Administration and Police
A praiseworthy judgment of Supreme Court – revisited on its first anniversary
Last year the Supreme Court came up with a judgment which people called landmark, game changer, historical, etc. It dealt extensively with the issue of minorities. Their lordships provided even a set of directives to implement their verdict. This story, written one year later examines the outcome with particular reference to Ahmadis on whom Pakistani constitution and law imposes the status of non-Muslim religious minority.
(With reference to its relevance to the Ahmadi Community)
Islamabad, Rabwah; June 19, 2015: On June 19, 2014, a Supreme Court bench of three judges, headed by Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Chief Justice, issued a landmark judgment in a case of Suo moto actions concerning some minority communities, however predominantly it was a broad sweep verdict on the rights and status of all minorities. It was clear, well-worded and fairly wholesome, and the worthy judges also issued a set of eight directives, which if obeyed and implemented sincerely and effectively could be game-changers in this field.
Those in attendance included the Attorney General of Pakistan, his deputies, Addl Advocate Generals of the provinces and a few leaders of the affected communities.
The judgment was unanimous.
In a way, this Judgment could be placed in the same league as the renowned speech of the Quaid-e-Azam on 11 August 1947 in the Constituent Assembly. Unfortunately, both met identical reception and handling by the state institutions and the society.
In their Judgment the judges quoted from the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophet, the Quaid-i-Azam, philosophers like John Stuart Mill, Voltaire, and also referred to a judgment of the US Supreme Court. Hardly any intellectual will doubt its learned literary style, although many pessimists would consider it rather theoretical, on the excuse of pragmatism. In fact all its directives are doable if there is a will to implement them.
The Judgment contains a good deal that is quotable. Some of it should be mentioned here, as that will form the basis of our comments and conclusions. The worthy judges wrote down:
- One of the famous Fourteen Points enumerated by Mohammad Ali Jinnah on proposed constitutional changes was that “full religious liberty, i.e. liberty of belief, worship and observance, propaganda, association and education shall be guaranteed to all communities.” Furthermore, “adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the Constitution for minorities in these units and in the regions (of the proposed Pakistan) for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them” as stated in the Resolution adopted by the 27th Annual Session of the AIML (All India Muslim League) at Lahore on 22-24 March 1940, which we now celebrate as Pakistan Day.
- Regardless of the rights and privileges described in para (a) to (e) above (sic; from the Constitution) the right to religious conscience is a right equally granted to all citizens, religious denominations and sects.
- The Supreme Court of Pakistan has invoked International Human Rights norms in numerous cases.
- The right to religious conscience is a fundamental right. It has not been subjected or subordinated to any other provision of the Constitution because it is only subject to law, public order and morality and not to any religious clauses of the Constitution. The very term law, public order and morality has been used in non-religious terms as the notion of law or public order or morality is not reducible to the Islamic meanings of these terms. Therefore Article 20 has a certain preeminence in the Constitution being only subjected to the general restriction of law, public order and morality, which three terms cannot be interpreted or used in such a restrictive way as to curtail the basic essence and meaning of the preeminent right to religious conscience.
- The right to profess and practice is conferred not only on religious communities but also on every citizen. What this means is that every citizen can exercise this right to profess, practice and propagate his religious views even against the prevailing or dominant views of its own religious denomination or sect. In other words, neither the majority religious denominations or sect nor the minority religious denomination or sect can impose its religious will on the citizens.
- The right of religious conscience conferred on every citizen is a right conferring three distinct rights i.e. Right to Profess, Right to Practice and Right to Propagate. What this means is that Article 20 does not merely confer a private right to profess but confers a right to practice both privately and publicly his or her religion. Moreover, it confers the additional right not only to profess and practice his own religion but to have the right to propagate his or her religion to others. It is important to note that this propagation of religion has not been limited to Muslims having the right to propagate their religion but this right is equally conferred on Non-Muslims to propagate their religion to their own community and to other communities…
- …However, the defining feature of a democratic governance is complete dedication and adherence in everyday life to the seminal principles of equity, justice and inclusion of all irrespective of their colour, creed, caste, sex or faith. The sustainability of democracy depends on how best these challenges are met.
- The Judgment quoted the daily Dawn of June 9, 2014: “While not every hateful word can or does lead to violence there is surely more than just a correlation between the amount of hate speech against and the violence suffered by groups such as Ahmadis and other religious minorities.” “It is because of effective state action that despite elaborate textual guarantees for minorities’ rights, empirical realities reflect a mixed bag, rather a dismal state of affairs,” the judges wrote.
- The afore-said report and other incidents of faith ethnic based violence indicate that mere textual pledges in the Constitution, though important are not enough to ensure that these rights would be honoured in practice. It is therefore, important that the concerned governments/institutions take proactive lead to ensure that those rights are respected and enjoyed in practice.
- It requires a strong moral courage for an individual or a nation to apologize for having wronged a community. It is time for us as a nation and as individuals to have a moment of reflection, a moment of soul-searching and perhaps a moment of seeking to ask ourselves; have we lived by the pledges made in the Constitution and by the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of this country who in his first address to the Constituent Assembly on 11.08.1948 (sic) said: “you are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
- For what has been discussed above, we hold, declare and direct:
- The Federal Government should constitute a task force tasked with developing a strategy of religious tolerance;
- The Federal Government should take appropriate steps to ensure that hate speeches in social media are discouraged and the delinquents are brought to justice under law;
- A Special Police Force be established with professional training to protect the places of worship of minorities.
