Plight of Ahmadi educationist couple
They could have been an asset to the education sector in Pakistan
The following story shows how Pakistani society has harmed itself in the early 21st century. Its Islamist clergy, administration, police, polity in general have all played their part in landing the society in a quagmire.
Mr Azhar Ahmad is a youthful Ahmadi in his early 30s. He has an MBA in ‘Marketing’. He resided in Qutb Pur, Tehsil Dunyapur, Lodhran, a district located in the southern Punjab. He is married to Ms. Sarwat Mubbashir who has master’s degree in Zoology. They were married in December 2008. They now have two sons, Muddassar Ahmad Chaudhary aged 18 months and his new-born sibling Masroor Ahmad Chaudhary. As the couple are motivated to spread education in society through commitment, hard work and honest living, they decided to set up an educational institution in their town that would serve the people.
They established New Millat College of Commerce and Sciences, Dunyapur in April 2009. It was started in a 7-room building. The inauguration ceremony was held the next month to which they invited the elite of the district. It was a great success.
The couple’s hard work and good management delivered excellent results the very first year. A majority of the students were, of course, non-Ahmadi. The two top scorers stood first and third in the entire district. All the students, male and female, passed; they all obtained ‘first division’ marks – an amazing feat. The college claimed to provide a decent building, qualified teachers, friendly environment, a modern lab, at moderate cost.
All the above was not to the liking of their competitors. They started a hostile propaganda campaign against the New Millat College. As they could find no other valid reason, they picked up the weapon of religion to harass the couple. In this they enlisted the willing support of Khatme Nabuwwat clerics.
As the College of Commerce and Sciences had proved a great success, the couple planned to hold classes for women for F.Sc, B. Com, B. Ed and M. Ed degrees. They took a loan and started construction. The new building comprised 19 rooms. Students joined the New Millat Girls College, and the classes began.
In response, the Aalami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat printed hostile posters and put them up all over the town. The posters called for a general boycott of Qadianis, and of the New Millat College in particular. They urged “the Muslims of Dunyapur to boycott these (Qadianis’) institutions as evidence of their love for the Sovereign of the Two Worlds (PBUH), save the children becoming Qadianis and thus deserve the intercession of the Prophet.”
This campaign was intense and effective. Consequently, none of the town’s notables sent a message of congratulations to the couple over the brilliant results shown by the college after the first year of operation, even though the beneficiaries were primarily their children. The reaction displayed jealousy and prejudice. The mullas were furious. They took to holding open-air meetings and processions. The so-called elite sought peace in accepting intimidation. Mr. Ahmad reported the unjustified agitation to the police. They did not respond.
The lack of administration and police support to the targeted family encouraged the mullas to become more rabid. They put up hateful banners in the town and distributed hate literature. They even visited door to door to dissuade parents from sending their children to colleges run by ‘Qadianis’. Delegations of mullas met the teachers and told them to stop teaching at the ‘New Millat College’. They even contacted the students, and indoctrinated them in hate and extremism.
The mullas used invective and slander in their speeches. They openly declared Ahmadis to be Wajib ul Qatl (must be killed). “They have no right to build here educational institutions; they are not allowed even to build a mosque. They should be thrown out of Dunyapur. Their colleges should be shut down”, mullas insisted. The bureaucracy found it convenient to support the mulla. The District Education Officer, Lodhran refused to register the college, so the students of New Millat had to obtain their examination registration through another college.
The Khatme Nabuwwat mullas, supported by the competitors of the New Millat colleges, had spoiled the communal and social peace sufficiently to urge the administration to take notice – of course, on the lines suggested by the clerics.
A committee was formed and its meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Deputy District Officer Revenue. It was also attended by a DSP, the police rep, a number of mullas, Ms Qudsia Saleem, the principal of the ‘New Millat’.
A reading of the ‘minutes of meeting’ shows that the chair and the DSP initially said a few decent words in support of peace and harmony, but then followed the agenda of the obscurantist mullas. The minutes convey that three of the participants stated that Qadianis were Kafir (infidels) and Wajib ul Qatl (must be killed). Also Qari Asghar demanded that if ‘these people’ want to run a school they should indicate boldly on the school board that it belongs to Qadianis. Maulana Akram said that this was a Qadiani conspiracy whereby they wanted to preach Qadianism in the town; they are in minority, they should build a school where they are in majority. Ms Qudsia Saleem said that the schools’ opponents were raising non-issues and they were only interested in making the New Millat enterprise a failure. The DSP (police) then came up with, “I have been told by the District Police Officer that the issue can only be solved with the help of the people. So I suggest, a Committee should be formed, whose decision should be implemented.”
As planned, a so-called Peace Committee was formed whose members were rabid ulama 1. Mufti Asghar Ali, 2. Maulana Saeedi, 3. Maulana Hafiz ur Rahman, 4. Qari Akram and 5. Kanwar Khalil. Also included as ‘v/s’ (whatever this means) were two Ahmadis Ms Qudsia Saleem and Mr Azhar Chaudhry.
