The Gujranwala riot
Gujranwala (Punjab); July 27, 2014: Ms. BushraBibi and her two granddaughters, aged 8 years and 7 months, died when extremists set fire to Ahmadi homes in Gujranwala whilst local police stood by and watched.
Further, Ms. Mubashara, who was 7-month pregnant, suffered a miscarriage on account of exposure to heat, suffocation and shock of the violence.
Eight others, mostly women and children, were treated for burns, asphyxiation, etc; a few were injured severely.
Anti-Ahmadi extremists led by mullas attacked Ahmadi homes on the false pretext that an Ahmadi youth had defaced a picture of the Sacred Mosque in Makkah on the Facebook. The clerics made announcements on sound amplifiers in mosques to gather hundreds of goons against the peace-loving innocent Ahmadis.
The violent mob attacked Ahmadis’ homes and shops, ransacked and looted them, and set them on fire after spraying them with petrol. Nearly half of the homes in this neighborhood were gutted. The perpetrators of these crimes were seen dancing (Bhangra) on TV screen on this occasion. They also started a fire in the Ahmadiyya prayer-centre in this neighborhood.
In one home, Ahmadis, unable to flee, took refuge on the first floor. The religious thugs entered the house, went up, locked the family and lit fire from outside the room. This resulted in death of three persons and serious injuries to many others trapped inside.
Initially anti-Ahmadi elements accused the Ahmadi youth of blasphemy; it was rebutted. This resulted in an argument and a petty quarrel. However, soon thereafter, mullas took the lead, assembled an agitated crowd and the attack started at about 8:30 p.m. The lynch mob that numbered in hundreds dispersed well after midnight. The police were present at the site but took no effective action to block or stop the riot.
mob watching the blaze.
It is said that the chief minister subsequently told the administration to take notice of the situation. However, the administration officials at that time were present at the site, and the police had granted laissez faire to the mob. The policemen could be seen in perfect harmony and peace among the rabble. It was the same chief minister in 2010 who had not the courtesy to offer condolences and sympathy to Ahmadis over the death of 86 worshippers who were killed in a simultaneous attack in two Ahmadi mosques in his provincial capital.
Fire brigade and ambulances arrived but were not allowed to perform by the mob. The police did not help them either, as also they did not stop the looters from indulging in plunder and arson.
All this happened in the holy month of Ramadan in which Muslims are expected to be helpful, kind and tolerant. Also, it was only one day before the festival of Eid, and death and destruction was the ‘gift’ offered to Ahmadis by the mullas and the administration. There is good reason to believe that the shocking riot was pre-planned. Gujranwala-based DeobandimullaZahid-ur-Rashidi is one of the top clerics in the policy and planning team of the rabidly anti-AhmadiyyaKhatmeNabuwwatorganisation. He runs a madrassah in Gujranwala, and on July 31, 2014 he openly chaired a meeting of approximately 200 mullas (including some Shia ulama) over this issue, where a set of demands was agreed upon for presentation to the police.
The police registered a case under Anti-terrorism clause ATA 11-W and PPC 324, 295-A, a blasphemy clause, against Mr. AqibSaleem and Mr. Atiq Ahmad, the accused Ahmadi youths, in FIR 553/14 in Police Station Peoples Colony, Gujranwala on July 28, 2014. If declared guilty, they could be imprisoned for 10 years.
This neighborhood has a sizeable presence of the Shia community; they extended little help to Ahmadis in their plight, in fact they supported the gang leaders and the mob action.
Encouraged by the inaction of authorities, a mulla of a local mosque later took pledge on loudspeakers from his flock during the Eid congregation that they would deliver even worse to other Ahmadis (elsewhere).
As for the accusation, the Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya community said, “It has been falsely claimed that this attack was provoked by a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This allegation is completely untrue and without any foundation whatsoever. If those who perpetrated this attack truly felt that one person had provoked them then they should have sought his arrest, but instead they chose to burn alive an elderly lady and her two granddaughters. In truth this was an entirely unprovoked assault on all forms of human decency….”
The role of the media on this occasion deserves a mention. The TV channels that are very prompt in ‘Breaking News’ of even non-events were shy of reporting this event that was reported by foreign media too. Some local channels initially reported it as a clash between two groups. Some insinuated that the mob reacted in response to firing from the other party. Hardly anyone mentioned that Ahmadis were the target of this shocking and devastating attack. The Urdu press conserved its space in reporting this outrage against Ahmadis. The English press, however, took due notice and the dailies Dawn, Daily Times, The Express Tribune, Pakistan Today and The News reported the story adequately and commented fairly.
Political leaders took notice of the barbarity of the attack and expressed condemnation, but only in the social media; the politically bold MQM issued a statement conveying sympathy for the victims; it was run on TV tape. The ruling PML-N however decided to be careful in due condemnation of the extremist and sectarian bigots.
