Disinterment on orders of the police
Chak No. 19, District Sargodha; October 31, 2010: Mr. Shahzad Warraich, Ahmadi, 42 years old, died on October 29, 2010 a natural death. His relatives buried him in Chak 19 graveyard where his elders are also buried. It is a common graveyard and the locals had no problems with Ahmadis buried there.
On October 31, police officials came over to the village and told the family of the deceased to remove the body from the graveyard. When told that the locals had no objection to the burial, the police said that some clerics in Sargodha had objected to the burial and the body must be removed in the interest of law and order. The situation caused great suffering and stress to the bereaved family. However, they had to comply with police orders. The body was exhumed on October 31 and buried in Chak No. 46, a few miles away.
Dozens of such disinterments have taken place since the promulgation of the infamous Ordinance XX of General Zia in 1984. Prior to that Ahmadis were buried in common graveyards of Muslims. Thousands of old graves of Ahmadi deceased remain in common graveyards all over the country.
Sargodha police is known for its ready capitulation to the mulla’s wishes even though the religious extremists and terrorists have caused repeated problems for the authorities in this city.
Ahmadi denied burial in Ahmadiyya graveyard
Pir Mahal, Toba Tek Singh; April 13, 2010: Mr. Ihsan-ur-Rahman, Ahmadi, S/O Mr. Habib-ur-Rahman died on April 13, 2010 in Pir Mahal. His grave was being prepared in the Ahmadiyya graveyard when some opponents forcibly stopped the work. Later, the police arrived at the scene and disallowed the burial, under mounting pressure. As a result, the dead body had to be taken to Rabwah, where it was buried the following day.
Tehsil Municipal Administration Kamaliya had allocated this plot of land in 1988 as an Ahmadiyya graveyard. Ahmadis have buried their dead there ever since.
In order to ensure the security of the graveyard the local Ahmadiyya community decided to build a boundary wall around it. For his own vested interest, a neighbor, Iftikhar Ali, proprietor of Madni Estate Agency was opposed to this wall. He heads a Qabza group; 11 criminal cases are recorded against him at the Police Station Sadar, Pir Mahal.
Last year on June 7, 2009, Iftikhar Ali, leading a gang of approximately 60 armed men attacked the graveyard and demolished the newly-built periphery wall. They set fire to a tractor-trolley and a generator at the site. They fired in the air and threw stones at Ahmadis present there. The demolished wall was approximately 400 feet in length. The damage done was approximately worth a million rupees. Iftikahr Ali wanted a 15-feet wide passage through the graveyard for personal reasons. As Ahmadis were not in a position to give up this land, Ali gave the situation a religious twist to take what was not his. He approached clerics and the local press for support. They made statements prejudicial to the Ahmadiyya community and made number of false accusations.
The burial of an Ahmadi was denied there. The police gave no assistance to the affected family. It is common practice that whenever anybody wants to violate the basic rights of members of the Ahmadiyya community, they do so under a religious excuse. The authorities, rather than enforcing the law, find it convenient to violate it further on the excuse of ‘law and order’. In this, they are supported by the politicians in power.
Ahmadiyya central office wrote a letter to the higher authorities informing them of the situation and requested immediate action to undo the injustice done to Ahmadis. No relief was provided. Moreover the Tehsil Administration shamelessly cancelled its notification of allotment to Ahmadis. Justice provided!
Ahmadi denied burial in public cemetery
Jalalpur Jattan, Gujrat; August 2010: Mirza Sultan Ahmad died in his village in August 2010. He was to be buried in the village cemetery according to his will. The local anti-Ahmadi group obstructed the burial which caused a quarrel. The police were informed who detained the two parties. The SHO advised his son to avoid confrontation, bury his father in their own land beside the public cemetery. The son took a wise decision, abandoned the plan of local burial and took the dead body to Rabwah for burial.
A few days later, these agitators thought of another mischief and decided to disinter the corpse of the son of Mirza Sultan Ahmad, who died a year and half ago and was buried in the village graveyard. The police were informed and the SP was contacted. The SHO went to the village. He addressed the villagers in the mosque after the Friday congregation, and warned them against disturbing the peace. He pointedly warned the mischief-makers in the village.