It was a strange committee whose recommendations were to be binding on the administration. It comprised none else but the opposing parties themselves; one group of five mullas and the other group of two targeted Ahmadis. How on earth could such a ‘committee’ come up with a fair and reasonable solution? The mediocrity and apathetic nature of the district level bureaucracy in Lodhran is noteworthy here. These ‘Minutes of the meeting’ were sent to the DCO, DPO, etc. As the ‘Committee’ proceeded to act as proposed, it is reasonable to assume that the high level district administration approved the ‘Minutes’.
The Peace Committee’s recommendations surprised no one. These five mullas wrote down their findings as that of the ‘Five-member Peace Committee’, as if assuming and endorsing that the two Ahmadis were not a part of the committee. The committee stated their unanimous decision that (extracts), “Qadianis/Mirzais should not be allowed to build any school or college in Dunyapur. …The present New Millat College, is an institution run by Qadianis, it should be closed down immediately so that there is not the slightest change in the beliefs and thinking of the Muslim students, and the peace of Dunyapur remains undisturbed. Thereafter, if the administration does not act to close down the school and the college, it will be held responsible for the (breakdown in) law and order. From the Five-member Aman Committee Dunyapur.”
It is obvious that the entire procedure of holding a meeting followed by this ‘Peace Committee’ and all its relevant formalities were pre-planned to obtain a warning from the mullas to the authorities to facilitate their action of closing down the New Millat institutions, as desired by the religious fanatics. Lodhran is a district in the south Punjab. This region has been mentioned in dispatches repeatedly in recent years, all over the world – not incorrectly and not without reason.
Thereafter the situation worsened rapidly for Mr Azhar Ahmad and his wife Ms Sarwat Mubbashir. The mullas visited them and told them to convert to ‘Islam’ or face the consequences.
The couple was left with no option but to give up their enterprise. They held a meeting with the colleges’ staff and decided to transfer the institution to one of the staff members. This was at great financial loss to the couple. Within days the couple shifted to another city where they are, for the time being, more at peace, but without their cherished goal of providing first-rate education to the youth of Pakistan.
The staff member who purchased the property at cut-rate price, later refused to pay them the outstanding amount.
Although, the couple left Dunyapur in March 2011, this did not help peace in that town, as peace was not the aim of mullas. Months later, the communal situation turned more grave than ever. Mullas visited Ahmadi businessmen and threatened them with harm to life and property. They continue to make provocative speeches using sound amplifiers and post anti-Ahmadiyya stickers urging the people to hate Ahmadis and implement a complete social boycott of them. Such fascist tactics are being used to marginalize a small community.
A teen-age student exposed to the tyranny of the blasphemy law
Khushab: Rana Sajeel Ahmad, a 16-year old Ahmadi student of Pubic High School Khushab was beaten up severely by a gang of students on November 23, 2011. This led to a dispute that resulted in the dreaded charge of blasphemy against him.
Subsequent to the beating, the attackers accused Ahmad of preaching his creed and defiling the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). The school administration found it convenient to accept the fabrication. The next day, Rana Hakim Jamil, father of the victim, met the school principal, but he expelled Ahmad from the school accusing him of blasphemy.
Four days after the attack, two applications were delivered to the police station. The first one was from Waqas Ahmad, an activist of the Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat who had obtained signatures of 12 students over a fabricated statement of the victim, “Your prophet is false; my prophet is true.” The applicant demanded that a criminal case be registered against Rana Sajeel Ahmad under PPC 295-C, the blasphemy law. It is relevant to mention here that according to most of these mullas it is perfectly acceptable, even desirable, to support the cause of religion through falsehood.
The second application was moved by Qari Saeed, the divisional chief of Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat. He accused therein that Rana Hakim Jamil had declared the religion of his son as Islam on the Entrance Form of the school. He demands that the father be prosecuted under PPC 298-C, the anti-Ahmadiyya law.
In fact, the Form was not signed by the father, it bears the signature of Rana Danial who is a brother of Rana Sajeel Ahmad. At the time of admission, Danial was told to sign on the dotted line; “the rest of the columns would be filled by the school administration”, he was assured. This is not unusual in Pakistan for procedures which are considered a mere formality.
The next day the DPO was requested to intervene. He heard the plea of the accused but said, “The case will be registered under PPC 295-C and 298-C immediately on availability of the evidence.” He told Ahmad that “these crazy people” would kill him.
After making written complaints to the police the mullas turned to their ‘standard operating procedure’. They held rallies in which they declared that if the police did not register the blasphemy case, they would take out processions and rallies. They declared that the two accused were Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be put to death). They issued a resolution (translation): “If the police do not register a blasphemy case against Rana Sajeel and Rana Hakim Jamil, they will be responsible for all that would happen to both. We are prepared to go to any length to protect the honour of the Prophet.” The mullas sent their emissaries, armed with this resolution, to other towns in the district.
As a result of these activities, and the police failure to handle the mullas firmly, the law and order situation in the town became delicate. The two accused felt that their lives were under threat, so they went into hiding. The police decided to placate the miscreants further.
The DPO sent for both the parties. Ahmadiyya delegation met the DPO on December 12, 2011, but did not present the accused for fear of their safety. Their opponents arrived in a huge crowd and presented their false witnesses well-briefed. The DPO was more concerned with maintaining calm than with dispensation of justice. He ordered that Mr. Asfand Yar be booked under 16 MPO, and that Sajeel be presented. The police arrested Asfand Yar who was not even accused by the mullas, to compel the family to deliver the two accused, who decided to avoid exposure to the lynch mob.
