
He was a well-known Ahmadi, and a community worker.
A prominent Ahmadi was murdered in the same district two months earlier. He was murdered the same way as Mr. Sami Ullah. This means that assassins are from the same group that targets selected Ahmadis.
This calls for serious attention from the authorities. Prominent Ahmadis are being targeted in the province of Sindh at regular intervals.
Ahmad Nagar; January 14, 2010: At the orders of the District Co-ordination Officer (DCO) Chiniot, Punjab, an Ahmadiyya mosque in Ahmad Nagar (near Rabwah) was handed over to non-Ahmadis on January 14, 2010 upon the baseless grounds of “pre-empting the extreme law and order disturbance”.
The mosque had been sealed by the police in 2003 on similar grounds, and Ahmadis have remained deprived of their place of worship ever since. Ahmadis reported the matter to the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court in August last year. While an action by the honorable court was awaited, the mullas approached the provincial and district administrations, and coerced a decision in their favour that seriously violates the legal and human rights of Ahmadis. It is a deliberate and gross infringement of Ahmadis’ freedom of religion and worship.
This mosque was built by an Ahmadi, Mr. Wali Muhammad, at his own expense and on his personal land, between 1982-1983. The management and upkeep of the mosque were undertaken by the community. Ahmadis routinely allow other Muslims to use their mosques; in fact they allow anyone who worships one God. As such, on occasions, non-Ahmadis also used this mosque for worship.
In 2003, Ahmadis undertook repairs to the building. When the repairs were nearing completion, a cleric, by the name of Ghulam Mustafa who lives in Muslim Colony (Chenab Nagar), approached the police and claimed the mosque on the grounds that it had been used by Muslims. As is the wont of extremist clerics, he threatened violence. The police, under pressure, found it convenient to lock the mosque, with the promise to look into the rival claims.
Ahmadis presented the police with irrefutable evidence and documents of Mr. Wali Muhammad’s ownership of the land and property. The police SHO therefore categorically wrote in his report, on December 18, 2003: “In my opinion it is clear and there is no doubt that this mosque was built 18 or 20 years ago by Wali Muhammad Qadiani on his own land in his personal capacity. Muslims had no claim or role in it.”
Still the authorities did not restore the mosque back to Ahmadis. In June 2007, the District Police Officer asked for a report from the DSP along with documentary evidence. This was provided by the official who concluded: “… As for this mosque/Bait uz Zikr, Ahmad Nagar, it is, according to the evidence, the property of Jamaat Ahmadiyya.”
Despite such conclusive findings, the mosque was not unsealed. In 2009, the extremist religious elements initiated a drive threatening to take over the mosque, by force if necessary. Upon this, Ahmadis complained to the Chief Justice LHC. His decision is awaited.
The mullas however decided not to wait for a judicial verdict. They issued threats to the administration, and have succeeded in obtaining a decision in their favour by unlawful means. It is a victory for blind religious extremism over fair and good governance.
The DCO’s Order and the justification given therein are typical of bureaucratic circumvention. It is reasonable to assume that he had orders from Lahore to act in the mulla’s favour. He did not fail to send a copy of his Order direct to the (PS to) Chief Secretary in the provincial capital. In view of what happened in Gojra last year and to the Ahmadi school children of Layyah, the policy of the Punjab Government’s policy is there for all to see. The chief minister’s statement, after the Gojra tragedy, is, however, worth quoting here: “We do not have the right to rule if we cannot protect and provide justice to minorities”. (The Daily Times, Lahore; August 8, 2009) In view of the DCO’s Order and the chief minister’s statement one is reminded of a statement by Dr Israr Ahmad, a well-known Pakistani cleric: “Pakistanis as a people are the greatest hypocrites in the world.” (The daily Pakistan, Lahore; January 5, 2009)
The DCO quoted the anti-Ahmadiyya constitutional amendment and Ordinance XX to justify his unsupportable action. He has used improperly unjust and unfair laws to allow a gross violation of the fundamental human rights of a marginalized community.
In case the government differs with our above assessment of the DCO’s Order, it should commission an independent inquiry on the issue by an impartial NGO or judicial panel.
According to the daily Khabrain of January 15, 2010, “At this Maulanas Allah Yar Arshad, Muhammad Hussain Chinioti, Ghulam Mustafa, Deputy Amir JI Syed Nurul Hassan Shah, Qari Muhammad Ayub Chinioti and Ilyas Chinioti paid tribute to the DCO Chiniot for his bold action.” According to another press report, a delegation of Ulama later called on the DCO to convey to him their greetings and appreciation ‘for fulfilling his earlier promise’.
This wrong must be put right, otherwise the mulla will push for further victories, as he did in Swat last year.
Chak 21/WB, Vehari; January 28, 2010: Mr. Ijaz Ahmad, Mr. Yasin and Mr. Latif were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and fined five thousand rupees each, on January 28, 2010 by a magistrate Hidayat Ullah Shah at Vehari, Punjab.