Some twitter messages in the social media were hateful. “Ahmadis deserved what they got,” someone tweeted. Others insisted that they deserve death (Wajib-ul-Qatl). There were, of course, many comments in support of the victims.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slammed Ahmadis’ killings in Gujranwala and expressed ‘shock’ and ‘disgust’ over the violence that ‘represents brutalization and barbarism stooping to new lows’.
The Ahmadi population of the affected neighborhood, scores of them, had to flee from their homes and take refuge in towns where they could find some security. Their livelihood and daily lives have been very badly affected. Their dead could not be buried in Gujranwala; their coffins had to be transported to Rabwah for interment. Their return to their homes is yet to be facilitated by the authorities.
Gujranwala is the city where more Ahmadis than the total of all in other cities in Pakistan were killed in anti-Ahmadi riots in 1974. The present attack was styled somewhat on Gojra lines where 7 Christians were burnt alive by a vicious mob sometimes ago. Gojra is also located in the Punjab province.
Mr. SaleemUd Din, the Ahmadiyya spokesperson, demanded an immediate, impartial and transparent inquiry and due punishment to the involved culprits.
Ulama assume charge to defend the attackers. The daily Express, Lahore of August 8, 2014 reported that the Joint KhatmeNabuwwat Movement Coordination Committee demanded that the authorities take most serious notice of the defiling of the picture of the Ka‘ba in Makkah and the guilty be befittingly punished. A joint meeting was held under the chairmanship of (mulla) Zahid-ur-Rashidi of Gujranwala, and was attended by UlamaKaram and leaders of many politico-religious parties.
It appears that these blood-thirsty clerics were not content with the mulla-led havoc caused and imposed on vulnerable Ahmadis on July 27, and decided unabashedly to maintain an aggressive attitude, defend the criminals and further intimidate the victims. In this they were set to browbeat the administration and the judiciary.
According to the daily Express, the meeting was attended by senior leadership of JUI, JUP, JI, MajlisAhrar Islam, JamiatAhle Hadith, TanzimIslami, AhleSunnatwalJamaat, AalamiMajlisTahaffuzKhatmeNabuwwat, TehrikHurmatRasul and International Lawyers Forum, Pakistan. Justice (Retd) Nazir Ahmad Ghazi was appointed chairman of the Legal Committee (to defend the culprits).
The attendance of these leaders at the meeting showed that these parties remain committed to violence, to religious thugs and denial of rights to the marginalized sections of the society. Some of these parties occasionally talk of human rights, tolerance and unity etc, but it is obvious that thereby they pay only lip service to the higher social values; otherwise their sectarian, extremist and violence-prone policy and commitment remain unchanged.
MullaZahid-ur-Rashidi is the same cleric who at the turn of this year 2013/2014 visited South Africa and India, and called for formation of a vast anti-Shia front in the region. He seems to thrive on sectarian violence, extremism and disunity – and in this he is not alone.
It is regrettable to point out that the Gujranwala incident that caused waves in human rights circles worldwide failed to persuade the Punjab political leaders and administration to review their policy concerning religious extremists and sectarian bigots in their province.
A subsequent medical report
The Administrator Tahir Heart Institute (THI) Rabwah, one of the top medical facilities in the Punjab related the following in one of his addresses in London a few weeks later:
“…We can all recall the tragic Gujranwala incident in Pakistan. Violent and insane protesters in the name of Islam burnt a number of Ahmadi houses, looted property and martyred innocent women and children. Among them was a pregnant brave lady – Mubashara, who lost her full term baby and herself suffered grievous suffocated lung injury – a condition called Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. It carries a very high mortality. On ventilatory life-support her life hung in balance. But with HuzoorAqdas (KhalifatulMasih V) and Jamaat’s prayers, she got a second lease of life. As she walked out of the portals of THI, she smilingly remarked, “DrNuri, Jazakumalla (May God reward you). I’ve witnessed the proof of Allah’s existence.”
“Similarly, two poor Ahmadis, both victims of the Gujranwala incident, were ignorant of their heart condition. The mental and physical trauma, thus suffered, triggered heart attack and brought them to THI. One underwent urgent CABG surgery and the other angioplasty with stent deployment. With tears in their eyes they remarked, “We always knew Allah was there, somewhere up in the Heavens, but now we have seen He exists and resides within our hearts.”