A few days later, the police booked Rana Sajeel Ahmad under PPC 295-C the blasphemy clause and his father Rana Hakim Jamil under PPC 298-C the anti-Ahmadiyya clause. Asfand Yar remains detained by the police who say that he will be released if Sajeel is presented. That is the Pakistani way: arrest an innocent member of the family to force them to deliver the accused, even if the charges are entirely false. The Express Tribune of December 15, 2011 reported the event at length under the headlines: Blasphemy charges: Out of fear, Ahmadi family on the run. Blasphemy allegations continue to haunt minorities in Pakistan.
There is reason to believe that the DPO knows that the blasphemy accusation against Sajeel is false, as no Ahmadi would ever say that Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was a false prophet, but to avoid unrest and protect his career, he, like most others, opted to pass the case to the courts to decide. The much-trumpeted procedure, under rule section 156-A requiring a Superintendent of Police to investigate the accusation prior to charging an accused failed once again. It would fail almost every time, the unworthy drafters of this Rule designed it that way.
An Ahmadi student denied admission
Gujranwala; December 2011: Mr. Shahzem Sohail Ahmad applied for admission in Punjab Medical colleges. He passed the entry test and qualified for admission from Gujranwala Medical College on merit on December 18, 2011. He received call from University of Health Sciences on December 25, 2011. He went there with educational certificates. The staff there declared the issued marks-sheet bogus, although it had been issued by them, and cancelled his admission. The university administration tampered grossly with his obtained marks and made them 635 instead of 935. The vice-chancellor and the controller of examination threatened Mr. Ahmad of grave consequences and told him to admit that his marks-sheet was fake and bogus. He refused to yield to their pressure. His admission was cancelled despite qualifying for it on merit.
Mr. Ahmad, in consultation with his father, has decided to approach the Lahore High Court to obtain justice.
Sorry state of a nationalized Ahmadiyya girls school
Sialkot: The daily Khabrain, Lahore of January 21, 2011 published a report. Its translation is given below:
“Dilapidated state of the Government Ahmadiyya Girls School. No furniture either. Hundreds of girl-students are made to sit on the ground in class rooms. Walls develop cracks.
“Sialkot (Bureau Report): Hundreds of girl students have no option but to sit on the floor of class rooms in the dilapidated building of their school that was built a century ago. Govt Ahmadiyya Girls School, Buddhi Bazaar was built a hundred years ago during the Raj in 1910. No repairs or maintenance to it has been undertaken subsequently. As such, the school is in extremely precarious state. Its roofs leak during rains. Walls have developed cracks. Doors and windows are crumbling. And there is no furniture in the school for its 750 students.
According to Ms Faiza Mir, the school headmistress, the students of this crumbling school are very intelligent; the school results are 100 percent every year. Mr. Kashif Niaz Butt, a former councilor and a leader of PML (N) stated that a year ago Khawja Muhammad Asif MNA and Mr. Imran Ashraf MPA obtained 5.6 million rupees as grant for the school, but the Education Department failed to utilize the amount. No wonder, hundreds of children are deprived of basic class room furniture. Residents have demanded attention of the authorities.”
The school mentioned in the above news originally belonged to Ahmadis, but was nationalized subsequently. The news describes the sad state in the education sector of Ahmadi students, teachers and former institutions. These also show the neglect and inaction of the authorities towards the oft-repeated comment in official circles that religious extremism is the main threat to Pakistani state and society.
A false accusation in Goleki
Goleki, District Gujrat: One, Sarfraz Ahmad, an anti-Ahmadi fanatic was murdered by unknown assassins on October 20, 2011 at about 08:15 hr. while going to his job in company of another man. The complainant named seven men, Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis, as involved in the murder. The fabricated list included an Ahmadi who is behind bars (in some personal case) another who is away residing in Switzerland and a third who is not residing in the village.
It is true that the deceased was a local leader in the anti-Ahmadiyya activities in Goleki, but Ahmadis were not involved in his murder. As he was an anti-Ahmadi activist, the complainant party found it convenient to name three Ahmadis along with four non-Ahmadis as accused. They also mentioned in the FIR three anonymous persons for involvement in the murder. It is a common practice in the Punjab to implicate as many adversaries as possible in the FIR. Mention of ‘anonymous’ as accused leaves the door open to add others to the list subsequently. The police welcome such fabrications for their own reasons.
The mullas have put a great deal of pressure on the police to move against Ahmadis. They declared on loudspeakers that Ahmadis were responsible for the murder, so they and their properties should be targeted. Ahmadis are Wajib ul Qatl, they asserted.
In the meantime, responding to the demand of clerics, the police detained an Ahmadi teacher, Mr Nusrat Ahmad for investigation. Mr Ahmad is a local official of the Ahmadiyya community. His non-Ahmadi relatives visited the victim’s family for condolences and protested against the detention of Mr Ahmad, to which they responded, “We know that he is innocent, but he is a Mirzai (Ahmadi); if he recants we’ll ask the police to set him free.”
One Raza Mitta, a local politician who is recently adopted the appearance of a mulla, was seen at the police station shouting at the staff there telling them to make more arrests.