- The office shall open a separate file to be placed before a three Members bench to ensure that this judgment is given effect to in letter and spirit and the said Bench may also entertain complaints/petitions relatable to violations of Fundamental Rights of minorities in the country.
Chief Justice Judge Judge
This verdict of the Supreme Court was the most forthright and elucidatory on the subject of minorities. It was the need of the time, as a host of religious bigots, over the decades, had succeeded in making the issue debatable and controversial. Although the SC added little to the existing requirements of the constitution, the judges cleared all the existing doubts and dilutions. They even issued clearly worded directives to improve the prevailing situation of intolerance and violence in the society. Surely, if this Judgment had been implemented in letter and spirit, the tragedy of the Army Public School in Peshawar could have been averted. But that did not happen.
In a way, the SC judges have done their duty. Their verdict requires promotion of religious and sectarian toleration, discourages hate speech, calls for protection of places of worship and requires prosecution of the delinquents.
Before we proceed further it would be in order to quote an extract from the Judgment to illustrate the mindset of some in important positions in the administration:
“8…For instance the Court was surprised when the learned Additional Advocate General, Sindh on Court enquiry submitted that the desecration of places of worship of minorities was not blasphemous and not an offence under the Pakistan Penal Code. When he was confronted with Section 295 PPC he had nothing to say but to concede that desecration of places of worship of even a non-Muslim is an offence under the PPC.
“9. There is a general lack of awareness about minority rights among the people and those entrusted with enforcement of law are also not fully sensitized to this issue either….”
Now we move on to what happened after this Judgment.
In the famous Aasia Bibi case, the trial court had awarded this Christian woman death penalty for blasphemy. She challenged the verdict in Lahore High Court. In October 2014, four months after the SC Judgment, the LHC bench headed by Justice Anwarul Haq rejected her appeal and upheld the death penalty. The Daily Times reported: “Court dismisses counsel’s argument that trial court awarded sentence despite lack of evidence.”
We are in a position to accurately report here numerous incidents in which members of the Ahmadiyya community were targeted or involved during the past one year. Although a lot happened which would need hundreds of pages to describe in essential detail such events, we can mention here only a few samples, rather briefly, to conserve space and time of the reader.
Also relevant is the mention that the Ahmadiyya community refuses to admit that it is a non-Muslim minority, nevertheless the constitution and the law impose this status on them, so it would not be out of place to look at the experience of the Ahmadiyya community with reference to the Judgment of the Supreme Court.
- Only five weeks after the SC Verdict, on July 27, 2014, mullas precipitated a riot in Gujranwala in which a mob attacked Ahmadi residents of Arafat Colony, looted their homes and properties and then set them on fire. As a result one woman and her two granddaughters including a 7-month old baby were asphyxiated to death. All this happened in the presence of police who acted silent spectators. Ahmadis had to flee from the neighborhood, and for months authorities did little to facilitate their return to their homes. None of the rioters or their leaders was arrested after the mayhem. The Ahmadi youth who was wrongfully accused of blasphemy was arrested
- 8 Ahmadis were murdered for their faith in the past one year. No perpetrator has been traced.
- The bailiff of the district court razed the minarets and the arch (mehrab) of the Ahmadiyya mosque in Pachnand, District Chakwal. Four police vans arrived on May 4, 2015 and blocked the streets leading to the mosque before the policemen and members of the Elite Force set off a one-and-a-half hour raid to demolish and defile the structures.
- A five-man team was sent by the DCO Chiniot to an Ahmadi’s shop ‘Hafeez Battery Centre’ with orders to notice Quranic verses on the shop’s shutters. The same night, at around 9 p.m. two police vans arrived at the shop and the policemen covered the holy verses with black paint. This was done on December 31, 2014.
- Mansur Ahmad was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and Rs. 20,000 fine under Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298-C by Mr. Afzal Majoka, Magistrate in Mankeera, District Bhakkar. Mr. Ahmad was thereafter detained by the police and sent to prison. It is relevant to mention that the primary witnesses of the prosecution decided not to show up in the trial. The complainant mulla whose word was accepted by the magistrate was not an eye-witness to the incident.
- Khuda Abad, District Badin: A case was registered in Police Station Tando Bhago against five Ahmadis, Mr. Muhammad Idrees Gurgaiz, Mr. Muhammad Abbas Gurgaiz, Mr. Muhammad Khan Gurgaiz, Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Gurgaiz and the local Ahmadi missionary with FIR No. 96/14 under PPC 298-C on July 24, 2014.
The case was registered by the police on the call of the press secretary of JUI (a politico-religious party) Muhammad Ramzan. Ramzan claimed that Ahmadis consider their place of worship a mosque; they say Azan to call worshippers to prayers; they teach the Holy Quran there, etc. According to this accuser, he went to the Ahmadiyya mosque and saw the accused offering prayers therein; thereafter the missionary made a speech wherein he invited Muslims to join them and avail many facilities and assistance – rubbish, of course.