An analytical comment and comparison with another barbarity
The daily Dawn published the news on November 6, 2014 that Kasur “Police arrested on Wednesday 50 villagers who were part of a mob which reportedly burnt alive a Christian couple in a brick kiln in KotRadhaKishan for allegedly desecrating pages of the Holy Quran. The woman, mother of three, was pregnant…. Police and witnesses told Dawn that announcements had been made from mosques on Tuesday asking villagers to gather at the Yousaf brick kiln where 25 year old Shama and her husband ShahzadMasih worked as bonded labourers.Over 1,000 charged people from three villages took out the couple from a room (where they had taken shelter) after tearing apart its roof. The mob tortured the couple before putting them into the kiln’s furnace…. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and the latter constituted a three member committee comprising the secretary of minority affairs, chairman of CM’s inspection team and additional IG to investigate the matter…. Police registered a case against 660 villagers, including 60 who have been nominated in the FIR. Police also blocked all routes leading to Chak 59 and Klarkabad…. On Wednesday, police produced 43 of the arrested people before an anti-terrorism court which remanded four of them in police custody and sent 39 others to jail on judicial remand.”
This barbaric and cruel incident is not the first of its kind in Punjab or in Pakistan. The attitude of the state and the society to such condemnable incidents in fact encourages them. The state’s tolerance towards such persecution is part of a long term pattern of state complicity at all levels – executive, legislative and judicial. The riot in Gujranwala against Ahmadis only three months earlier and the state’s response to that will throw adequate light on the raison d’etre of this attack on Christians.
It is noteworthy that after the Gujranwala tragedy neither the Prime Minister nor even the Chief Minister made any statement to condemn the atrocity. No high level committee was formed to investigate the riot. No arrests were made although some of the mullas who incited the mob were named in the FIR. The police obliged the religious zealots by registration of a counter-FIR against the Ahmadi youth and arrested him; he has not been granted bail yet, although the charge of blasphemy has not been upheld by any enquiry. None of the affected has been facilitated to come back and resettle in his/her home.
Immediately after the riot in Gujranwala, mullas representing major politico-religious parties assembled in a meeting and got organized to defend the criminals involved in the riot. A few weeks later, they expressed satisfaction over the official reaction to the incident (in that none of the accused was arrested).
The daily The News reported the Prime Minister to have said after the KotRadhaKishan. “A responsible state cannot tolerate mob rule and public lynching with impunity.” However he had said nothing over the Gujranwala riot. In fact, as described above, the state tolerated the mob action and the public killing,providing impunity. It is arguable that a firm and open administrative response to the Gujranwala incident would have deterred the mob leaders in KotRadhaKishan.
MullaTahirAshrafi has held the police responsible for failure to act in KotRadhaKishan. However, he was not forthcoming candidly over the Gujranwala riot. Zahid-ur-Rashidi, another top cleric, opted to become patron of the Co-ordination Committee to defend the criminals who were responsible for the murder, loot and arson in Gujranwala. There are also press reports that JamaatIslami leaders made a sympathy visit to KotRadhaKishan. Three months earlier Mr. Bilal Qudrat Butt of JamaatIslami volunteered to become a member of the maniacal Co-ordination Committee. If this is not, what else is hypocrisy? All these mullas are well aware of the Quranic injection:“…whosoever killed a person – unless it be for (killing) a person or for creating disorder in the land – it shall be as if he had killed all mankind and whoso saved a life, it shall be as if he had saved all mankind….” (5: 33/34)
The authorities in District Kasur are known for their permissive and slipshod attitude towards protection of members of vulnerable communities. Early last year, mullas mounted an intensive hate campaign against Ahmadis of Shamsabad. They attacked the president of the local Ahmadi community and injured him grievously. He was rendered unconscious and had to be hospitalized. They beat up members of his family. Consequently, the Ahmadis were virtually under house arrest and the police warned them to vacate their houses. RanaIshaque of the ruling PML-N and the DPO extended their support to the attackers. The Ahmadi president and his family had to flee for safety. Their plight was reported to the well-known Mr.NajamSethi, the then Chief Minister of the Punjab. He did little to rehabilitate the persecuted family. The religious thugs remained free and got the message that they could lynch the so-called minorities without risk. There were other noteworthy incidents in this district, but this one should suffice as a sample.
Last but not least, ‘liberal’ politician Mr. Imran Khan of PTI chose to issue no public statement on the Gujranwala incident. He was discreet enough to release only a sentence on the Twitter. The KotRadhaKishan incident occurred on November 4; Imran addressed a big crowd in Rahim Yar Khan five days later and he said not a word about the shameful incident of KotRadhaKishan. It took him another few days to figure out the electoral benefits and harms of a public statement, when he spared a few seconds for the lynched couple in his long speech in Nankana Sahib. And he called all the suppressed classes and minorities to attend his fateful rally in Islamabad on November 30!