After this timely action of the SHO, the situation was normal in the village.
Burial problem of a convert
Chak no. 97 GB, Faisalabad; August 16, 2010: Mr. Tahir Ghani S/O Mr. Munawwar Ahmad Khalid died in a road accident on 15 August, 2010. His body was brought to his village. He joined Ahmadiyyat few months before his death. Some of his relatives are Ahmadi while a majority of them are non-Ahmadis. Ahmadis decided to perform burial rites. However his non-Ahmadi relatives, urged by a mulla, barred them. Ahmadis approached the Numberdar (local revenue official) and other elders of the village. It was mutually decided that first the Ahmadis would say his funeral prayer, thereafter the non-Ahmadis say the funeral prayer and bury him. At this, approximately 100 Ahmadis from far and wide came there to say the funeral prayer of their Ahmadi brother.
When the Ahmadis were about to say the funeral prayer, the non-Ahmadis violated their previous agreement and declared that they would not allow them to do so. The Ahmadis decided to resist and took over the dead body to proceed with the burial rites. The situation became tense. The mulla threatened to disturb the peace of the village. At this Ahmadis decided to forego what was their right and maintained the peace.
When the deceased was alive, the mulla urged others to boycott him socially. When he died, the mulla decided to deny Ahmadis the chance to offer his funeral prayers. Obviously, the mulla was interested only in making mischief.
Denial of funeral rights
Bhimber (Azad Kashmir); August 11, 2010: Raja Farman Ali, an elderly Ahmadi died in Bhimber on August 11, 2010. He joined Ahmadiyyat in 1945.
Almost a decade ago, his two sons also became Ahmadis, but they could not cope with the opposition, so they recanted. However, their father remained steadfast in his faith.
At the time of Mr. Ali’s death, the Ahmadiyya community intended to perform his burial rites, however his sons refused the entitled burial to the deceased, and forbade Ahmadis from joining the funeral.
Mr. Ali, an Ahmadi, was buried by a few non-Ahmadis, and Ahmadis were made to stay away.
Indecent conduct at burial
Chak 32/2R, District Okara; October 2010: There are only two Ahmadi families in this village. They live in harmony with the village community. The mulla, however, attempted to destroy the peace of the village at an occasion which otherwise called for compassion and goodwill.
Rana Masud Ahmad, a local Ahmadi died on October 4, 2010. His death was announced on a loudspeaker from a local facility as well as the village mosque where non-Ahmadis worship. As is the custom, the village folk came and offered condolences and sympathy to the bereaved family. The funeral prayer for the deceased was held at home and some non-Ahmadis also joined the occasion. It was a smooth farewell to the departed soul – till the mulla took notice.
The mulla decided to speak on the event in his Friday sermon, four days later. He spoke on the subject of Ahmadiyyat and Ahmadis in a very negative tone. He was slanderous and abusive. He told the worshippers that the announcement should have conveyed that so-and-so Qadiani, a dog, had died. He called the deceased a Kafir, and announced the edict that those who had offered his funeral prayers had also become Kafir and their marriage bonds stood broken.
Ahmadis felt very disturbed. Rana Mubashir Ahmad, an elderly Ahmadi had a meeting with the members of the local Mosque Committee and protested over the mulla’s conduct. The members agreed that the mulla had acted in violation of Islamic teachings of tolerance and sympathy on such occasions. They said that they will hold the mulla accountable for his bad behaviour.
Later they told the Ahmadis that the mulla was taken to task, and he had apologized to them. Some of the village elders were of the opinion that he should have apologized on the loudspeaker.
Grave of an Ahmadi dug open
Chak 53 Janubi, Sargodha; April 9, 2009: An Ahmadi died on March 27, 2009. The next day he was buried in the public graveyard. His other brother an Ahmadi is also buried in there.
Some sectarian elements gathered after the burial and demanded the disinterment of the deceased. Later, they applied to the nearby police station for disinterment. Relatives of the deceased requested the Commissioner to intervene in their favour but the pressure from clerics kept mounting. The Magistrate expressed his helplessness in the face of the agitation and ordered removal of the dead body. On April 9, the disinterment took place in the presence of the magistrate. The coffin was moved to a distant town for reburial.
