Azad Kashmir – suppression of Ahmadis

Ahmadis’ shabby situation in Azad Kashmir

 

It is ironic that Kashmiris who complain of loss of freedom and human rights on both sides of the Line of Control should treat their Ahmadi fellow citizens in a shameful way. The Azad Kashmir politicians and clerics disregard all criticism and international concerns while denying religious freedom to Ahmadis living in the territory. A few reports from different locations in Azad Kashmir received during the year are placed below as evidence. These have not been rearranged to form a single story.

A fascist sectarian state is promised and promoted by rulers in Azad Kashmir

Bagh and elsewhere, Azad Kashmir (AJK); April 2010: Numerous states all over the world pursue objectionable policies and use fascist means to perpetuate themselves, but rarely do they own up and uphold such actions in public. Not so in Azad Kashmir. Kashmiri mullas and politicians have apparently forgotten that they are a part of the world community and will be held accountable for what they say, and for what they do. An event in Bagh that was widely reported in the local press and the Pakistani national Urdu newspapers is indicative of the nature and level of the depravity of civic and political life in that territory.

An End of Prophethood conference was scheduled in Bagh (AJK) by Major Ayub Memorial Committee on April 29, 2010. The AJK prime minister, the president, ministers etc were invited to attend. Col® Abdul Qayyum, the Committee’s president told the daily Ausaf, “We shall put an end to the evil of Ahmadiyyat in Azad Kashmir.” (The daily Ausaf, Islamabad; April 27, 2010)

The conference was attended by Raja Farooq Haider Khan, the then Prime Minister of AJK (he was invited as a special guest) , Pir Atiq ur Rehman the AJK Minister of Auqaf (Religious endowments), a few ministers, a number of political leaders and a host of mullas from religious parties who indulge in political activities.

At this conference, the Prime Minister was presented a report by clerics, “who gave it special attention and passed it to the Minister of Auqaf”, according to the press report. This conference passed a number of resolutions, most of which would put a self-respecting educated person to shame; these are produced below from a press report:

  • The apostasy centers of Qadianis that resemble mosques should be demolished forthwith.
  • Qadianis should be forbidden from entering Azad Kashmir.
  • Qadianis should be made to register themselves at police stations in Azad Kashmir.
  • Qadianis in government service should be listed; the list should be promulgated and Qadianis in key posts, especially those in the education department, should be removed.
  • Qadiani newspaper the daily Alfazl, their TV channel MTA and other literature should be forbidden in Azad Kashmir.
  • Marriages between Muslims and Qadianis should be declared null and void.
  • Qadianis in Azad Kashmir should be registered as Non-Muslims and should have a clear identification (Aledah shanakht banai jai).
  • A text book on Khatme Nabuwwat should be made a part of syllabus in public and private schools, etc. etc.

Special Edition of Sadai Chanar, May 3, 2010 and the daily Ausaf, Islamabad; April 30, 2010

The prime minister’s response to the above absurdities was highly encouraging to the clerics – even beyond their expectations: Excerpts:

  • Qadiani growth in the territory is totally unacceptable.
  • It is essential to put a stop to the evil of Qadianiat.
  • I promise to actively pursue and legislate anti-Qadiani measures (on demands put forward by the Tehrik Khatme Nabuwwat).
  • As it is essential that there should be a distinct difference between Muslims and non-Muslims, I will ensure clear distinction of identity between Muslims and Qadianis. They will not be allowed to follow Islamic practices (Sha‘aire Islam). The issue will be resolved soon in the Assembly forum, so that the non-believers in Khatme Nabuwwat stand distinct.
  • We shall give all the rights due to the non-Muslim.
  • Qadianis enjoy the support of Jews and Christians; they are being promoted to stab the Muslims in their chests (seenon mein khanjar ghonpne…). It is a religious duty to confront this evil.
  • The Anti-Christ (Dajjal) is still to appear; and he will also be one among the Qadianis. (The Special Edition of daily Sada-i-Chanar; May 3, 2010 and the daily Jinnah, Islamabad April 30, 2010)

Unbelievable but true. The mulla and the press reacted joyfully, and reported that the Khatme Nabuwwat activists and lovers of the Prophet were most encouraged by the bold statement of the prime minister. “For the first time ever, a prime minister took a clear and unequivocal stand against Ahmadiyyat; this has enabled the Muslims and Kashmiri people raise their heads in pride and they feel infused with religious ecstasy.” The daily Sada-i-Chanar; May 3, 2010

Pir Atiq ur Rahman the Minister of Auqaf, a mulla well-versed in the mundane world of politics, echoed the same views. Excerpts:

  • Qadianis are busy in spreading their mischief in Azad Kashmir. It calls for their speedy extermination.                         The daily Jinnah, Islamabad April 30, 2010
  • Khatme Nabuwwat is the principal dogma of the Muslim Ummah. We shall safeguard it at all costs. Prime Minister, this issue needs legislation. Allah wishes this historical accomplishment from you. We all have to support the prime minister in this, through unity and joint action. The daily Khabrain; April 30, 2010

Extremist elements availed the opportunity to talk of blood, death and destruction. The print media displayed it in bold headlines; for instance:

  • We shall spill the last drop of blood to safeguard the end of prophethood – Maulana Maqsood
  • Stop the conspiracies against me. I am willing to be shot to uphold the constitution. Farooq Haider (PM, AJK)

“I am grateful to Rashid Tarabi, Khalid Ibrahim etc. members of the Assembly, in the constitutional battle. Our friends in Peoples Party should remember that if they join a conspiracy, their blot will never be washed off”, said the prime minister.  The daily Khabrain, Islamabad, April 30, 2010

Another such conference was programmed in Kotli for June 6. The theme, of course, was none other than the Honour of the Prophetsa and the End of Prophethood, although the sectarian organizers deliberately opted to give it the title of the Labbaik, Ya Rasul ullah Conference (Present sir, O Prophet of God).

According to press reports the real issue disturbing the prime minister’s peace was his shaky political position and the unrest raking the AJK higher judiciary, in which he pushed a judicial reference based on blasphemy. Like his predecessors, he turned to the mulla for political support in the name of ‘end of prophethood’ and blasphemy. He seemed to convey: You touch me, and I shall deliver the whole territory to flames with the mulla on my back. He conveniently forgot that such tactics could never save his predecessors. He calls himself a revolutionary (Inqlabi), but this is not the decade for a fascist revolution from a pseudo-mulla.

True enough, he was removed from his post a few months later.

 

The evil that men do – in Azad Kashmir

Kotli, Azad Kashmir; April 2010: Mr. Amir Wajahat Daud got married, and his family held a wedding reception at the occasion on April 11, 2010. They invited their Ahmadi and non-Ahmadi friends, relatives, associates to the reception. The reception proceedings were happy, blissful and normal; however a few mullas, a vernacular daily, a fanatic minister and some aggressive bigots unfortunately defiled the occasion.

Two days after the reception, the daily Kashmir Express, published from Mirpur and Muzaffarabad, covered this wedding reception (Da‘wat Walima) in three stories in its issue of April 13, 2010. In the first one, the paper quoted its District Reporter that the wedding reception was held at the Custodian Rest House by an Ahmadi family, and the opening part of the program was a recitation of the Holy Quran and a prayer. According to the reporter the participants were astonished at this (dang reh gai). The report named most of the notable non-Ahmadi invitees who were present at the occasion.

The second story filed by the same reporter carried the headline: Great provocation in Kotli over recitation of the Holy Quran in the wedding reception of Qadiani. The reporter conveyed that the Muslim population were greatly agitated over the participation of some Muslims in the reception and condemned the shameful act of the recitation (sharamnak harkat ki shadeed muzammat ki). This report reiterated that Ahmadis were ‘non-Muslims, apostates, and leave alone recitation, they were forbidden even to touch the holy book.’ The report conveyed that a true Muslim would never dishonor himself by participation in Qadianis’ social functions. It reported that ‘soon a major drive would be launched in Kotli and its suburbs to crush the evil of Qadianiat.’ Another story in three-columns on the same day quoted a mulla Zafar Iqbal Rathor of the Tehrik Khatme Nabuwwat: “Qadianis should remain within their confines; we shall not tolerate their use of Islamic practices. The so-called Muslims who interact socially with Qadianis and participate in their weddings etc will be held accountable on the Day of Reckoning”. The daily reported his entire outburst. This story named the reporter as Shaukat Qamar; he later claimed great credit for his professional work on this occasion.

The mullas and these pressmen seem to have assessed that this was a great opportunity to agitate the public mind on a sectarian issue and promote sales of the paper. They went into high gear and devised a plan, perhaps the first of its kind in the history of Pakistani press. They prepared and published an Appeal (23 cm x 8 cm) over this incident and addressed it to the highest judicial, political, administrative and police authorities. A translation of it is given below:

 

Appeal

The Chief Justice Azad Kashmir Supreme Court

The Prime Minister Azad Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir

The Chief Secretary, Azad Kashmir

The Inspector General Police, Azad Kashmir

An open violation was undertaken of the Pakistan Penal Code 298-B and C by regular recitation of the Holy Quran followed by prayer in the Walima reception of the Qadianis in Custodian Rest House Kotli on April 11, 2010. Take Suo Motu and legal action on this so that the peace of Kotli is not disturbed. Also, the Ulama are requested to issue a fatwa (edict) against Muslims who participated in the Qadiani’s wedding feast.