It is worth mentioning that in a somewhat similar case an anti-Ahmadi mulla and his son were murdered in Chak Sikandar by unknown killers seven years ago. His brother named 10 Ahmadis falsely as the killers. The court acquitted seven of the accused but sentenced three to death. These three remained in prison for seven years, and were acquitted by the High Court on appeal. In the meantime the real culprits got away scot free.
A Deputy Commissioner’s unworthy order
Kotli, AJK: It was reported in our report for 2008 that on the order of the Deputy Commissioner, the District Headquarters Hospital Kotli refused to consider the bid of an Ahmadi contractor to provide food and medicines “due to Firqa (Denomination) Ahmadiyya”. A copy of the DC Kotli’s letter has become available to us this year and give its translation below:
Office of the Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate District Kotli
No. JB/295/08 dated June 12, 2008
The Medical Superintendent/Deputy Superintendent
Subject: Tendering for food for patients of this hospital
With reference to the subject it is noted that I have come to know that the tenders for provision of food supplies/medicines for the patients of this hospital will be opened tomorrow. People of different religious schools of thought have met me in office. They have brought it to my notice from District Kotli that some bidders of Firqa Ahmadiyya (Ahmadiyya denomination) have also joined the bidding for the tenders, through the collusion (milli bhagat) of the hospital administration. I have also been informed of the activities of Firqa Ahmadiyya in the district; these include efforts to control trade centers, clandestine construction of religious churches (girjay)/self-styled places of worship and Qadianis’ secret moves against Islam and the doctrine of the End of Prophethood among the poor of the backward residential areas. The ulama of various denominations have expressed intense anger and grief, and demanded that the district administration should intervene immediately in this important and unusual issue, otherwise all religious groups will have to start a violent campaign etc. I have made further inquiries through my own sources to assess the veracity of the Ulama’s presentations, and I have found them entirely correct. The followers of the Firqa Ahmadiyya are involved in the above mentioned activities in District Kotli.
According to the law and PPC of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Qadianis have been declared Non-Muslims. Thus no Non-Muslim can be authorized to take over supply of food and medicines to Muslim patients, as special care and refinement (nafasat) is required in the slaughter and cooking of meat, which cannot be expected from a Non-Muslim or an apostate, otherwise the halal (kosher) victuals and medicines will be considered Haram (prohibited category); and if this is done deliberately it would amount to a great sin (gunahe kabirah). Secondly, if principles of commerce are kept in view, it is the responsibility of the district administration that such commerce is disallowed that pollutes religion and faith, threatens law and order in a big way and contravenes law and the dogma of Prophecy (Risalat) and the End of Prophethood.
Therefore, I, as Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate require you to exclude all person/persons/company that have a link with Firqa Ahmadiyya, or a large number of people consider them to be so, or if you are personally satisfied that the said person/persons/company have links with the Ahmadiyya Firqa; otherwise you will be personally responsible for any expected breakdown in law and order. It should be borne in mind that the above will cover all such other matters in which (adherents of) Firqa Ahmadiyya participate as bidders.
Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate
It will be noted that this Deputy Commissioner was posing thereby to be more ‘pious’ than the mullas and had the audacity and lack of propriety to not only indulge in issuing Fatwa (a religious edict) but also beat the aggressive bigots in their game. If he is still in service, his superiors will do well to keep an eye on him. His name is Bashir Mughal.
Police activity on behest of clerics
Chak 93/12.L, District Sahiwal; May 28, 2011: The police SHO visited this village, and inquired from Ahmadis if they were holding a meeting. Ahmadis told him they had no such plans. “Why did you then slaughter a goat?” he asked. He was told that such a sacrifice was not unusual with Ahmadis; meat distribution was a routine charity. The SHO departed having conveyed that he was going to visit Ahmadis in the next village, Chak No. 90/12.L.
According to a press report, the DPO had sent the SHO to ensure security of the Ahmadiyya places of worship. It seems the lower echelons of police continue to consider mullas as ‘us’ and Ahmadis as ‘they’.
Demolition of an Ahmadiyya place of worship by authorities
Jattwala, District Lodhran; August 21, 2011: Ahmadiyya community in Jattwala, district Lodhran intended to build a place for their worship. Ali Hasan, a member of Lashkr-e-Taiba (a religious outfit banned for its terrorist activities), filed an application in the District Superintendent Police Office to stop its construction. The SHO came to the site on the order of his superiors and ordered a stop to the construction and told both the parties to report to him in the police station the next day. There, Ahmadis agreed that they would build only a hall for community functions and provide no niche and minarets. Their opponents agreed to this, and the police allowed the construction.
Later on, some mullas and press reporters came to the site again and started making hue and cry that a mosque was under construction. They gathered approximately 500 men and were about to demolish the construction but were dissuaded by some notables of the area from doing that. A delegation of mullas and press reporters met the District Coordination Officer and put further pressure on him to demolish the Ahmadiyya hall. The DCO succumbed to their pressure tactics and ordered the Tehsil Municipal Officer to demolish the construction forthwith. The police came to the site and demolished the building.
Some press reporters and television teams came to the site and recorded the statements of agitating clerics. They expressed satisfaction over the co-operation of authorities in the demolition of the Ahmadiyya mosque and vowed to demolish the Ahmadiyya mosque in Lodhran city as “it had become a place of terrorist activities”.