The daily The Nation put the issue straight, bluntly and precisely in its editorial on October 29, 2014, divinating the tragedy of KotRadhaKishan (extract):
Blaspheming Against Humanity
Perhaps the country’s courts, police, Parliament and the public at large should take responsibility for crimes committed against individuals in blasphemy cases. Judges who send both sane and mentally challenged individuals to jails despite insufficient evidence, police officials who negotiate with and protect zealots instead of taking them to task, parliamentarians whose lips remain sealed as tragedies unfold and the people who struggle to express outrage over crimes committed in the name of religion – everyone is responsible and no one is willing to acknowledge it. How we deal with such issues as a country is utterly disgraceful. And when someone actually dares to take a stand, like Salman Taseer, ShahbazBhatti and
Rashid Rehman – we shoot them dead and become heroes, aspiring more evil and carnage. The country’s elected Prime Minister will not side with the fallen nor will those who wish to oust him. Changing faces, it would appear, will not change the fate of victims.
No wonder, the Peshawar massacre occurred a few weeks later that stunned almost the entire population.A deadly attack on Ahmadi
Rahim Yar Khan; January 23, 2014: Mr. Abdul Ali S/O Ch. Abdul Majid has a business of selling bed-sheets here. A boycott of Mr. Ali was in place in the market, instigated by a nearby madrassa. There is a small cabin-shop of a Pathan in front of Mr. Ali’s shop. The Pathan read out an anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlet to other fellows in the market. After this a mulla came to Mr. Ali’s shop and told his assistant to stop working for Mr. Ali. After 10 more minutes two men came to his shop on a motorbike. One of them rushed into Mr. Ali’s shop. He grabbed Mr. Ali and took out a dagger and told him to recite the Kalima otherwise he would slit his throat. He threw Mr. Ali on the ground and put the dagger on his throat. Mr. Ali resisted, stopped the dagger with his other hand and pushed the assailant away with the other. Having freed himself, he ran and entered the adjacent shop. The assailant tried to pursue him but could not succeed and fled away.
Mr. Ali was seriously injured. He was taken to the police station by his father and cousin. The SHO refused to register the case because the opponents had already submitted to him a certificate of mental illness of the assailant. This was a case of obvious police collaboration with a dangerous criminal.
The SHO called both the parties in the evening to the police station. The opponent party said that they would expel the assailant out of the city and Mr. Ali should not get a police case registered. Under the circumstances, Ahmadis decided not to push their complaint.
Rahim Yar Khan is located in southern Punjab.
Attack on an Ahmadi at home
Chak 3/SP, District Okara; February 2, 2014: Dr. Muhammad Iqbal is a homeopath and set up a clinic in a portion of his house. Someone knocked at his door on February 2, 2014 at 2 a.m. and pretended to be very sick. On opening the gate, eight unidentified men forced entry into his house. They asked him whether he was a Mirzai (Ahmadi)? Dr. Iqbal replied in affirmation. Assailants demanded all jewelry and cash. When they did not find any cash they attacked the family members. Dr. Iqbal’s eye and face were badly wounded as a result. Dr. Iqbal managed to run out of his house and cried for help. His neighbours and other people gathered there and the assailants fled. They fired several shots on retreat. Dr. Iqbal was injured in the leg as a result of those shots. Luckily he survived.
Ahmadi shot and injured severely
North Karachi; January 1, 2014: Unknown men fired shots at Mr. Khursheed Ahmad S/O Mr. Abdul Rasheed. Shots hit his abdomen causing serious damage to his entrails. Seriously injured he was rushed to AbbasiShaheed Hospital where he was operated upon. He was shifted thereafter to ICU where he got stable after 48 hours. After the emergency treatment he was shifted to another hospital for long term care and recovery.
Ahmadi lawyer targeted
Peshawar; April 7, 2014: Some unidentified men fired several shots at the car of Mr. Shahabud Din Khatak S/O Dr. Fazal Din Khatak at about 10 a.m. on April 7, 2014. He left home on his way to the High Court. Luckily no bullet hit him. The assailants fled after firing the shots.
Kot Abdul Malik, District Sheikhupura; January 25, 2014: An Ahmadi youth, Arshad Ahmad went to a barber shop. The barber had switched on anti-Ahmadiyya speeches on an amplifier in his shop. Mr. Ahmad asked him to stop that, but he did not do so. Mr. Ahmad stood up and was about to depart from his shop when the barber called him a bad name. Mr. Ahmad was angered, and slapped the insulter. Later, the family members of Mr. Ahmad intervened and defused the issue tactfully.
The next morning the barber gathered approximately 40-50 youth and came to the house of Mr. Ahmad. They shouted insults and raised slogans against the Ahmadiyya community. The procession dispersed when they did not find Mr. Ahmad at home. On their way back they stopped in front of the mobile-phones shop of Mr. Qamaruz Zia, another Ahmadi. They pulled him out of his shop and beat him up. They insulted the portrait of the founder of the Ahmadiyya community and used foul language against him. The police arrived at the scene and took Mr. Zia to the police station. The police later arranged ‘reconciliation’ between Mr. Zia and the mullas to avoid action against the miscreants.
The situation remained tense in Kot Abdul Malik where the administration has a history of taking sides with extremist elements.