The names of individuals who participated in the wedding reception of Qadianis are: (Here 29 individuals that include a judge, a former chairman city council, ex-secretary and a president of the Bar, advocates, political figures, officials, doctors, professors and businessmen, are named as participants.)

From:  Lovers of the Holy Prophet, District Kotli

 

The scheming mullas and journalists did their homework assiduously. Simultaneously they contacted mulla Atiq ur Rehman, the AJK Minister of Auqaf and obtained a rabid statement from him on the issue, and had it published in the same daily (April 14) under a three column headline: ‘The evil of Qadianiat is a poisonous cobra; it is essential to crush its head’, declared this political cleric. The tabloid summed up Pir Atiq’s statement in the following three headlines:

Qadianis are non-Muslims constitutionally; the practice of Islamic rites (sha‘air) in their functions, even if it is Walima, is forbidden (Haram).

A Muslim who promotes social relations with Qadianis commits a great wrong. Such people need to restate their confessional vow (Tajdeed iman).

A Muslim who supports a Qadiani in any manner or helps them in any way whatsoever will be deemed outside the pale of Islam. Telephonic talk with Kashmir Express

The above are the public views of a man of religion and politics. The view, that it is the mulla who has done the greatest harm to Islam, is not baseless. And this mulla invites the Indian Kashmiris to opt for the Kashmir of his vision!

The next day this tabloid reported that its issue containing the anti-Ahmadiyya story sold out. Thousands of its photocopies were distributed. According to the readers, the Kashmir Express ably performed the duty of service to the religion of Muhammadsa…. They congratulated the paper on phone from all over the country for publishing this story with Jihadi zeal…. Qadianis are the enemies of Islam and Pakistan is threatened more by Qadianism than any aggressive foreign power…. according to this paper. With friends like these, Pakistan needs no enemies.

Two days later the daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Rawalpindi, a far-right daily, published in detail a statement of Atiq ur Rahman, the AJK Minister of Auqaf. Excerpt:

“The government of Azad Kashmir hereby warns Qadianis to respect the law and curtail their activities, as there is great risk of provocation among the public against their irresponsible behavior. People are frequently airing the view that if the government does not discipline Qadianis and stop them from preaching Qadianism, they will themselves take the necessary action to crush the head of this poisonous snake. In order to keep the sensitive territory of Azad Kashmir free from disunity, disorder and chaos we warn Qadianis to refrain from their activities.”

In 1953, provincial ministers did not make such statements, but also did not stop the clerics from doing so; eventually this led to serious riots that resulted in the fall of the provincial government in Lahore and the central government at Karachi, and resulted in the promulgation of the first ever Martial Law in the country. “The way down to hell is easy. The gates of black Dis stand open night and day. But to restore one’s steps and escape to the upper air – that is toil, that is labor.” Virgil in Aeneid VI

 

Another story from Azad Kashmir

The daily Pakistan of May 20, 2010 published a story according to which Anjuman Talabah Islam (student wing of JUP) was planning to launch an anti-Ahmadiyya campaign in AJK. Pir Atiq-ur-Rahman, the Minister of Auqaf had taken upon himself the ‘Jihad’ of spreading anti-Ahmadiyya hatred through Khatm-e-Nabuwwat conferences and support to sectarian elements.

Here is a translation of what was reported by

the daily Pakistan:

Mounting negative activities of Qadianis in Kashmir are at climax

Anjuman Talabah Islam has launched a Khatme Nabuwwat public relations campaign from Karachi to Kashmir