A case was registered against five Ahmadis on February 5, 2005 under anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298-C. This happened when Mr. Muhammad Arshad, an Ahmadi religious teacher in Chak 23/WB was being transferred to Chak 549. He loaded all his personal belongings in a trolley on February 20, 2005, and was on his way to his new post. On the way, armed anti-Ahmadi zealots intercepted him, took possession of his belongings, took out his religious books, notes and professional records etc, and later handed all this material to the police. The police, in pursuance of the interceptors’ report, registered a criminal case under the Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298-C against not only the Ahmadi teacher but also four other Ahmadis. The FIR accused Ahmadis of preaching their faith to “poor innocent Muslims (gharib aur sadah loh Mussulman غریب اور سادہ لوح مسلمان) on Hospital Road…, and they fled throwing away their pamphlets and literature, which were presented in evidence by the accusers”. They demanded in the FIR that further anti-Islam and anti-Mussulman literature should be recovered from the accused. This reminds one of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 when they arrested some Australians on the charge of preaching Christianity and of being in possession of Bibles. The police, in any civilized country would have detained such zealots on the charge of armed robbery.
Thereafter a judge refused to release the accused on bail. Eventually bail was granted by a higher court three months later. The prosecution however continued for five years. The state fielded false witnesses and rigged a fabricated and improved story. In the meantime one of the accused Mirza Muhammad Iqbal died. Mr. Arshad was mentioned no more in the challan or trial. The other three Ahmadis were arrested in the court and led to the prison to serve their sentence of imprisonment.
Rabwah; December 2009: Secretary of District Housing Committee Chiniot, a government body, recently advertised in the press and in public that empty plots in Rabwah on the riverside would be sold by auction, but only to those who believe in ‘complete and unconditional end of prophethood’ and who is not a follower of anybody who claimed to be a prophet in any sense of the word or is an Ahmadi/ Qadiani/Mirzai/Lahori. This happened first in year 2005 and now again in 2009/2010.
There is a background to this vulgar exercise of auction. Many years ago, the government, in league with religious thugs, forcibly occupied Ahmadiyya owned residential land on the eastern part of Rabwah, and established a ‘Muslim Colony’ on the usurped land. Ahmadis petitioned the Lahore High Court and the honorable court ordered on 4 March 1976:
The matter is still pending before the Court and the stay order is still in the field. Therefore any auction of the plots is a clear violation of the order of the Court and amounts to contempt of the Court. So, the Ahmadiyya Office served a legal notice to the Secretary of the Housing Committee to stop the auction in 2005. No one paid heed to it.
It is relevant to mention that despite the Court orders, numerous mullas and their acolytes are in illegal occupation of Ahmadiyya land for years and have established there a mosque, a big seminary, and a so-called Muslim Colony - with government support.
This time again, the Secretary notified that “After the final auction of plots in this scheme, no one will be allowed to transfer his plot ever to an Ahmadi/Qadiani/Mirzai/Lahori; violators will lose their plots, the construction material and their deposits to the government.” This unworthy announcement was issued by Deputy Director/Secretary District Housing Committee, Chiniot, and he has quoted Order No. 3(1)76-H-M-11 of the Housing Urban Development of the Government of Punjab as authority.
It is interesting and relevant to read the following in the press:
The forbidding action took place in the Punjab. The auction notice, publicized in the press, is placed at Annex.
Gulgasht Colony, Multan; January 19, 2010: Multan has been a hotbed of anti-Ahmadiyya activities for some time now. Three Ahmadis were murdered there in 2009, two doctors and a successful businessman. Several Ahmadi families relocated to the Gulgasht Colony of the city, but the mulla still pursues them. Ahmadi families are living there in fear and are exposed to harm all the time. Incidents in Multan were mentioned in the monthly report of December 2009.
This month provocative and hateful stickers were pasted on the door of an Ahmadi resident of the colony. These stickers expose the malice of the mullas, and promote hatred. The Ahmadi reported the incident to the police with the request that the culprits be stopped. The print on one of these stickers reads: “One who does not strive to safeguard the finality of the prophethood and the honour of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is at risk on the Dooms Day.” This sticker also bears drawing of a dead man’s skull and leg-bones. The other sticker reads: “One who has any dealings with Mirzais will be devoid of the intercession of Muhammad (PBUH) on the Dooms Day and will face grievous punishment of disgrace.” These stickers bear the address of the publishers as: Khatame Nabuwwat Youth Wing, Ferozwala, Pakistan. Their phone numbers and website address are also given in the bold: 0321-8852745, 0322-4669648 and www.khatm-e-nubuwwat.org. The authorities remain unmoved.
Public Auction of Rabwah land: ad in The News of December 19, 2009; and its translation in English