Such is the role of the democratic government in upholding the Freedom of Religion of Ahmadis in Pakistan.
Police defiles the Kalima on Ahmadiyya mosque
Chak 30/11-L, District Sahiwal; January 2011: Mullas routinely demand removal of the Kalima from the Ahmadiyya mosques as also the demolition of their niches and minarets. The authorities often disregard such demands but there are exceptions which are on the rise. Ahmadiyya mosque in Chak No. 30/11-L became another target. The police and agencies came to this location to investigate one such demand. A delegation of the Ahmadiyya community met the District Police Officer, who showed his intent to remove the Kalima. In the second meeting he decided to cover the Kalima with wooden planks rather than remove it.
The SHO came to the village on January 24, 2011 to implement the dishonourable decision. First he intended to break the tiles on which the Kalima was written. Ahmadis told him that the orders required him to cover it. He then nailed wooden planks at the face of the Kalima. However, while departing, he threatened that he would efface the Kalima at the next opportunity.
Subsequently, at the behest of the mullas, the police told Ahmadis to demolish the niche of the mosque. Ahmadis refused to do that, and conveyed that the police may undertake that sort of desecration but should not expect it from Ahmadis. The SHO threatened to book all the Ahmadis in a criminal case. At the time, he went back but threatened to come again.
Apparently the police have no instructions from the provincial capital to ignore the unreasonable demands of clerics.
Construction of a mosque barred
Ghatyalian Kalan, District Sialkot; January 2011: The local Ahmadiyya community reconstructed their mosque as it was in a state of decay. When its roof was to be installed, the police ordered a stop to further work. The police stopped the construction on the complaint of a local mulla. The police told the Ahmadis to seek permission from the government to proceed further with the reconstruction. Permission from higher authorities was neither required nor was it likely to be granted. The police acted unlawfully and in bad faith.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Pasroor decided to visit the site. He arrived there in the company of the Chairman Aman (peace) Committee. The Ahmadiyya delegation showed them the building and told them that it was almost a hundred years old and had become dilapidated. It was no longer safe for use, and the worshippers had no choice but to pray outside in the courtyard, which was not recommended on account of the security situation in the country. Also, with the passage of time, the number of worshipers had increased. For these reasons, the mosque structure had to be extended, and pillars, etc had been built accordingly.
The opposition party insisted on restricting the construction and wanted stricter conditions to be applied. These were unacceptable to Ahmadis.
The issue had to be raised before the District Police Officer (DPO) who said that he would visit the site. He was unable to come to the village, and the construction remained suspended. The freedom to worship was severely compromised.
Maulvi Faqir Muhammad and the Government of the Punjab
Masudabad Chak 109, District Faisalabad; February 2011: Maulvi Faqir Muhammad of Faisalabad is the same mulla on whose demand the government of the Punjab issued its ill-famed registered letter dated June 27, 2003, which was accorded ‘TOP PRIORITY’ and was titled: LETTER RECEIVED FROM MOULVI FAQIR MOHAMMAD. It contained unworthy instructions to three private schools owned by Ahmadis, such as to ‘expose themselves as Qadiani by writing in large plain hand writing on the school boards.’ The authorities continue to be slavishly responsive to this mulla’s dictates, as is apparent from the incident described below.
Three policemen visited the Ahmadiyya community in Masudabad at about 3 p.m. on February 6, 2011 and conveyed that Maulvi Faqir Mohammad had intimated to the authorities that Ahmadis had written the Kalima in their mosque and the graveyard. (This reminds one of Taliban rule in Afghanistan when they arrested some Australian priests and charged them for, inter alia, being in possession of the Bible). They instructed Ahmadi elders to present themselves at the police station in Khurrarianwala the next day at 4 p.m.
In subsequent meetings with the police, the DSP was sympathetic, and offered the hope of finding a solution. However, one cannot rely upon such statements by Pakistani officials.
Sure enough, the DSP, accompanied by the SHO and 15 constables came to the village after sunset on 15 February, unhooked and took away the Kalima from the mosque, that was carved in wood.
It is nearly eight years since the government of the Punjab issued the ill-famed TOP PRIORITY letter. It has not learnt its lesson, and is drifting with the tide, headed for the rocks.
A major mischief brews against Ahmadiyya central mosque in Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi; September 1, 2011: A man came over to the gate at the Ahmadiyya center in Rawalpindi at about 20:30 and attempted entry. He was stopped and interrogated to which his answers were unsatisfactory. So he turned back and went towards the Holy Family Hospital. The suspect was carrying a bag. When close to the hospital he took out something from the bag and threw it towards the washrooms. He left his bag there, and he was picked up from there by a vehicle.
Ahmadis reported the incident to the police.
The suspect’s visit to the Ahmadiyya centre and then to the Holy Family Hospital smells of some conspiracy hatched to implicate first the Ahmadis, failing that, the Christians. Fortunately the nefarious plan failed, and came to naught.
A few days later, mullas held a rally close to the Holy Family Hospital, and spoke against the Ahmadiyya presence in their own centre.