Mirpur (Bureau Report): Mounting negative activities of Qadianis in Azad Kashmir. The Anjuman Talabah Islam has launched a major Khatme Nabuwwat public relations campaign from Karachi to Kashmir. The central president of ATI and chairman of the Joint Pakistan Front, Syed Jawad-ul-Hasan Kazmi has arrived Kashmir on an exigent tour. (In view of) concerns over increasing activities of Qadianis, the coordination of Labaik Ya Rasul Allah (present O, Prophet [PBUH]) conference in Goi during the tour of the central president of ATI and chairman of the Joint Pakistan Front, Syed Jawadul Hasan Kazmi, the ATI would make important demands to the Government so as to prevent an epidemic like Qadianiat. According to the available details they resolved to expose the fitna (mischief) of Qadianiat and groups supporting Qadianis. After the announcement of Labaik Ya Rasul Allah conference in Goi, the ATI Jammu Kashmir is determined to launch a Khatme Nabuwwat public relation campaign for the successful coordination of holding the conference, and then to follow up all its aims and objects to uproot the poisonous plant of Qadianiat. The Nazim ATI Jammu Kashmir, Mr. Nisar Nakshbandi stated that the ATI Jammu Kashmir will take strong steps against the Qadiani fitna, and make powerful demands on the government; and the ATI groups from all over Kashmir will participate in Labaik Ya Rasul Allah conference in Goi, thus conveying a signal of death to all Qadianis and those who support them.

Obviously Kazmi had come all the way to Kashmir at the invitation of the president of JUP in AJK, Pir Atiqur Rahman, who now is a minister in the AJK government.

No action was taken by political, administrative and police authorities against these agents-provocateurs?

 

Azad Kashmir authorities relent in face of religious extremists

Kotli, Azad Kashmir; September 2010: In Azad Kashmir the political classes tend to yield to the sectarian demands of the mullas, not realizing that these policies could threaten the state, the society and indeed the politicians themselves.

At Kotli, certain agitators took out a procession on September 8, 2010 ostensibly against electrical power outages. However, when they arrived near the Ahmadiyya mosque they started raising slogans against Ahmadis. It was clear that the move was preplanned. Only a day earlier at the Khatme Nabuwwat Conference in Rabwah, the sponsors had passed a resolution concerning the Ahmadis of Kotli.

The crowd shouted abuse and hateful words against Ahmadis and threw stones at the mosque. They also forcefully removed the mosque’s gate. Police officials arrived, observed the situation and told the two parties to come to the police station. Ahmadis were there on time, but the agitators failed to turn up. The mosque gate was found lying in the police station. Ahmadis asked for its return, however the police officials did not oblige, and advised the Ahmadis to remain calm and cooperative. The police sent for the two parties the next day. The next day the SHO was away from the office. When his superior, the ASP was asked to return the gate, he expressed his inability and advised that the gate not be replaced yet. When told that the Ahmadiyya mosque would be unsafe without the gate, he had no answer.

Ten days later, the gate was still not returned to Ahmadis by the police. The clerics issued a call to take out a procession in the city on September 27. Their demands had been raised to the demolition of the niche and minarets of the mosque and erasure of the Kalima from there. They put up anti-Ahmadiyya banners and posters in the town. The Deputy Commissioner and a magistrate came to visit the mosque. They were urged by the Ahmadis to ensure peace. Ahmadis, however, took steps to defend their place of worship.

On 27th September, the opponents held their conference and named it, of course, ‘Khatme Nabuwwat Conference’ – their usual guise for mischief. They made hateful and provocative speeches and made offensive pre-meditated demands to the authorities. They raised slogans, and named some Ahmadi leaders as targets. The police took no action against them, but went ahead with registration of a police case under PPC 506/2 against Mr Ameer Qaisar Daud, Ahmadi, for criminal intimidation.

The mullas gave the administration and the police one hour after the conference to act against Ahmadis. The administration requested the clerics to give them three days, which they granted. The mullas threatened that, ‘otherwise’ they will take action on their own. If the authorities decide to be so timid in imposing law and order, it is understandable why the mulla treats them with such contempt.

In the meantime, the police inspector incharge of the post at Tatta Pani sent for the president of the local Ahmadiyya community and told him to remove the Kalima from the Ahmadiyya mosque, as demanded by the mulla. He conveyed, that he had received these orders from ‘above’. The president told him that he would not undertake this sacrilege, nor would  allow the mulla to do it.

The situation remained tense, while the politicians, the administration and police officials decided where to draw the line, or allow the writ of the mulla to prevail.

According to press reports, many Muslim leaders in those days urged the West in the UN to clamp down on attacks on Islam by the extreme right. One of them, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the battle was between moderates and extremists in all religions. “We must, and I repeat, we must urgently reclaim the centre and the moral high ground that has been usurped from us.” However, it is a pity that most Muslim leaders are quick to forget what they said at the UN, as soon as they return home.