An un-nerving burial problem
Chak 287/GB, District Toba Tek Singh: Mr. Shah’s Ahmadi daughter-in-law expired on January 5, 2009. He had a grave dug up for her burial in the graveyard that is in common use of locals since 1876. During the night, instigated by some seniors, a few people refilled the empty grave with earth. The next day, the village elders refused to help, so Ahmadis went to the District headquarters where the DCO did not bother to read their application, instead directed them to see the DPO (District Police Officer). When they contacted his office, they were told by the clerk that the DPO was aware of the problem, but was not in a position to help. So the delegation returned to the village and buried the girl in their farm.
A few days later another Ahmadi died in the same village. His wife and children are not Ahmadis. The mulla announced that Ahmadis may not offer his funeral prayers, see the dead man’s face at the occasion of last rites, and participate in his burial. In the evening they conveyed a threat to Ahmadis that they would dig out all the dead Ahmadis from the graveyard. This disturbed Ahmadis greatly. They wrote applications to the authorities. At this the mulla calmed down a bit and directed his flock not to indulge in any disinterment. Some of the locals sympathized with Ahmadis because of this despicable behaviour.
Burial in public graveyard is denied
Thehri, District Sargodha; May 14, 2009: District Sargodha was the scene of another grave sectarian incident. On this occasion an Ahmadi family was denied the right to bury a loved one in the public graveyard of Thehri village.
Ms. Bibi died at about 2 p.m. on May 14, 2009. Ahmadis had always been buried in the public graveyard prior to her death. This time when Ahmadis dug up a grave to bury Ms. Bibi, the mullas agitated. They sent a van-load of religious bigots and boys to the site. They told Ahmadis to stop further work on the grave, and insisted that they would not allow an Ahmadi burial there.
They informed the police of their intentions and told them to support their plans. The police arrived at the scene and, in league with the mulla, told the Ahmadis not to commit a burial to the graveyard. The Ahmadis had no choice but to comply with the police’s orders. They took the dead body to another village and buried it there. The police remained with them until the end of the burial to ensure that the mulla’s will prevailed.
Denial of appropriate final rites to an Ahmadi dead
Moro, District Naushero Feroz (Sindh): Mr. Nasir Khan, an Ahmadi elder died in his village in the first week of February. He was a practicing Ahmadi. Some of his children are Ahmadis while some are not. At the occasion of his death, the local mulla created a great deal of fuss and imposed a ban on Ahmadis to give him an Ahmadiyya burial.
The deceased’s Ahmadi sons and friends were told that they were not permitted to offer his funeral prayers, nor were they allowed to participate in his burial. The mulla threatened violence if his command was not carried out.
Ahmadis decided to forego their rights and stay well clear of the mischief. However, it is a pity that Ahmadi children of an Ahmadi dead could not give him an Ahmadiyya burial. The mulla’s will prevails as the state leaves him unbridled.
Burial problem contrived
Chak 565/GB; District Faisalabad: An Ahmadi woman died in the Chak on 16 April 2009. She was buried in the Ahmadiyya graveyard. However, there was more to follow when a few days later the police told her relatives to report to the police post at 4 P.M. on April 25.
A delegation of Ahmadis went to the police post and told the inspector that Ahmadis had buried their dead in that graveyard during the past 100 years. The graveyards of the two communities were distinctly separate.
The opponents however took their plea to the Area Magistrate who heard the case on 27 April. He ordered the police SHO and the Patwari (revenue clerk) to visit the site and submit a report.
Ahmadis presented copy of the land record to the officials.
Bavewali 232/RB, district Faisalabad; August 2, 2009: An Ahmadi, Mr. M. Afzal died here on August 2, 2009. Preparations for his burial were being carried out when the Imam of the local mosque threatened on the loudspeaker that the burial of Muhammad Afzal would not be allowed in a Muslim graveyard nor would any Muslim observe his funeral prayer. This graveyard is not exclusive to any sect; 15 Ahmadis’ graves are already situated here. The police intervened and reprimanded the mulla for his announcement, and assured security to the Ahmadis. However, by the time the dead body was about to be taken to the graveyard, a hostile crowd had gathered there. The police thereafter wilted, and advised caution to Ahmadis. Ahmadi elders then decided to take the body to another village for burial.