Khuda Abad is located in the province whose Addl Advocate General’s connaissance of human rights was noticed and commented upon by the SC Judges (quoted earlier).
- Six Ahmadis were arrested in religion-based case in Chak 109/GB District Faisalabad; April 20, 2015. The construction work of local Ahmadiyya mosque remained interrupted for the last two years due to police intervention. There was no boundary wall on one side of the mosque, which became a serious security concern. The local Ahmadiyya community decided to build the wall to make the mosque safe. When 80% work was complete, the opponents called the police to the site, who stopped the work. The police took away Mr. Abdul Rauf, the president of the local Ahmadiyya community and another official, Mr. Ikram for interrogation.
On April 20, 2015 a gang of 20 men of the majority sect came to the mosque on motorcycles, indulged in intensive firing in the air, demolished the newly constructed wall and fled. Ahmadis telephoned 15 and called the police. The police called both the parties to the police station. After negotiations, at about 10 p.m. the police arrested five Ahmadis who had gone there to negotiate. These were Mr. Rafiq Kahlon, Mr. Abdul Rauf, Mr. Bilal Ahmad, Mr. Luqman Ajmal and Mr. Masood Ahmad. The police did not allow other Ahmadis to meet them. The police then raided the house of another Ahmadi, Mr. Ikram and arrested him too.
Thereafter the police registered an FIR against 13 nominated and 10 unknown Barelvis and the six Ahmadis mentioned above and five unnamed, under CrPC 148, 149, 324/337-H, 7-ATA and 16-MPO. Justice a la Punjab Police!
- Since the SC Judgment, 18 Ahmadis have been booked in 5 cases under the anti-Ahmadi laws, religious laws and religion-based accusations, some of which carry upto 10 years’ imprisonment sentence. Imagine the plight of the victims. These cases are similar to the two mentioned above.
- Hateful rallies in Rabwah, the Ahmadiyya Community centre in Pakistan. Despite the Supreme Court verdict, the Punjab administration allowed rabidly anti-Ahmadi mullas to hold a rally on 23, 24 October 2014 in Rabwah where 95% of the population is Ahmadi. The clerics transported their audience to Rabwah from other towns and cities.
According to one reporter, the speakers said: “Qadianis are a deceitful lot; they spread their falsehood all over the world through the internet. Qadiani is an accursed group. Mirza Qadiani was a false prophet; he claimed at times to be Masihe Mauood, at others Mehdi Mauood. Qadianis are agents of Jews and Christians. They are fully supported by Britain, America and Israel. They are gradually strengthening their roots in other countries. If they are not smashed up today, they will overpower the Muslims.”
In addition, the speakers asserted: “Islamic system should be imposed in the country. Boycott all products of Mirzais. Qadianis are traitors of the Constitution and the country, hence they were declared apostates on 7th September 1974. A blasphemer and claimer of Prophethood deserves death penalty.”
The mullas availed the occasion to peddle their national and international political ware. They said the following which is translated from their own press release published in the dailies Khabrain, Lahore of October 24, 2014 and ‘Pakistan’ of October 25, 2014, inter alia:
- The acquittal of Mumtaz Qadri, the lover of the Prophet, (the one who assassinated Governor Taseer) is the demand of the whole nation. No one will be allowed to blaspheme against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the name of human rights and freedom of religion.
- Qadianis should be fired from the interior ministry, railways, CBR, embassies and also from the armed forces for their denial of Jihad.
- Muslims, despite all their faults, are ready to die for the honour of Prophethood and consider it rewarding here and in the Hereafter.
- Some Qadianis and secular staff on certain TV channels are giving exposure to liberal religious scholars who use European terms and make Islamic beliefs and settled issues controversial so as to lower the esteem of the Ulama Karam, religious seminaries and Islamic traditions among the youth and the new generation.
- Qadianis places of worship in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and especially Chenab Nagar should be cleared of Israeli and foreign weaponry.
The resolution passed in the conference included the following, inter alia:
- Punishment for apostasy (i.e. death) should be implemented in accordance with the recommendations of Council of Islamic Ideology.
- Qadiani hand in the terrorism/deaths in the country may not be taken lightly. Wherever there is religious terrorism, Qadiani leadership should be questioned in the enquiry; several blind cases would thereby get traced.
- Eye-witness account of the 33rd Annual Khatme Nabuwwat Conference. We produce here translation of statements made by the participant mullas and reproduced by Naeem in his article published in the daily Insaf on November 2, 2014, inter alia:
- Maulana Rashad Madni of Tando Adam said that Qadianis educate their youth in their educational institutions to murder those who are not followers of Mirza Qadiani; they instigate their youth to kill Muslims.
- Sahibzada Mubashir Mahmood Tariq stated that deniers of the end of prophethood and blasphemers against the prophet (Ahmadis) are a product of night clubs…. He further said “It is a sign of faith (Iman) and a call of religious ardour and honour to bear hostility and express hatred against blasphemers of the Prophet.”
- Maulana Noor Muhammad Hazarvi said, “Extremist Qadianis, rather than accepting their minority status under the constitution, are acting like ‘insurgents at war’.”