Ahmadi target-killed in Karachi; another injured
Orangi Town, Karachi;November 1, 2013: Mr. Bashir Ahmad Kiyani, 68 years old, was murdered here for his faith.
Mr. Kiyani and an Ahmadiboy, Muhammad Ahmad Wajid son of Mr. Muhammad AkramQureshi, his neighbor,were going to the Ahmadiyyamosque, when unknown assailants opened fire on them. Mr. Kiyaniwas hit in the temple and twice in his chest, while a bullet pierced through the calf of the boy’s leg. They were immediately taken to the nearest hospital. Mr. Kiyani succumbed thereto the injuries.The boy got stable,but later his wounds started bleeding and he had to be readmitted in the hospital.
Mr. Bashir Kiyaniis survived by a widow and five children. His dead body was brought to Rabwah where a large number of Ahmadis attended his funeral prayers.
Mr. Kiyanienjoyed a good reputation in the locality and had no personal vendetta with anyone. He was killed simply for being an Ahmadi. It is worth mentioning that Mr. Kiyani’s son Mr. IjazKiyani and son-in-law Mr. Zahoor Ahmad Kiyaniwere similarly killed in September and August respectively, this year. It is a heavy toll for a family; their plight cannot be described in words.
Mr. Saleemuddin, the spokesman of JamaatAhmadiyya expressed great sorrow and griefover the incident and said that the murder of a third member of the same family in Orangi Town shows that an organized group is target-killing Ahmadis. Mr. Saleemuddinstated that the decrees of Ahmadis being WajibulQatl (must be killed) are being issued openly in conferences held in the sacred name of KhatmeNabuwwat.Extremists opposed to Ahmadispublish and distribute hate literature in public in which people are urged to boycott Ahmadis and kill them, but the authorities take no notice of these. Innocent Ahmadis are being killed as a result.
Asian Human Rights Commission took note of this murder and after due inquiry issued a statement AHRC-STM-198-2013 and gave it the title PAKISTAN: An entire Ahmadi family was targeted in sectarian killings. The statement mentioned the following, inter alia:
“In Pakistan, at every level including the media and at official levels, decrees against Ahmadis are being issued as WajibulQatl (must be killed). A non-government organization (NGO) KhatmeNabuwwat is dictating terms to the state and is notorious for issuing decrees against the Ahmadis and even other sects. The indifferent attitude of the state and the government towards the killings of Ahmadis is creating extremism in the name of religion and conspicuously spreading hatred in different religious sections of the society.
“The Asian Human Rights Commission urges government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to initiate an inquiry into the brutal killings of this father, his son and son-in-law on the pretext of following a particular religion. The target killing of Ahmadis is accelerating and in recent months several professionals have been murdered ruthlessly.
“The Government of Pakistan is totally numb to these atrocities … .
“At a time when the world and all the international organisations are seriously and soberly promoting freedom of religion and faith, the Pakistan Government seems to be intent upon destroying all fundamental freedoms and depriving Ahmadis the rights to pursue and practice their faith and belief.
“The Government of Pakistan must act now to stop religious hate mongering in the country and apply sanctions to the liberty of Mullahs bent upon destroying the little that is left of law and order in the country.”
It is relevant to mention that it is weeks since an ‘Operation’ goes on in Karachi against killer-gangs etc, but those who kill Ahmadis remain untouched and are free to continue their target-killings. This laxity appears to be deliberate.
Ahmadi woman survives attack on her life
Badin; February 5, 2013: Mrs. InamulHaq walked to her father’s house along with her younger son. A man pursued her. When she was entering her father’s house, he stabbed her with a dagger. The attack injured her back. She was rushed to the hospital where she got stable.
Sectarian attacks in District Kasur
Shamsabad; December 2012 – April 2013: A few non-Ahmadis of this village approached Mr. Maqsud Ahmad, the president of the local Ahmadi community to explain to the people the Ahmadiyya position on his religious beliefs and dogma. He welcomed this initiative and briefed them. This part went off well, he thought; and they asked him to continue with the rest of the briefing a few days later on December 9, 2012.
Mr. Ahmad was cautioned by his District Amir that he was being led in a trap. In view of the former’s insistence to continue the peaceful dialogue, the Amir asked him to put forward the following three conditions to non-Ahmadis:
- The assembly will be held at an Ahmadi’s house.
- The village folk should give in writing that the get-together is on their request.
- No mullas will be invited to the session.
The non-Ahmadis did not accept these conditions; instead they assured Mr. Ahmad of their peaceful intentions and insisted that he should come. Mr. Ahmad agreed despite the wise counsel of the Amir; he thought he was succeeding in removing misunderstandings.