Chak No. 426/GB, district Toba Tek Singh; September 7, 2009: Mrs. Abdul Majeed died on September 6, 2009. A grave was prepared in the common graveyard the following day for her burial. Some miscreants arrived at the scene and opposed the burial. The authorities and the elders of the locality intervened, and allocated a separate plot for the burial of Ahmadi dead. A grave was dug up there, and the burial took place.
Khurpa, district Sialkot: September 12, 2009: Mr. Rahmat Ali, an 80 year old Ahmadi, died here, and a grave was prepared for him in the common graveyard. Some miscreants and extremists gathered there to oppose and stop his burial. The DSP Pasroor arrived at the scene. He advised Ahmadis to bury him at another location, and he undertook that the graveyard would be divided in the next few days after which the dead body could be shifted back. Ahmadis decided to take the coffin to a nearby village, but a non-Ahmadi friend offered a piece of his own land where the burial then took place.
Authorities and mullas desecrate an Ahmadiyya graveyard
Lahore: The Site Edition of the Daily Times entered the following report in its issue of April 20, 2007:
Friday, April 20, 2007
Don’t fence your graveyard, police tell Ahmadis
Ahmadis told to remove wall after clerics oppose ‘mini-Rabwah’
LAHORE: Police has asked the Ahamdiyya Community to demolish by today (Friday) a boundary wall on a piece of land it had bought to extend its cemetery, after threats by local clerics who said it was a move to build a “mini-Rabwah”.
The community had bought six acres of land in the outskirts of Lahore to extend an existing cemetery, but local clerics – allegedly from Sunni Tehrik and Tehrik-e-Tahafaz-e-Naomoos-e-Risalat – began to provoke the residents of the locality to oppose the construction of a boundary wall on the land.
The clerics, Daily Times learnt, also made announcements in local mosques and held a couple of demonstrations.
Instead of protecting the community, the police and the local administration are pressuring it to stop the construction and demolish the part of the wall it had already built.
The community had bought the land from an Ahmadi landlord at a place called Handu Gujjar, seven miles from Shalimar Gardens off the Grand Trunk Road going towards Wagah. No local authority or housing society is prepared to offer them space for a cemetery in Lahore.
Part of the land has been a graveyard for 10 years, while the rest of it was vacant. The community had recently begun building a wall around it.
On April 15, 2007, a group of clerics (not from the locality) began to say they would not allow a “mini-Rabwah” in Handu Gujjar. Residents say the place had earlier been peaceful and there was complete inter-communal harmony.
On April 16, the Mughalpura SP summoned representatives of the Ahmadiyya Community and a group of clerics and told them to come to the Manawan police station to “show their strength” knowing that Ahmadis are a minority.
This mobilised the clerics, who used loudspeakers and mosques to urge people to “unite against Ahmadis”. They were able to gather about 150 clerics and madrassa students the next day, convincing the Ahmadis to abandon the “illegal construction”.
Later, the SP said the clerics now wanted the height of the boundary wall lowered from 6 feet high to 4 feet, with barbed wire on the top. In the evening, a group of clerics delivered more speeches on loudspeakers and consequently, a group of 500 to 600 men gathered to give the Ahmadiyya Community a “10-day ultimatum” to demolish the boundary wall.
The SP then told Ahmadis to either demolish the wall or let the government do it, lest a mob of mullahs demolished it itself, which he said police could not stop.
Two days ago, the Ahmadiyya Community received a notice from the local town authority that the construction was illegal. The police has now asked the community to remove the wall by Friday (today).
Mughalpura SP Dr Rizwan was not available for comment, but the station house officer (Manawan police station) said the police could not do anything to protect Ahmadis from clerics. “Only the media can protect the rights of that community,” he said.
Two days after this report, a large contingent of police arrived at the site at about 05:30, well before sunrise, blocked all entries and demolished the boundary wall of the graveyard. Ahmadis approached the local police station to have a complaint registered, but the SHO refused to oblige.
Following is also relevant to the incident:
- It was ridiculous for the mulla to suggest that a ‘mini-Rabwah’ was going to be built on 14 acres of graveyard land.