- Qadianis, through clandestine employment in the nuclear establishment are secretly and quietly busy in dreadful conspiracies against national security.
- The Foreign Ministry should locate, through diplomatic sources, Pakistani Qadianis in various Saudi Arabian cities, who are busy in conspiracies against the sanctity of the two Holy Shrines (Hermain Sharifain).
- Maulana Abdul Shakoor Haqqani said, “Die-hard Qadianis occupying key posts, paid from state treasury are providing shelter to Qadianis. Through unity and solidarity we must nourish the campaign to protect the honour of Prophethood (Namus Risalat).”
If the above is not violation of country’s law PPC 153-A, what else is? It seems the Addl. Advocate General Punjab is not aware of it, as no action was taken against these mullas. A similar conference was held earlier in Rabwah on 7 September 2014. Early in 2015, after APS Peshawar tragedy, National Action Plan was implemented which essentially supported all that the Judgment had ordained, still only a fortnight later the authorities allowed the mullas to hold a number of very hostile anti-Ahmadi rallies in Rabwah on January 4, 2015. The clerics were reported by the media to have said:
This mission will continue until the liquidation of the deniers of the Khatme Nabuwwat: Maulana Zahid ur Rashidi
The daily Islam; Lahore, January 8, 2015
Mirza Qadiani was not only a liar but also the Great Deceiver: Maulana Mufti Muhammad Zahid
The daily Islam; Lahore, January 8, 2015
The imperialist America and its allies have crossed the limit in transgression against Muslims; the Qadiani group is part of them attacking the beliefs of Muslims: Syed Muhammad Kafil Bukhari
The daily Pakistan; Lahore, January 16, 2015
Several resolutions were made in the rally and published in the daily Aman of Faisalabad, January 07, 2015. Translation of some of these follows:
- The blasphemers should be given death punishment.
- Mumtaz Qadri (the murderer of Governor Salman Taseer) should be set free.
- A record of all persons attached with Qadiani (educational) institutes in Chenab Nagar and all over the country should be checked.
- Qadianis should be stopped from using the Kalima and other Islamic epithets.
- Qadianis should be removed from key posts in civil services and in the armed forces, as also from the foreign service.
- Qadiani conspiracies are on the increase in the country; these should be stopped as these are responsible for the political instability.
- The activities of blasphemers and apostates are on the increase as a result of dual policy of the government.
Rabwah is not the only place where such anti-Ahmadiyya conferences are held. Below we mention some of the locations where anti-Ahmadi rallies were held in the Punjab in just one month (April):
Date Location Sponsor
2 April Chichawatni Khatme Nabuwwat Organization
4 April Narowal Khatme Nabuwwat Organization
4 April Qasur Khatme Nabuwwat Organization
7 April Lahore Markaz Khatme Nabuwwat
12 April Toba Tek Singh Khatme Nabuwwat Organization
16 April Lahore Jamia Ashrafia
18 April Hafizabad Khatme Nabuwwat Organization
18 April Qasur Khatme Nabuwwat Organization
21 April Faisalabad U/C 205 JUI
22 April Qasur Jamia Rahimia
24 April Jhang Sadar IKNM
26 April New Muslim Town, LHR Ahrar
26 April Lahore Ulema/Madinah Conference
26 April Chenab Nagar Jamia Islamia
26 April Nankana Sahib Khatme Nabuwwat Organization
29 April Lahore AMTKN
30 April Faisalabad Jamia Usmania
Hateful sectarian propaganda is extensively done and reported in the press. The authorities show no concern with the Supreme Court Judgment that exhorts federal and provincial governments to curb intolerant hateful rhetoric. Here are a few samples:
Qadianis are traitors of the constitution. They should be decimated in every field: I.K.N. Conference
The daily Insaf; Lahore, October 12, 2014
Disclosure: Qadianis burn alive those who convert to Islam. In 2011, Ahmad, Nadeem and Hafeez were burnt alive.
The daily Insaf; Lahore, September 9, 2014
Qadianis are opposed to Jihad; they are enemies of Islam and Pakistan.
The daily Insaf; Lahore, September 13, 2014
7 September is a day of humiliation and ignominy for the deniers of Khatme Nabuwwat (Qadianis): (Mulla) Zahid Qasimi (on state payroll)
The daily Jang; Lahore, September 4, 2014
Chenab Nagar will not be accepted as another Israel: (Mulla) Shabbir Usmani
The daily Ausaf; Lahore, August 9, 2014
Qadianis are involved in murders of Ulama Karam: Qari Mushtaq
The assassins of Dr Khalid Soomro should be arrested and punished immediately.