Religious bigots have targeted the Ahmadiyya mosque here, in their perpetual drive to destroy, seal, occupy, take over or deny the use of Ahmadiyya places of worship. In this they are often helped by the authorities. Since the promulgation of the infamous Ordinance XX more than 120 such cases have been recorded. The latest target in this vicious drive is the Aiwan-i-Tauhid, the central place of worship of Ahmadis, located in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi.
Some mullas supported by a few immoderate traders launched a campaign to deprive Ahmadis the opportunity to worship in Aiwan-i-Tauhid. They approached the authorities for this purpose and conveyed to them that their feelings were hurt by Ahmadis’ worship at that location, and threatened that if Ahmadis were not restricted from using the building for their religious activities, they would themselves stop the Ahmadis from doing so.
These clerics sought the help and guidance from Mulla Charagh Din of Madrassa Sirajia Nizamia who sometimes ago had led a violent campaign against Ahmadiyya place of worship in his area and had succeeded in having it closed down with the help of authorities.
The Aiwan-i-Tauhid site was acquired by the Ahmadiyya central office in 1997 and got it registered. It has been used ever since for prayers. The government does not tax it for being a place of worship.
The authorities, however, took notices of the mullas’ application. They sent for Ahmadi elders to explain their position to the police. This was done. The city administration carried out its own investigation.
The campaigning clerics are skillful in mischief, agitation, politics and litigation. A grave conspiracy got underway to deprive Ahmadis of their freedom of worship – even worse might be on the cards. Ahmadis turned to prayers. The issue is still alive.
Difficulties involved in renovation of an Ahmadiyya mosque
Chak 109, Narain Garh, District Faisalabad: The local community of this village had undertaken the task of improving the capacity of their mosque. On November 10, 2011, the SHO of police station Jaranwala came to the village and showed to Ahmadis an application against the work in the mosque, and conveyed that unless a ‘No objection certificate’ is obtained from the DCO, the work cannot proceed. It is relevant to mention that nowhere in any Pakistani village people are required to seek DCO’s permission to undertake renovation of their places of worship.
The same night, anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlets were dropped in homes in the village. A week later, a head-constable arrived from the police station and showed an application signed by 80 persons complaining about two issues:
- Ahmadiyyat was preached in a local school run by an Ahmadi, and pictures of Ahmadi leaders were displayed in the school office.
- The mosque was being extended.
As for the first item, it was a fabricated accusation. There were no photographs of Ahmadi leaders in the school office. These were hung in the sitting room in his residence. Some unfriendly visitor had photographed them from there to provide fake evidence.
The next day a rumor was spread that the DCO and Tehsildar were coming to demolish the Ahmadiyya mosque. Instead, a Patwari (land revenue clerk) arrived to investigate. He sent for both the parties and recoded their statements.
The issue is under investigation, while the construction work had to be stopped on orders of the administration. Such is the state of freedom of faith and worship for Ahmadis in Pakistan.
Erasure of Kalima
Daska Kot, District Sialkot; February 19, 2011: The police visited the local Ahmadiyya mosque along with mullas, who had photographed the Kalima written on the face of the mosque. The clerics demanded that the Kalima should be erased. The police contacted the Ahmadi prayer leader and threatened him with registration of a criminal case and arrest. They took him to the police station. Later they fixed tiles over the Kalima, and let go of the Ahmadi Imam.
Desecration of Islamic creed on behest of the mullas
Chak 245/E.B, District Vehari; July 7, 2011: Local mullas disturbed the peace of this village. They demanded that officials erase the Kalima written on the inside wall of the Ahmadiyya mosque. The District Police Officer told Ahmadis to raise the outer wall so that the Kalima could not be seen from outside, so as to avoid the objection of the mullas. The outer wall was raised accordingly.
This failed to placate the mullas, who held a Khatme Nabuwwat conference in protest on June 29, 2011, and put further pressure on the administration. Some mullas came to the village the next day and raised anti-Ahmadiyya slogans in the mosque of Ahle-Sunnat wal Jamaat. Subsequently, bowing to the pressure of the extremists the police spray-painted the Kalima to cover it. This sacrilege was committed by the authorities despite the fact that Ahmadis had already raised the outer wall of the mosque and the Kalima was not visible from the outside. The paint faded away with the passage of time and the Kalima became visible once again. The opponents and clerics again protested over it. The DPO ordered the police again to erase it, as demanded by the mullas. The police sprayed black paint on it and covered it completely.
Despite the fulfillment of demands, mullas still held another anti-Ahmadiyya conference on July 21, 2010 and declared Ahmadis Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be killed).
Chak 363/EB, Vehari; September 2011: An ASI from the Special Branch visited Chak 363/EB. He inquired as to when the Kalima and the verse were written in the mosque. Ahmadis told him that those were written long ago at the time of its construction. He told Ahmadis that mullas were holding meetings and making hue and cry about the Kalima in their mosque.
An intruder with suspect intentions
Township, Lahore; August 9, 2011: A man, approximately 30 years old, tried to enter the Ahmadiyya mosque in Township, Lahore. The Ahmadi youths on duty intercepted him. The unwelcome visitor gave his name as Imtiaz Babar Ali from 22 Block no. 6-BI. He was handed over to the police.
Restoration of Ahmadiyya mosque – after six years
Khiva Bajwa, District Sialkot: Local Ahmadiyya mosque was sealed by the police on the demand of anti-Ahmadiyya elements on June 2, 2005. It was opened on August 21, 2011, and Ahmadis were allowed to pray therein.