- The land is in the rural area well outside Lahore. Not a single house in Handu Gujjar has been built on a design approved by the local Council. Authorities used the objection of municipal permission for the wall only as a shield to comply with bullish demand of the mulla.
- According to the Daily Times of April 23, 2007, “Several religious organizations had put up provocative banners and clerics were giving hate speeches in mosques urging the Muslims to wage a jihad against Ahmadis. The city police did not take action on the hate campaign. … A senior official asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue told the Daily Times that the government had decided to raze the wall under pressure from certain elements for the fear that the issue may ignite into a major problem for the government”.
- Ahmadis’ graves and graveyards have been under threat for years. Twenty-six disinterments of Ahmadi dead are on record all over Pakistan. Extremist elements have dug up Ahmadi graves in the middle of night and left the corpses out in the wildernesses for beasts. The graveyard in Rabwah itself was vandalized, therefore its outer wall had to be raised to nine feet — a photo of the same was included by the UK Parliamentary Human Rights Commission in its Report (January 2007) at page 58.
- Clerics’ group that led this agitation calls itself Tehrik-e-Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat (The Movement to Protect the Honour of the Prophet). It is obvious that the demolition of the Ahmadiyya graveyard’s outer wall had no relationship to the honour of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Therefore, the group betrayed its real aim — it is anything but the protection of the honour of the Prophet.
- The authorities served an ultimatum to Ahmadis, and before the expiry of the given time, proceeded in the wee hour to itself demolish the boundary wall of the graveyard. This speaks volumes of the scare of the mulla to which the government readily succumbed. It is as if the mulla is already ruling the country.
- The government’s rhetoric on human rights and freedom of religion and belief is nothing but verbosity. The government is very conscious of improving Pakistan’s image abroad. It’s a lost cause as long as the state continues to capitulate before obscurantism. If the state cannot confront the mulla in Handu Gujjar, it will not be able to do so elsewhere. Subsequent events in FATA etc. proved that.
At the time of this outrage the province of the Punjab was ruled by Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi of Gujrat the chief minister and Lt General (Retd) Khalid Maqbool, the governor. The incident raised alarm in the civil society. A Fact Finding Report by Amnesty International Lahore Group, Pakistan is placed here.
Khuda Abad, District Badin, Sindh: June 8, 2007: The mulla agitated and the administration cooperated with him to force Ahmadis disinter the dead body of an Ahmadi woman from the common graveyard and bury her elsewhere.
Ms Bambi Bibi, wife of Mr. Ilyas Ahmad died on June 5, 2007. She was buried at the local common graveyard where her husband was buried eight years ago. Other Ahmadis are also buried there for decades past.
Subsequent to the burial a few mullas started agitating. In the lead was a cleric Mulla Abdus Sattar Chawara who is a sworn enemy of the Ahmadiyya community. He mustered approximately 200 men and posed a law and order problem.
The administration formed a committee to propose a solution. The committee decided that Bambi Bibi’s remains should stay there, but in future no Ahmadi should be buried there. A few miscreants, however, refused to accept this verdict and persisted in their agitation. The administration, therefore, decided in favour of exhumation, and the police supervised the implementation of the ugly decision.
The Daily Times reported the incident on June 14, 2007, and wrote: “An Ahmadiyya spokesman from the community’s headquarters in Rabwah strongly condemned the “discriminatory, unjust and inhumane act”. He said just like previous regimes, the present government had failed to protect their rights.”
Since 1984, this is the 27th recorded incident of disinterment of Ahmadi dead. Such exhumations are a blot on the face of society in Pakistan.
Disinterment by orders of the police
Chanda Singh Wala, Qasur; March 16, 2006: A girl child of Mr. Muhammad Hanif, Ahmadi, died on March 8, and was buried in the common graveyard of the village. After about one week, a whispering campaign by obscurantist elements gained momentum and the police was co-opted by the mullah to have the dead child removed. The police acquired a statement under oath from the relatives of the deceased that they will never use the graveyard again. Having obtained the undertaking, they assured the family that no further action will follow. However, the same evening, the police visited Chanda Singh again in three van loads, entered the Ahmadi’s home, took control of his telephone and told them to disinter the dead body. This was done at about 21:30.