The daily Al-Sharaq; Lahore, December 4, 2014
All schools of thought should make united efforts to break the skull of the Qadiani mischief: Khatme Nabuwwat Movement
The daily Jinnah; Lahore, December 4, 2014
Qadianiat is the worst evil (fitna) in the world: Maulana Abdul Hafiz Makki (IKNM)
The daily Islam; Lahore, January10, 2015
Appointment of Qadianis consuls: Protest by Khatme Nabuwwat Movement
How can Qadiani consuls represent the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? Statement released to the media
The daily Islam; Lahore, February 12, 2015
Convert or face consequences, Ahmadis told (in KN conference in Lahore)
The daily Pakistan; Lahore, February 28, 2015
Qadianis are snakes up the sleeve and deadly poison against the Muslim Ummah: Qari Abdul Waheed Qasmi (of AMKN, Islamabad)
The daily Ausaf; Lahore, March 14, 2015
The above are only samples. The vernacular press last year, according to the account kept by the Ahmadiyya central office, published approximately 2000 news stories and hate material or news based on bias and hatred of Ahmadiyyat. Some of these openly contained grave threats.
To this, Ahmadiyya response is as in the Al-Quran: “And if they contend with thee, say, Allah knows best what you do. Allah will judge between you (and me) on the Day of Resurrection concerning that about which you differ.” (Al-Hajj 69, 70)
- Electronic media joined in the evil campaign. Broadcaster Aamir Liaqat Hussain brazenly produced a TV program and GEO TV telecast it on December 22, 2014, in which a mulla Arif Owaisi called Ahmadis ‘joint enemy of all Muslims and Pakistan’. The mulla stated that Ahmadis, Jews and the U.S. were behind the Peshawar massacre. Aamir Liaqat supported this rubbish and led the spectators in applause. Sure enough, within 5 days an Ahmadi was killed in District Gujranwala.
Ahmadis appealed to PEMRA for action against the telecaster and the GEO. The PEMRA council found the accused guilty, but found a ‘censure’ sufficient as penalty.
- The hate campaign is not restricted to rallies and the media. It is taken unabashedly to the Bazaar where Bazaaris display the hateful posters on their shops – and the authorities simply take no notice. For example:
- The authorities continued to provide all the facilities to religious bigots to indulge in their hateful drive. In evidence, we produce picture of such a conference held in state-managed Aiwan-i-Iqbal in Lahore on February 26, 2015. The facility was provided to religious extremists who in turn are half-brothers of terrorists.
In the conference Mulla Ilyas Chinioti (PML-N MPA) thundered, “Then they (Qadianis) must give up their faith and become Muslims, or face consequences.” Ameer Hamza said, “One of the reasons why they (Jihadists) wanted to wage Jihad against India was to demolish the graves of Mirzai leaders in Qadian.”
- Last but surely not the least, the Government of the Punjab committed an outrageous act of persecution against the marginalized Ahmadiyya community on May 8, 2015 when it proscribed all the 23 volumes of the written and spoken words of the founder of the community. It admittedly took this action on the direction of the Mutahiddah (Joint) Ulama Board. In addition, a book ‘Tazkarah’ was also proscribed. This book contains all the dreams, visions and revelations of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. In addition, the authorities banned Ahmadiyya daily and monthly periodicals Khalid, Ansarullah and Tehrik Jadeed. These books include the one in which the Founder of the community firmly stated that terrorism was not justified in Islam on any ground and also this was no time and there was no justification to undertake violent jihad; ‘the jihad of purifying your soul must continue’, he wrote – and the Government of Punjab banned this edict that promoted peace and piety.
While closing this brief study, it may be mentioned that this Supreme Court Judgment received major support in the form of National Action Plan that came into being in December 2014, through broad political consensus after the APS Peshawar massacre. However, Chief Justice Jillani has retired. The federation and the Punjab are ruled by Mian brothers. General Raheel Sharif is busy in operation Zarb e Azb in North Waziristan.
There is no shortage of good words and rhetoric in support of plans and directives. However there is an obvious lack of will and commitment to do the needful. Pakistani civil society and establishment, largely well meaning, seem unwilling and unable to act decisively and with a spirit of sacrifice. One can only pity a people who have lost the capability of paying due attention to wise counsel and dictates of its high judiciary.
To conclude, we quote an apt story from the book: I am Malala:
One day my father asked, “Malala, can you sing us some Pashto tapey?” I sang a verse we liked: “When you start your journey from the end of a snake’s tail. You end up on its head in an ocean of poison.”
YOUSAFZAI, Malala, I am Malala; p.249
One face of Counter Terrorism Department in the Punjab
Arrest of good old Mr. Shakoor Bhai; imprisoned for (5+3) eight years
Police raided the only book-depot in Rabwah bazaar. Septuagenarian proprietor and a shop assistant arrested under terrorism law. Books, magazines, money in till, business stamp etc. confiscated. Expeditious trial held in Anti-terrorism court and harsh punishments awarded.
Rabwah; December 2, 2015: Officials of Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) accompanied by a contingent of the Elite Force raided Shakoor Bhai’s book shop, arrested Mr. Abdul Shakoor aka Shakoor Bhai and Mr. Mazhar Abbas shop assistant, a Shia, and drove them off to an unknown location. They took away some books and magazines, the cash and some prize bonds. They photographed the interior and the exterior of the book depot extensively. They paid for some periodicals, obtained a voucher, had it stamped and took away the stamp with them. It seems they never came across a softer, milder and a more peaceful terror suspect. They wasted the time and expense of the accompanying Elite Force.