On December 9, 2012 when Mr. Ahmad arrived at the given rendezvous, in company of three Ahmadis, he was surprised to see that a number of fearsome mullas had been invited and a big crowd of more than 150 men was present. A loud-speaker was also in place. The proceedings, accordingly, were neither objective nor cordial. The Ahmadis felt like being held as hostages and were bombarded with slander and abuse. It was with great difficulty that they managed to escape from there.
The incident disturbed the peace of the village greatly. There are 14 Ahmadi families residing in Shamsabad. The mullas motivated the locals to evict them, and the follow-up pressure was intense. Ahmadis had to seek protection of the police. Their senior leaders requested the district authorities to intervene and restore peace. Accordingly the SHO acted firm with mischief-mongers.
During the interim period, Ahmadis could not congregate for their weekly prayers. On restoration of some peace, they were able to attend Friday prayers in their mosque on January 4.
Approximately twenty extremist bigots attacked Malik Maqsud Ahmad on March 26, 2013 night in Shamsabad, District Kasur. As per details, an organized hate campaign went on there for months against members of the Ahmadi community. Extremist elements, in the same context, mounted an assault on his residence and injured him grievously. He was rendered unconscious as a result of the attack. The attackers beat up members of his family too. They damaged his household belongings. Mr. Ahmad had to be admitted in the local hospital.
Mr. Saleemuddin, the Ahmadi spokesperson and Director Public Affairs condemned the attack and called it a failure of the administration. He stated that for some time religious extremists were carrying on a hate and boycott campaign against the Ahmadis. A social boycott was in place. As a result no shopkeeper sold anything to Ahmadis. No doctor or dispenser provided medicines to Ahmadi sick. Ahmadi children had been expelled from schools. Ahmadis’ movements were restricted. They were barred even to fetch water. The local administration knew all this, but the officials found it more convenient to yield to extremists than provide protection to Ahmadis under law. This is a clear failure of the law-enforcement authorities. “This organized attack on the residence of Malik Maqsud Ahmad is a clear proof of mounting intolerance and violence in Pakistani society”, said Mr. Saleemuddin. He demanded that authorities be directed to ensure safety of person and property of Ahmadi citizens and provide them freedom of faith. “The attackers on his residence should be arrested and punished as per law”, he said.
The AHRC issued an Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-050-2013 on 26 March 2013 and wrote the following in the introductory statement:
“The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the attacks on the houses belonging to Ahmadis. The attackers were from two religious organizations, the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SP) and KhatmeNabuwwat (KN) and were provided with protection by the police during the attack. The local incharge of the AhmadiyyaJamaat was seriously injured when he was beaten by the crowd and dumped on the street as if he was dead.
“The members of the Ahmadiyya Community are virtually under house arrest and the police have warned them to vacate the houses. The member of the national assembly (Mr.RanaIshaque) from the ruling party of Punjab province (PML-N) and the highest police officer from the district (Syed Khurram Ali) have extended their support to the attackers in order to get votes in the coming elections.”
It was learnt that the Caretaker Chief Minister took notice of the incident and sent for DPO and the SHO. The outcome of this meeting was reported by The Express Tribune in its issue of April 6, 2013. Extracts:
“Hostile neighbors: Ahmadis will be ‘always vulnerable’, says SHO
Police have asked the accused to be available if the CM sent an investigation team.
“Lahore: “We cannot force people to live in peace with Ahmadis if they did not want to”, Chunnia Police SHO Tariq Khan told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
“On March 23 a mob had vandalized the home of an Ahmadi citizen, MaqsoodAnjum (Malik Maqsood Ahmad), in Shamsabad, a village of Kasur. They had also beaten his family and stolen valuables.
“Caretaker Chief Minister NajamSethi has taken notice of the incident and summoned the district police officer on April 1 to be briefed on the incident and the progress in the investigation of the case.
“The Express Tribune has learnt that police have asked the nominated suspects to be available at the Chunnia police station if (and when) Sethi sends a special team.
“SHO Khan said that two Ahmadi families living among a hostile population of 10,000 would always be vulnerable. A contingent of 20 policemen had been deployed to guard their homes even though the families had left the area on March 26, he said.
“SHO said he had appeared in front of Sethialongwith the DPO and had shared details of the case with him.
“Malik (a brother of the victim) said that the SHO had contacted him two days ago chiding him for not staying in contact with the police. “I told the SHO we had filed a complaint and submitted my brother’s medico-legal report and it was (now) his job to take action,” said Malik. The SHO had asked him to consider reconciliation, he said.
“My brother’s family has left the area for the time being as they felt insecure, Malik said.
“A non-Ahmadi neighbor said that the police had asked them to ensure that the nominated accused were available at the police station if the chief minister ever sent a special investigation team. He said they had agreed to do so.
“We would socially boycott the Ahmadis even if a settlement is reached,” he said, “It is best that they have left.” He said he was related to the Ahmadi families but wanted to have nothing to do with them.