It is on record that in 2004 when Pakistan, in the Musharraf era, was a member of Human Rights Council at the UN, it sponsored a resolution entitled: “Promotion of Religious and Cultural Understanding, Harmony and Co-operation”. However, while this Resolution was at a preparatory stage at home, the police in Sindh charged 15 Ahmadis under the Ahmadi-specific law for writing Bismillah (In the name of God) and Assalamo Alaikum (Islamic greetings) etc on wedding invitation cards. The police proceeded to arrest the bridegroom and his father. It was in the same days that Mr. Muhammad Iqbal, an Ahmadi accused was given life imprisonment in a fabricated case of blasphemy, at the demand of a state attorney.

 

Disturbance in Kotli, AJK

Kotli, Azad Kashmir; October, 2010: It is reported in the preceding report that miscreants destroyed the gate of the Ahmadiyya mosque in September. Ironically, a police case under PPC 506 was registered against an Ahmadi, Mr. Ameer Qaiser Dawood. Although his bail before arrest was obtained, he was sent behind bars on September 30, 2010. He was released the next day. He felt threatened, but the police and the administration hesitated to act against the agitators. His two daughters are doing a computer course in the I.T. Centre. When they were returning home on September 28, 2010, two unknown persons in a car intercepted them in an open market and threatened them with murder. Again on October 2, 2010, when they were returning home, two motor-cyclists called them ‘Mirzai Kafir (infidels)’, abused them on the main road and sped away.

Mr. Dawood’s family is living in fear. The local police was requested to provide protection but they took no action.

 

Seven Ahmadis arrested

Goi, Azad Kashmir; February 27, 2010: A group of religious bigots led a procession on 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) birthday. They availed this blessed occasion to use abusive language against the Ahmadiyya community and pelt an Ahmadiyya mosque in muhalla Narr with stones. They indulged in violence too.

After this incident these hostile elements proceeded to the main Ahmadiyya mosque ‘Baitul Aman’ in Goi. They raised hostile slogans and made provocative speeches. The following day, a procession was led out in the district headquarters of Kotli. The administration registered a case under PPC 295-A, 341/324, 147/148, 149/337A, 296 with FIR No. 79 against seven Ahmadis and arrested them as demanded by the raucous crowd.

The plea for bail of the accused was postponed for some days due to the pressure of the religious extremists.

These Ahmadis remained in prison for some days for no reason other than their faith.

 

Ahmadis barred from animal sacrifice on Eid

Kotli AJK; November 2010:    The following story in Azad Kashmir is based on reports in the daily Nawa-e-Waqt, November 16, 2010 and the daily Jammu wa Kashmir, November 16, 2010.

Qari Abdul Waheed Qasmi, the president of the Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat (safeguarding the end of prophethood) said in a press conference that the collective sacrifice of animals would be offered by them on Eid in areas where Qadianis (Ahmadis) are active. As Qadianis deny the end of prophethood and are a non-Muslim minority, they are not allowed to sacrifice animals on Eid-ul-Adha as this is Sha‘ar-e-Islam (an Islamic practice), nor can the meat of their sacrificial animals be distributed among Muslims, for it is haram (forbidden by Shariah) for them. If Qadianis (Ahmadis) sacrifice animals and distribute meat among Muslims, the Tahrik Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat would invoke the law against them on the charge of blaspheming against Sha‘ar-e-Islam.

This shows how the law is maliciously appropriated to deny freedom of religion to Ahmadis. Ahmadis had to act with caution on Eid day and be very discreet while offering their animal sacrifices.

 

Another report from Azad Kashmir

Bhimbar, Azad Kashmir; October 2010: In Azad Kashmir, Ahmadis are persecuted, and the politicians do not conceal the fact that they are involved in the harassment. This encourages extremist elements, which include banned outfits, to openly harm and harass Ahmadis.

On October 8, 2010, opponents held an End of Prophethood conference in Dheri Wattan near Bhimbar. The event was organized by members of the outlawed Jaish Muhammad. The speaker urged that those who had joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat should be made to recant. They passed a resolution to implement a boycott of all Ahmadi businesses. Accordingly Mr. Khurshid Ahmad who runs a clinic is experiencing a complete boycott. A fresh convert to Ahmadiyyat has been turned out of his home and separated from his family.

Jaish Muhammad have distributed anti-Ahmadiyya hate literature in bazaars and offices. This drive is backed by Pir Atiqur Rehman, a minister who finds it politically advantageous to support religious thugs and immoderates.

The hate literature carries the following UK address:

Khatme Nabuwwat Academy

387 Katherine Road        Forest Gate

London E7 8LT       United Kingdom

Phone: 020 8471 4434

Mobile: 0798 486 4668, 0795 803 3404

Email: khatmenubuwwat@hotmail.com

 

 

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