A month later, an ATC judge, Raja Pervez Akhtar, after a speedy trial, sentenced Mr. Abdul Shakoor to 5 years’ imprisonment under 11-W ATA and 3 years under the anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298-C, and Rs 150,000 fine.
The books they took away included translated copies of the Holy Quran, a short commentary written by Khalifa tul Masih II of the Quran, Tazkarah tul Mehdi (Biography of the Founder of Ahmadiyyat), a special edition of the daily Alfazl, the monthly Misbah (Ahmadi women’s magazine) etc.
Most of the above material was banned by a sweeping order of the Punjab Government issued in August 2015. The order was issued on dictation of the Mutahiddah Ulama Board; any serious inquiry would show that it was malafide and a serious violation of Ahmadis’ basic and essential freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution.
This raid and arrests made by CTD were definitely counter to the basic declared policy objective of the creation of this department and the intent of the National Action Plan. Ahmadis will be happy if a high-level judicial commission (or committee) could examine the contents of the confiscated copies of the daily Alfazl and the monthly Misbah and dig deep to locate even a single entry in support of terrorism. And how Ahmadiyya translations of the Holy Quran could be ‘fit for banning’, by the Ulama Board, while these mullas and their peers and elders have been blaming Ahmadis for more than a century of ‘abrogation of Jihad’. Banning translations of the Quran to Ahmadis would be somewhat like banning the Bible to Jehova’s Witnesses in Europe or North America or the Book of Mormon in the state of Utah. Absurd – absolutely.
Here, one is reminded of the anti-Terrorism laws promulgated in 1990s. These laws were frequently used thereafter to prosecute Ahmadis who for the past 30 years are the most terrorized community in Pakistan.
Mr. Shakoor is a senior citizen – 78 year old. He is an optician in addition to being a book-seller. He is one of the most decent shop-keepers in the bazaar, so he is very popular even among his non-Ahmadi clients. Villagers from the suburbs of Rabwah make it a point to come to him for their glasses at low price, even free if a customer is poor or asks for a pair. His shop-assistant, arrested with him, is a non-Ahmadi. Surely, if Mr. Shakoor, an Ahmadi, was selling books that were provocative or highly objectionable to ‘Muslims’ Mr. Abbas would not be assisting him with sale of these books.
The case Investigation Officer behaved as if he had hit a bonanza. His endeavor was to broaden the easy investigation to implicate many others e.g. the authors etc. – some of them are dead since long.
Pakistani state claims to be involved in its ‘war on terror’. This raid involved the personnel of CTD, the Elite Force, the police personnel and required the time and effort of state prosecutors and magistrates and judges for weeks, even months – all this to hurt Shakoor Bhai, an innocent elder who would not consider harming a lamb; he himself being one.
|78-year old Mr. Abdul Shakoor, the book-seller being hustled by counter-terrorism personnel|
If the provincial and federal authorities are really serious about war on terror and over implementation of the National Action Plan, they will have to face harder adversaries than harmless Shakoor Bhai who earns his bread peacefully and honestly in the open bazaar of Rabwah in broad daylight.
The above is not opinion of a hurt partisan; the daily Mashriq, Lahore reported the opinion of Supreme Court judges in the following headlines, on July 4, 2015:
There is hardly any progress in implementation of the National Action Plan (Takay ka bhi kam nahin ho rahaa): Supreme Court
National Action Plan was a trick played upon people. It has become a joke: Justice Khawaja
NAP required a stop to funds for terrorists, but (such) NGOs are still being funded locally and from abroad. If you are unable to implement the NAP, accept that it was a paper exercise.
Provincial governments are in the same league in incompetence and incapability (ghair mustaidi): Justice Azmat Saeed
Now that the sentences have been announced by the Anti-Terrorism Court (the shop assistant was also sentenced 5 years’ imprisonment) it is for consideration that the two most harmless individuals have been put behind bars for years, while the government finds no case against mulla Abdul Aziz of the Lal Masjid, even to book him. The Supreme Court is perhaps right that the War on Terror is a joke and a trick played upon people.
Following is also noteworthy:
- The ATC judge in his Judgment used the pejorative term Qadiani for Mr. Abdul Shakoor, rather than Ahmadi.
- Shakoor has never been involved in any criminal case other than fabricated anti-Ahmadi and religion-based cases in the past. This shows his character and conduct.
- The judge noted in his judgment, right at the start that Mr. Shakoor was 78 years old. Despite his age and meticulous life-long conduct, he sentenced him to maximum imprisonment sentence under the anti-Ahmadiyya law and chose it to be ‘rigorous imprisonment’. Mazhar, the Shia also had a clean slate, and was helping with sale of books that denounce terrorism; still he was awarded 5 years’ imprisonment sentence under the Anti-terrorism Act.
- The main factor in this case was the highly unjustifiable and baseless ‘banning orders’ of the government of the Punjab and its unsupportable pursuit of those unworthy orders, in the fair name of counter-terrorism; this did not draw the attention of the prosecution nor the judge.
It should be reasserted for the benefit of the concerned authorities that Jamaat Ahmadiyya, despite the maltreatment it received from the state and the society in Pakistan, has not undertaken even a single act that could be called terrorist, in the last four decades.