“International Human Rights Commission Punjab Director General Munawar Ali Shahid visited Shamsabad on Tuesday. He said even though an FIR had been registered and police had been directed to take action, the suspects had not been arrested.
“Several people here have told me that the Ahmadis had been socially boycotted for long. Police have taken no action to stop violence against them,” he deplored.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2013
The above story betrays a great deal concerning the writ of the state, the legacy of PML-N in the Punjab administration, the attitude of the police, the power made available to the banned organizations and the vulnerability of the marginalized sections of the society. It is relevant that only a fortnight earlier the grisly incident of Joseph Colony had occurred in Lahore. The provincial government apparently sent no warning to the mullas and its politicians on such condemnable attacks on minorities.
It is learnt that the police registered a ‘counter complaint’ against the victims, obviously to facilitate and enforce ‘reconciliation’. None of the attackers was arrested. Mr. Maqsud Ahmad survived and recovered from his wounds at a far-off location in Pakistan.
Attacks on Ahmadis
Mori Darwaza, Sialkot; March 1, 2013: Rana Muhammad Akmal S/O Rana Muhammad Fazil was sitting in his shop when two bearded men came to him on a motorcycle. One of them called Mr. Akmal, and asked him the time. Meanwhile, his colleague fired a shot at him that hit him in his leg. They fired some more shots, but they missed him. The shooting invited the attention of other people, so the attackers fled on their motorcycle. The Rescue Service attended to Mr. Akmal and shifted him to a hospital where he got stable.
The police registered a report.
Sultanpura, Lahore; April 5, 2013: An Ahmadi, Ch. Nadeem Ahmad S/O Ch. TahirNadeem encountered a youth, Kashif, while going home. Kashif was accompanied by approximately 15 youths. He accused Ahmad of denying the KhatmeNabuwwat (end of prophethood) and started beating and abusing him. Mr. Ahmad maintained his calm and did not retaliate. He was injured but not badly. The assailants departed afterwards. Later, a complaint was made by Mr. Ahmad, not to the police but to Kashif’s parents.
Nawab Shah, Sindh; April 2, 2013: Mr. AsifDawood Advocate S/O Mr. Saith Muhammad Yusuf was attacked by unknown assailants on April 2, 2013 at 3 p.m. when he was returning home. He is 44.
Mr. Dawood’s father was killed at the same location five years ago, two days after TV’s Islamist performer Dr. AamarLiaquat had an edict of murder of Ahmadis announced on the mini-screen.
The shot injured Mr. Dawood’sentrails. He was immediately shifted to Peoples Medical College Hospital where he was operated upon. Six bottles of blood were arranged to replenish his blood circulatory system. He was then shifted to the ICU ward. His condition remained perilous. He was shifted to ventilator and transported to Ziaud Din Hospital, Karachi.
Luckily he survived and got stable a fortnight later.
The Express Tribune reported the incident in its issue of April 6, 2013. It reported:
“… the suspect was in his 30’s with a beard and a scarf on his shoulder… the police have yet to take action besides demanding the victim’s statement. They haven’t arrested anyone or even seized the bullet casing from crime scene.”Khan, a relative of the victim told The Express Tribune: “At least seven Ahmadishave been killed in over a decade in Nawab Shah alone. This is the constituency of the president of Pakistan and we have been living here in a constant state of fear.”
Ahmadi escaped a deadly attack
Manzoor Colony, Karachi; April 14, 2013: Malik Muhammad Ateeq, an Ahmadi escaped a deadly attack on his life. He sat in his car to go somewhere when two assailants on a motorcycle arrived and fired at him. The shot luckily missed Mr. Ateeq. Mr. Ateeq fired back in self defense but the assailants escaped from the scene. A report was lodged with the local police station.
Manzoor Colony is a hot spot for Ahmadis. Six Ahmadis including a president of the local Ahmadi community have been killed here in the past for their faith.
Religion based violence in District Larkana
Qambar; April 2013: Mr. Aqeel Ahmad, an Ahmadi was attacked by an opponent of Ahmadiyyat, Muhammad Yusuf. Yusuf was also a prime witness in a fabricated case against local Ahmadis previously. He pelted stones on Mr. Ahmad which hit his friend, Shakeel who accompanied him. Shakeel was injured. Thereafter Yusuf went home and came back with a pistol and started shooting in the air.
Yusuf’s brother, QurbanDahri, armed with a pistol, came to the house of Mr. Ahmad on April 18. He threatened Ahmad of murder. Some neighbors intervened which saved him from further harm.
Ahmadigravely wounded in assault
Jhelum; June 11, 2013: Mr. Naveed Ahmad S/O Mr. Rasheed Ahmad was shot by unknown assailants at 1:15 p.m. in his shop. He was seriously injured and rushed to the hospital.