The Ahmadi community officials came to know of the proceedings, so they tried to contact higher police officials at district level. None was available. At about 23:30 the DPO himself phoned the Ahmadi district president, informed him of the disinterment and told him that the dead body was being brought over to Qasur for re-burial. When the president protested, the police chief responded that he was sorry for the incident but in the interest of law and order and in view of the ignorance (Jahalat) of the masses, the police had to act the way it did. Eventually at about 02:30 the girl was re-buried in the Ahmadi-specific graveyard in Qasur, in the police presence.
The incident was grievous and shocking for the local and district Ahmadiyya community. It is indicative of the unbridled extremism and the unwillingness of the administration to control it.
Burial of a dead Ahmadi – an ordeal
Thatha Chando, (near Rabwah), December 5, 2006: It is common knowledge that life of an Ahmadi is difficult in Pakistan, but his or her death is equally problematic. The incident in a small village near Rabwah should illustrate.
Ms. Bakht Bibi, an Ahmadi of Thatha Chando died on December 5, 2006. It was intended to bury her in the common graveyard of the village. However, Mulla Ghulam Mustafa of Muslim Colony, Rabwah came to know about it. He has been lately extra-active on the anti-Ahmadiyya front, and succeeded in November to have an Ahmadiyya prayer-center closed down in Ahmad Nagar (near Rabwah).
The common graveyard has many graves of Ahmadi relatives of Ms Bibi. A grave had already been dug there for her, and the local villagers had no objection to her burial there. However, at the report of the mullah, a police contingent arrived promptly at the graveyard, and its leader conveyed his orders not to permit burial of the deceased in the graveyard nor anywhere else in the village. He said that he had been instructed by his superiors to fill up the grave with earth. Mulla Ghulam Mustafa accompanied by a few acolytes also arrived at the site. The situation became difficult and tense.
Relatives of the deceased requested the police SHO that if the burial in the graveyard was not permitted, then they should be allowed to bury her in private land located 1 ½ kilometers away. The SHO replied that even for that he would have to get clearance from his superiors. It was with some difficulty that this permission was granted. The mullah displayed his anger even at this, and it was with some difficulty that he was controlled and pacified.
Approximately 250 men offered her funeral prayers – most of them were non-Ahmadis. The burial was undertaken in privately owned land. The incident was a heavy dose of anguish and agony for the grief-stricken family.
Disinterment of a dead Ahmadi and the cruel follow-up
Kariala, District Hafizabad: Malik Feeroz ud Din, father of Malik Ejaz Ahmad president of the local Ahmadiyya community, died on July 22, 2003. He was buried in privately owned land of his nephew, Mr. Haroon Ahmad. The opponent party objected to the burial on flimsy ground and approached the police and then the court. Finally the Session Judge gave the verdict that the grave of the Ahmadi is not located in the Muslims’ graveyard but in the private land of Haroon Ahmad, while the Muslim graveyard is elsewhere; Muslims have unauthorizedly built graves at the present site which belongs in fact to the provincial government.
After this final decision by a senior court, the opposition dared to dig up the dead body at night and decamped with it. Ahmadis reported the matter to the police. They charged 18 individuals under PPC 297/201. However they were bailed out, and the police declared them ‘not-involved’.
The dead body has not been recovered by the police. The Ahmadiyya community is greatly distressed. However, as the Ahmadis got no relief from the authorities, nor were the remains of their deceased elder recovered, they have been taunted and insulted by the village folk. This resulted in tension and provocation, and at the complaint of a local cleric Hafiz Sajid, the police registered a case against 2 Ahmadis and two of their non-Ahmadi friends under PPC 337 AII and LII. Of the two Ahmadis, Mr. Tahir Ejaz was arrested and sent to the jail at Pindi Bhatian. Later he was released on bail. Mr. Shoaib Ahmad, aged 16 was left free to face the trial with bail before arrest that was subsequently confirmed.
Ahmadis are greatly disturbed and harassed on account of these developments. The authorities provided them no support, nor did their duty to locate the dead body. And now, two members of the bereaved family face criminal charges.