Gulshan Ravi, Lahore: It would be recalled that in April 2013 mullas aided by the police raided an Ahmadiyya centre here. They carried out this operation jointly, like a team. Ahmadis were arrested, including a woman and a child. Eventually eight Ahmadi men were charged under the blasphemy clause PPC 295-B and an anti-terrorism clause, ATA 11-W – most wrongfully.
The trial went on for a year. Eventually a good and fair judge acquitted all the accused.
After the raid, the centre which was also used as residence was sealed by the police. Thus the resident’s car and personal belongings remained locked and were not available to the owner. These were eventually released and the location was rented out (to a non-Ahmadi). The clerics and ill-wishers did not like that and started an agitation that the released building would again be used as a centre. The police sent for both the parties and made the Ahmadis sign an undertaking that the location would not be used as a ‘centre’.
A terrorizing pamphlet
Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat Peshawar has issued a pamphlet in print and on social media. It names Ahmadi doctors of Peshawar and calls their murder ‘Jihad’. Extracts from the pamphlet are translated below:
“This infidel cobra of the false prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani continues to swallow the faith of the new generation. How can a Muslim remain calm by shutting his eyes and sealing his lips from these soul-tormenting heretic creeds and crimes?
“Who will rein in the out-of-control tongue of Qadianiyat?
“O Muslim brethren! Today there are some people in our ranks whose identification is necessary as they are misguiding you. They are trying to destroy your faith through fake healing. In reality, their punishment is death. It is Jihad to shoot such people in the open.
“They (the listed doctors) and their Qadiani infidel ilk are actively preaching their despicable heretic creeds under the cover of virtuous profession of medical treatment. They are corrupting the faith of our new generation – day and night. O Muslim brethren! Wake up to your obligations.
“Try your level best to come under the savior flag of the Prophet (PBUH) by completely boycotting them and their products.”
The pamphlet also states that “The Qadiani Shezan and the Bazeed Khaily doctor are in the forefront in supporting the Qadiani mischief financially. Every Muslim who drinks, buys or sells Shezan or gets treatment from the Bazeed Khaily doctor is rebelling against Islam and the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam.”
The pamphlet further warns: “Consider O Muslim! If death came to you while drinking Shezan or availing treatment from the Bazeed Khaily doctor, then what will be the consequences? How will you ask for salvation from Allah’s Prophet (PBUH)?”
The pamphlet provides the addresses of the named Ahmadi doctors and some Ahmadiyya businesses. At the end, the pamphlet gives the following details of the issuing organization:
Library Aalami Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat Aasia Gate Peshawar, 0315-59206165
News and Publication Department Aalami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat Peshawar
International Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat Masjid Qasim Ali Khan Peshawar, 0333-9347034
This pamphlet raises the question of the level of commitment of the state and the KPK province to anti-terrorism measures as laid down in the National Action Plan.
The pamphlet was reported to the law enforcement agencies in Peshawar.
Peshawar, KPK: Call in a pamphlet to kill Ahmadi doctors; (translation followed)
Peshawar, KPK: Call in a pamphlet to kill Ahmadi doctors (translation)
O Muslim brethren, the slaves of the King of Medina the Khatam an Nabiyeen, Shafi ul Muzannbeen Hazrat Muhammad, the Arab (peace be upon him) – Has your sense of shame for Faith gone dormant?
This infidel cobra of the false Prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani continues to swallow the faith of the new generation. How can a Muslim remain calm by shutting his eyes and sealing his lips over these soul-tormenting heretic creeds and crimes?
Who will rein in the out-of-control tongue of Qadianiyat?
O Muslim brethren! Today there are some people in our ranks whose identification is necessary as they are misguiding you. They are trying to destroy your faiths through fake healing. In reality, their punishment is death. It is Jihad to shoot such people in the open.
|o Dr Muhammad Ali (Qadiani infidel) Kabir Medical College
o Dr Munir Ahmad Abbasi (Qadiani infidel) Sikandarpura Peshawar
o Dr Abrar Ahmad (Qadiani infidel) Khair ul Naas Welfare Trust
o Dr Mansoor (Qadiani infidel) Mansoor polyclinic Bazeed Khaily
o Dr Rashid Mateen (Qadiani infidel) Doctor Qadiani Clinic Bazeed
Khaily Doctor Peshawar
o Dr Binyameen (Qadiani infidel) Doctor Qadiani Clinic Bazeed
Khaily Doctor Peshawar
o Dr Hamid (Qadiani infidel) Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar
o Dr Saleema Qadiani infidel Afghan Colony
o Dr Tahira Qadiani infidel Wapda Colony Peshawar
They (the listed doctors) and their Qadiani infidel ilk are actively preaching their despicable heretic creeds under the cover of virtuous profession of medical treatment. They are corrupting the faith of our new generation – day and night. O Muslim brethren! Wake up to your obligations.
Try your level best to come under the savior flag of the Prophet (PBUH) by completely boycotting them and their products.