Ahmadis, deprived of their mosque, had to offer their daily prayers at the residence of the local prayer leader. The case was referred to a court where it remained sub-judice for years.
A few months ago, the opponents withdrew the case with the plea that they will re-file the case with convincing arguments. They did not do so till the end of the granted time limit. Eventually they decided to make peace and promised no further litigation.
The mosque structure has suffered due to years of disuse and neglect. It will need renovation before regular use.
Is it not unjust to deny right of worship for years to a community on flimsy grounds? The state and the society participated in this grave crime.
An outrage committed by police
Haveli Majoka, District Sargodha; July 6, 2011: The police went over to the Ahmadiyya graveyard, desecrated and decamped with seven tombstones on the complaint of a mulla.
The law does not specify that an Ahmadi’s tombstone should not bear the Kalima or Quranic verses. The mulla thinks it is implied in the spirit of the law; but so is the case with names of thousands of Ahmadis in Sargodha district.
A video of their outrage is available. It is available in archives as record.
Another provocative conference to be held in Rabwah by mullas
Rabwah: The Director of Public Affairs, Ahmadiyya headquarters wrote the following letter to federal and provincial authorities on August 18, 2011 (translation):
Nazarat Umoor E Aama
Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Rabwah (Pakistan)
Ph: 047-6212459 Fax: 047-6215459 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Appropriate action regarding Khatme Nabuwwat Conference to be held on September 07, 2011 in Muslim Colony Chenab Nagar/Rabwah
I wish to draw your attention to an important and sensitive issue. According to press reports, anti-Ahmadi elements have announced a program to hold a Khatme Nabuwwat conference in Chenab Nagar/Rabwah on September 07, 2011.
Ahmadis in Rabwah, where 95% of the population is Ahmadi, are not allowed to hold their annual conferences and other programs, but their opponents are regularly facilitated to transport vigilantes from outside to Rabwah, hold conferences, take out processions, abuse Ahmadi leaders on loudspeakers, indulge in insulting acts, make mischief and create a threat to law and order.
Such a conference is again planned this year for September 07, 2011 which raises a threat to law and order in this town. As in the past, it is most likely that many incoming participants will be from organizations that are otherwise banned by the government of Pakistan. These bands emerge from the Muslim Colony, loiter through the residential areas, and attempt provocation near Ahmadiyya places of worship. All this can lead to some nasty incident. This conference also provides an opportunity for this kind of undesired happening.
In view of the grave situation prevailing in the country, it would be appropriate to disallow this conference, and provide no official support to its sponsors. However, if decided otherwise, the participants should be made to use only main roads, refrain from eve-teasing, slogan-raising, improper use of sound amplifiers and posing a threat to the town’s law and order through hateful sectarian speeches.
God forbid, if there is a disturbing incident, the responsibility will be that of the participants of the conference and the authorities. Last year also, you were requested likewise to disallow the conference but unfortunately we received no positive response.
We hope that you will take appropriate action to maintain peace in the town. This delicate issue deserves your priority attention and action.
Director Public Affairs
Rabwah (Chenab Nagar) District Chiniot
PS. The authorization was not revoked. Report of this conference is given below.
Demands at a Khatme Nabuwwat conference in AJK capital
Muzaffargarh; April 21, 2011: Tehrik Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat Azad Kashmir issued posters that it would hold its conference in the University Ground of Muzaffarabad on April 21, the Khatme Nabuwwat Resolution Day. They mentioned it in the poster that the President of the state, the Prime Minister and all political leaders (sic) would also attend. The poster carried the following demands, inter alia:
- April 29 should be celebrated officially in Azad Kashmir as Yom Khatme Nabuwwat and should be declared as official holiday.
- Qadianis should be registered in Azad Kashmir as Non-Muslims with a separate identity.
- Qadiani centers of apostasy that look like mosques should be destroyed without delay.
- Qadiani daily, their TV channel MTA and all their literature should be banned.
- A list of all Qadianis in government service should be promulgated, and those in the Education Department, in particular, should be fired.
- All marriages between Qadianis and Muslims should be declared null and void.
- Qadiani employees in the Nilum Jhelum Project should be fired, and the dismissed Muslim employees should be re-appointed.
Such demands were made in a forum to be attended by the President and the Prime Minister AJK. This is not surprising as these high state functionaries have in past years attended these conferences where such conscienceless demands were made to them by the mullas who organized these conferences.
Hostility in government job
Rawalpindi: Mr. Rizwan Munir, an Ahmadi, was employed in the Holy Family Hospital, a public facility in Rawalpindi. He was incharge of the angiography section. His section was closed for two holidays. When he opened the section on 27 December, 2011 he found it flooded. It seemed that during the holidays the pipe broke down and water accumulated in the room. The departmental inquiry was influenced by his faith. The doctors and ward-boys made statements against him, and the case was referred to the Principal of Medical College Rawalpindi.
Mr. Rizwan has a history of religious prejudice against him. In 2001 he was implicated in a false case and was dismissed from his job. Later the Supreme Court reinstated him. After reinstatement, he was attacked twice. He had to take long leave and earn his living elsewhere. Two years later, he rejoined his governmental job, but again faced the difficulties – primarily for his faith.