The case is registered as FIR 203 at Police Station Kassoki, district Hafizabad on September 8, 2004 under PPC 337 AII and LII also 34/109, against Messers Tahir Ejaz, Shoaib Ahmad and two others.
Mr. Tahir Ejaz was arrested by the police at the complaint of a religious activist in village Kariala where dead body of an Ahmadi had been disinterred and disposed by extremist elements. The police have not been able to discover the corpse, nor have they named the perpetrator of the crime.
Disinterment by order
Shaukatabad, District Sheikhupura; June 28, 2004: Mr Naseer Ahmad, an Ahmadi public servant in WAPDA died while on duty at the end of June. He was buried in a common graveyard.
Mullahs of the Khatme Nabuwwat organization agitated against this burial, so the police had to intervene. The authorities decided that as Ahmadis had no separate graveyard, let the burial stay. Ahmadis were told to apply to the government for grant of land to have a graveyard of their own.
A few days later, the mullahs took up the agitation once again and revived the dispute. Authorities, ever willing and ready to concede ground to the mullah where Ahmadis are concerned, changed their earlier decision and ordered Ahmadis to dig up the grave and take out the deceased. With a heavy heart and in great distress, Ahmadis complied, disinterred the dead body under police supervision, and reburied it in personal land of a relative.
The mullah issued statements of joy and satisfaction at the ‘final victory’ and demanded that the brother of the deceased be charged under PPC 298C, the anti-Ahmadiyya law. The Urdu press obliged by printing the great news. (The Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; July 2, 2004)
Continuous harassment of Ahmadis at Sadullahpur
Sadullahpur, District Mandi Bahauddin: Mr. Ghulam Rasul, Ahmadi, died here on March 6, 2003. He belonged to the Jat Hajan clan and was accordingly buried in the joint graveyard specific to the clan. Many days later some miscreants from outside and a few locals started an agitation demanding that the deceased body should be disinterred and buried elsewhere. As the situation grew tense, Ahmadis reported to the police who took no action at their request. Thereafter the agitators approached the police, whereby the police moved fast and registered a criminal case against the men of the Ahmadiyya community of the village, under section PPC 298 and 297. These sections prescribe imprisonment up to one year and fine. Eighteen Ahmadis were named subsequently in the proceedings and remained at risk of arrest by the police. The police arrested the president of the local Ahmadiyya Community along with four other Ahmadis. The police acted in a most culpable and condemnable manner in the incident. Later the detainees were released on bail; however the prosecution goes on ever since. This large number of accused has to frequently present themselves in the court. This disturbs greatly their daily lives, and they have to incur costs of their defense. In addition, their opposition, in co-operation with state institutions like police etc continues to foment further trouble to make their lives troublesome.
Recently on October 15, Ahmadi-bashers again went to the police and complained that the niche in Ahmadiyya mosque hurts their feeling, as such a criminal case be registered against Ahmadis under the Ahmadi-specific laws. Ahmadis had to work hard to save their skin and avoid getting implicated in still another police and court case. Eventually the case was settled when Ahmadis were made to undertake that they will not use greeting of ‘salaam’ (peace) to non-Ahmadis and also build another boundary wall around the protruding niche. It is somewhat like telling Christens to build enclosing brickwork around the steeples of their churches as the sight of a steeple hurts the feelings of Muslims. Crazy!
Then, on October 27 another incident happened. The local mullah was blaring himself hoarse on his mosques loudspeaker at about 3.00 a.m. at night. An Ahmadi who lives close to the mosque has a sick wife who was greatly disturbed by the noise. At his protest, the mullah switched off the speaker for the moment, but the next day he mustered a large number of his flock and exhorted them to agitation. The police also arrived at about 1.00 a.m. The mullah insisted that a criminal case be registered against the Ahmadis. He even demanded that the Blasphemy clause PPC 295C be invoked. The police moved to apprehend an accused Ahmadi but he fled, so they took away his son. It was a great crisis for the local Ahmadi community. It took two/three days of negotiations and Pakistani style of handling that the police agreed not to register the case. To be an Ahmadi in Pakistan is to be at risk – all the time.