Guarding the End of Prophethood and the Muhammadan Intercession (PBUH)
If you need Muhammad, the Arab’s intercession (peace be upon him) on the Doom’s Day and if you would like a place under his (PBUH) flag, you will have to work for Safeguarding the End of Prophethood, and will have to confront the clique of Mirza Ghulam Muhammad (sic) Qadiani. Are you prepared for that? (Saying of the Sage of the Age, Martyr of Islam Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Ludhianwi RA)
Quranic verses effaced
Chiniot; December 31, 2014: Mr. Hafeez Ahmad owns a shop “Hafeez Battery Centre” at the bus-stand in Chiniot. On December 31, 2014, five men came to his shop and asked the staff if the owner was an Ahmadi and lived in Rabwah. The visitors said, “There are Quranic verses written on the shutter of your shop; remove them.” They also took pictures of the interior and exterior of the shop. The shop’s workers asked them about their identity, to which they replied, “We are men of the DCO Chiniot, and we have orders to erase Quranic verses from this shop’s shutter.”
The Quranic verses were written by two battery companies on their posters. These posters are pasted at their outlets for publicity. On the same night, at around 9 p.m. two police vans arrived at the shop. They took the pictures of the displayed Quranic verses, and covered them with black paint.
Had anyone else done that, he would have been accused of desecration and blasphemy.
Security ‘raid’ on Jamia Ahmadiyya, Rabwah
Rabwah; August 8, 2015: A heavy contingent of security personnel carried out a search operation in the Jamia Ahmadiyya, Senior and Junior Campuses, and according to the daily Din declared both the institutions as ‘CLEAR’.
According to press reports, security agencies had carried out raids on numerous madrassahs in and around Chiniot and had detained some staff and students for interrogation. The mullas got agitated over it and called on the RPO Faisalabad to carry out similar search operation against Ahmadiyya Jamia. It is of interest to mention that neither the mulla nor the authorities accept Ahmadiyya Jamia in the category of ‘madrassah’ as the word carries Islamic connotation. Also, the intelligence agencies have never shown any reservations on what goes on or is taught in Ahmadiyya institutions – and rightly too.
A contingent comprising approximately 100 personnel raided the Jamia. They were there for over an hour. The Jamia administration extended them all assistance and courtesy, both in the teaching blocks as well as the hostels.
A press report on progress of the National Action Plan (NAP)
Islamabad: April 11, 2015: Epaper.dawn published this press report in its release email@example.com? Story Text=11-04-2015-001-003, (extract):
Commanders want anti-terror fight ‘re-energized’
By Baqir Sajjad Syed
ISLAMABAD: Acknowledging that the National Action Plan (NAP) on counter-terrorism was not progressing well, the army’s top brass on Friday called for ‘re-energizing’ the fight.
The progress on NAP was reviewed at the 181st Corps Commanders Conference.
Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, who chaired the monthly meeting of the commanders, was quoted by ISPR as having emphasized on “re-energizing the National Action Plan in true letter and spirit and achieving discernible results”.
The 20-point NAP was adopted after the Dec 16 Peshawar school attack and it envisaged stringent action against terrorism and militancy. However, four months later disenchantment among the public with the sluggish pace of progress is rising.
The army has so far looked to be in the driving seat for the implementation of the NAP and has borne much of the criticism about the lackluster NAP implementation.
Gen Sharif’s clarion call for stepping up the fight is, however, directed towards the steps that the civilian administration was required to take.
Gen Raheel Sharif particularly called for taking action against growing extremism in the society alongside the fight against terrorism.
ISPR said: “COAS emphasized the need to concentrate on combating extremism from the society.”
The army is reportedly dissatisfied with the lack of movement on the issue of madrasah reforms, proscribed organizations and sectarian groups; foreign funding of the seminaries; and action against hate speech.
Intensification of intelligence-based operations was also stressed at the meeting….
Commendable state actions give rise to some questions
Lahore: The Interior Department of the government of the Punjab paid for a large size advertisement in the daily Nawa-i-Waqt of October 16, 2015 and set forth the following:Commendable state actions give rise to some questions
In order to ensure the sanctity of and religious tolerance during Muharram,
The management/owners of any place of worship will suffer registration of an FIR in case of any hateful speech or threat to peace.
Under the National Action Plan, following has been implemented to put an end to religious intolerance and sectarianism:
- 1063 persons have been punished for making religious hate speeches on loud speakers.
- 282 persons have been punished for propagating violence through wall-chalking.
- 437 have been punished for threatening peace through display of fire-arms.
Hateful speeches, publishing and distribution of provocative material and display of fire-arms will not be tolerated at all.
In case of any unpleasant occurrence or its likelihood, contact 15 immediately.
Control room, Interior Department: #042-99210301
Respect for Muharram is incumbent on all of us.
Interior Department, Government of the Punjab
The question arises as to why the authorities are not equally sensitive to situations or possibilities of threat to peace to other sects and denominations? Why the same clerics who are banned entry in various districts or are gagged during Muharram are given license to come to Rabwah to indulge openly in hateful propaganda and incitement to violence on loudspeakers? The law should be equally applicable to all, in all circumstances, regardless of who the victims are. A permissive attitude to clerics in anti-Ahmadi situations encourages them to demand the same treatment and facility against other denominations. That is how the society is eventually made to suffer attacks like those in Peshawar, Gojra, Lahore etc, and pay a price of tens of thousands of deaths in religion-based violence.