Tension in Azad Jammu & Kashmir
Kotli, AJK; June 2011: Dr. Shah Muhammad Javed is the president of the Ahmadiyya community in Kotli. Someone damaged the electric lights of his main gate on June 19 and again on June 27, 2011. Meanwhile a suspect vehicle took rounds of his house twice. This was brought to the notice of the local police who took no action. It is worth noting that Dr. Shah survived an attack on his life two years ago. He also escaped an attempt to kidnap him. Authorities have shown no concern about the threats to his life.
Note: A few months later Dr Javed and his son were kidnapped.
Transfer of an Ahmadi sessions judge
Bahawalpur; July, 2011: Mr. Nadeem Gulzar an Additional Sessions Judge is an Ahmadi. He was transferred to Bahawalpur. Thereafter he started receiving threats to his life from Tahrik-e-Taliban. A letter containing such a threat to his life was also received by the Chief Justice Lahore High Court. His phone calls were being traced and recorded. Consequently he had to be shifted to Lahore in high security.
Pachnand is becoming a flash point
Pachnand, District Chakwal; July 2011: Pachnand in particular and District Chakwal in general has been mentioned in our monthly reports during this year repeatedly. The situation, rather than cooling down, has been allowed to worsen. A letter from Ahmadiyya central office to the relevant authorities is translated below:
Nazarat Umoor E Aama
Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya Rabwah (Pakistan)
Tel: 047-6212459 Fax: 047-6215459 email@example.com
Subject: Anti-Ahmadiyya activities in District Chakwal
I hope you are well and in good health.
For sometime, a provocative and zealous anti-Ahmadiyya campaign has been going on in District Chakwal. In this, a Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat conference was held in Pachnand on May 26, and a campaign to boycott Ahmadis was launched through the press after a meeting of the Anjuman Tajran on July 7. This goes on. Besides that, extracts from the writings of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat are quoted out of context, and thereby common folk are provoked to indulge in violence.
The most dangerous development in this is the fact that a list of Ahmadis’ names along with their addresses is published and provided along with the hateful handouts. The aim is to incite extreme public fury against Ahmadis.
As a result of the above, the Ahmadiyya centre in Pachnand was attacked and fired at on June 16, 2011. An FIR has been registered in Police Station Lawa, District Chakwal under Act No. 9 on June 16, 2011. A campaign to boycott Ahmadis goes on, for no reason. Hate and prejudice is preached in the holy name of religion. There is serious risk of extreme action, consequently.
In fact, Ahmadis have nothing to do with accusations of blasphemy. No Ahmadi can even think of the alleged and supposed defiling beliefs. Ahmadis hold the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the highest esteem, and this is an essential part of Ahmadiyya belief system.
Although most of the decent and sympathetic citizens of Pakistan condemn these nefarious activities, miscreants are busy in harming the country through harmful actions based on religion. They are to some extent supported by the print and the electronic media.
Authorities have been informed in the past of such sensitive activities, but unfortunately no action has been taken against the miscreants. This has prompted them to further attacks against Ahmadis.
As a result of these provocations, 205 Ahmadis have been killed for their faith since the promulgation of the anti-Ahmadi Ordinance in 1984. This still goes on. Numerous other Ahmadis have been targeted in person or through discrimination, and there is no light visible yet at the end of this tunnel.
A few of the provocative leaflets and posters are enclosed for information and appropriate action.
Director Public Affairs
Rabwah (Chenab Nagar) District Chiniot
This copy was released on July 19, 2011.
Subsequent to the above letter, a magistrate of Talah Gang issued notices to 16 each of the Ahmadiyya group and their tormentors and told them to enter a surety bond of Rs. 50,000 each under PPC 107/151 to ensure peace. That is fair administration – Pakistani style.
The incident reminds one of a court verdict in Indonesia where, a judge sentenced, subsequent to brutal murder of three Ahmadis, the three main accused to three to six months’ imprisonment while an injured Ahmadi defendant was recommended to be given 9 months’ imprisonment.
The mullas held a big rally here on May 26, 2011 in the name of ‘end of prophethood’. They used very insulting language against Ahmadi leaders and urged people to undertake violence and implement social boycott of Ahmadis.
In the month of June shots were fired at the Ahmadi prayer leader’s house at the time of Fajr (morning) prayers.
The situation worsened from July onward. A social boycott was in place. Ahmadis were not sold any item at a number of shops. People have been told not to buy anything from Ahmadi shopkeepers. Transporters do not lift Ahmadis, at times.
During the month of August, mullas urged private-school owners to expel Ahmadi children from their schools. They succeeded in obtaining seven such expulsions. They arranged harassment of Ahmadi children in public schools.
They scheduled a Khatme Nabuwwat rally at the Lorry Adda mosque for September 18 and gave it wide publicity. Two mullas, Abdul Rahman Usmani and Pir Abdul Shakoor Naqshbandi were in the forefront of this campaign. These people went to Muslim Colony in Rabwah to participate in the anti-Ahmadiyya rally held there on September 7. On their way back the next day, their car met an accident in which mulla Usmani died at the spot, while a 14 years old son of Pir Naqshbandi expired in the hospital, and the Pir himself had severe injuries.