Three unknown men on a motorcycle stopped in front of his shop. One of them came to Mr. Ahmad and asked for water. Mr. Ahmad provided him a glass of water. The stranger said, “It’s very hot”. Mr. Ahmad offered him to come inside under the fan to cool down a bit. At this, two of his fellows also came inside the shop. The first one pulled a pistol at Mr. Ahmad. Mr. Ahmad resisted but the assailant managed to pull the trigger. The bullet hit him under his left eye and injured his jaw. His fellow also fired at Mr. Ahmad which hit him under his ribs and injured his liver. The assailants fled thereafter. Mr. Ahmad was rushed to the hospital. After first-aid he was shifted to PIMS hospital, Rawalpindi. Several bottles of blood were needed to replenish his lost blood. Eventually he became stable and was out of danger.
Mr. Naveed Ahmad is the elder brother of Mr. Laiq Ahmad, the head of the local Ahmadiyya youth organisation.
An Ahmadi doctor attacked
Gowalmandi, Lahore; September 12, 2013: Dr. QaziMunawwar Ahmad was leaving his clinic for home when a youth came running towards him, threw acid on him and ran away. Dr. Munawwar’s clothes got burnt and he was injured. The nearby shop-keepers shifted him to the emergency ward in Mayo Hospital. Fortunately his face escaped harm, and the injury was not grave.
Dr. Munawwar is an active member of the Ahmadiyya community in Lahore.
Ahmadi escapes attack on life
Orangi Town, Karachi; October 23, 2013: Mr. NaseerAlam Shah S/O Syed Munawwar Ahmad Shah, aged 38 was attacked by unknown assailants while going on his motorbike to his work. He works as a salesman in a garments shop. He had not gone far from his home when unknown assailants opened fire at him. He was hit near his jaw. He was gravely injured and shifted to AbbasiShaheed Hospital. He was later shifted to Agha Khan Hospital. Doctors struggled hard to save his life; twelve bottles were needed to replenish his drained blood. Luckily he survived. Later, he was shifted to Ziauddin Hospital for the operation of his jaws. His condition improved.
It is noteworthy that this attack also took place in Orangi Town. How come the well-staffed intelligence agencies and security forces carrying out the Operation in Karachi are unable to trace the gang that repeatedly targets Ahmadis?
Ahmadi youth beaten
Malot, Islamabad; November 2013: Mr. Ihsan Ahmad Danish runs a cell-phone shop here. He is son of the local president of the Ahmadiyya community. He had a small business dispute with a client. The client immediately thought of using the religion card and came to Mr. Danish along with some of his friends. They called him a kafir (an infidel) and threatened him with harm. They attempted to forcibly deprive Mr. Danish of some goods which he resisted. They hit him on the head with a stone, resulting in injury and bleeding. Mr. Danish was taken to a hospital where the wound was stitched to stop the bleeding.
A statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission
September 12, 2013: Murder of three Ahmadis for their faith in quick succession in Karachi induced the Asian Human Rights Commission to issue another statement highlighting the plight of Ahmadis in Pakistan. Excerpts:
Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Innocent Ahmadis continue to be harassed, persecuted and murdered while the government looks on
September 12, 2013
Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan continue to be persecuted, prosecuted, humiliated, harassed, tortured and subjected to target killings. In the very recent past hundreds of Ahmadis have been murdered for their faith and belief and this horrifying brutality continues under the very eyes of the Government who take no notice or action and blatantly allow the culprits to go scot-free.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community keeps the world aware of such atrocities in the hope that the international community will raise their voices against such inhumane, cruel practices and pressurize Pakistan to honour its commitments to the International Code of Conduct, the UNDHR, the values and principles of democracy and the promises made in its very own Constitution.
Once again the Asian Human Rights Commission is sharing with our readers the murder of three more innocent Ahmadis during the past weeks.
These are the latest tragic incidents which have become the fate of Ahmadis in Pakistan. The Government authorities intentionally deny Ahmadis any protection or security. The judiciary too takes no notice of Ahmadi cases and Ahmadis are discriminated against in every sector of life.
The Worldwide Ahmadiyya Community once again pleads with the international community to do whatever can be done to bring to an end this barbarity and stop those who freely publish and distribute hate material against Ahmadis publically inciting people to kill them.
There will be no democracy, peace or prosperity in Pakistan until it honours the very founding values of human dignity and fundamental freedoms of all without any discrimination of faith or belief.
The Asian Human Rights Commission calls on President MamnoonHussain to honour the commitments Pakistan has made to the international community and the promises contained in the Constitution of Pakistan to protect freedom of religion and the minorities of his country. Freedom of religion in Pakistan is guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan for individuals and religious sects. However this freedom is declared subject to “reasonable restrictions”. In no way can “reasonable restrictions” justify murder!
Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-169-2013
Countries: Pakistan http://www.humanrights.asia/countires/pakistan