Death of a convert and ordeal of his family
Qasur: Muhammad Ramzan, having undertaken the necessary research decided to join the Ahmadiyya community approximately six years ago. Later in 1999, his family also decided to convert. They lived in Qasur and the whole family became active members of the community. Mr. Ramzan was not old, only 36 or 37 years, but had a heart attack on November 13, and died. All the other relatives of the deceased are non-Ahmadis. Ahmadi elders decided to consult them regarding the burial arrangements. They left it all to Ahmadis to perform the final rites and the burial. This was done.
Immediately afterwards, the distant relatives got activated and undertook all fair and unfair means to get Mr. Ramzan’s wife and children back into the fold of the majority. They urged them to declare that they revert to Islam. The widow initially resisted but then wilted under the increasing and persistent pressure. Her brothers threatened her with dire consequences, and told her to go to the mosque, recant and recite afresh the Kalima or face death. Eventually they made her yield to their demands. They made her take a bath and proceed to the mosque along with her four children. There she was made to recant. Representatives of the vernacular press were there and the daily Nawa-i-Waqt and Pakistan gave the great news to their readers that Ramzan’s widow and her children had accepted Islam. It was reported that Sorayya (the widow) and her children were given cash awards and Eid gifts. The mullah told her to destroy all her bedding and utensils (as unclean) and she would be provided with new ones. He also declared an end to the boycott of Mr. Ramzan’s general store, as ‘Ramzan was now dead and the store is under the management of his young son who has become a Muslim’.
There is tension in the neighborhood.
Defiling of graves
Berianwala, District Toba Tek Singh: Some miscreants undertook to damage and defile Ahmadi graves in the local Ahmadiyya graveyard in the month of February. Five of the graves had engraved tombstones. Three of these were completely damaged with a hummer or some such tool. One more was partly damaged, while another was spared. Authorities took no notice of the outrage.
Marble plates on these tombstones were broken, especially their upper parts where scriptural writings were engraved. A mullah has opened a madrassa in the village. He is known to have participated in anti-Ahmadiyya activities in the past. He could be the author of this outrage.
Disinterment of an Ahmadi dead
Chak 116/12-L, District Sahiwal; January 7, 2003: Mirza Muhammad Ayub, Ahmadi died on November 28, 2002. He was buried in the common graveyard of the village. Many days after the last rites, clerics raised the issue and demanded disinterment of the dead body. The mullah has a way of promoting his unworthy agenda. He issued press statements, got them printed in Urdu newspapers, called on the authorities, made threatening speeches during Friday sermons and persisted in his campaign. Five weeks after the burial, the clerics managed to enlist the support of authorities who ordered Ahmadis to take out the remains of the deceased and shift them elsewhere. Eventually, on January 7, the police supervised the disinterment operation. The deceased was shifted and reburied – not in any graveyard, but in his own agricultural land. The Ahmadiyya Community felt abandoned by the state.
Vandalism at an Ahmadiyya holy site
Rabwah: Bahashti Maqbrah, the special graveyard at Rabwah is a venerable site for Ahmadis from all over the world. A mulla, Allah Yar Arshad has occupied a mosque that was built without authorization in the land adjacent to the graveyard. He finds it a perfect location to hurl invective and insults from a loudspeaker at visiting Ahmadis, and he indulges in various other forms of provocation also. He has been reported to the police and is well-known in official circles. The authorities are however shy in showing him the penal code. Recently, this mullah and his followers thought of a new form of provocation – vandalism. They tasked a few of their teen-agers to hurl stones at the lights inside the graveyard and break the florescent lights. Initially they undertook the provocation discreetly – at a time when nobody was watching. The next time, emboldened by the Ahmadiyya forbearance, they threw stones when a burial was actually in progress at about 3 p.m. on December 21. A number of lights were damaged by this vandalism.
Pachnand, district Chakwal; June 15, 2002: Pachnand has a joint community graveyard. Mr Basharat Ahmad, an Ahmadi, died on June 15, and Ahmadis arranged his burial in the graveyard, as per routine.
A few miscreants took up the issue and started a campaign to disinter the deceased. They tried to create a law and order situation. Ahmadis reported the situation to the authorities. According to the follow up report, the possibility of a disinterment was averted, at least for the time being. Ahmadis hope that the issue will not become alive again.
Tombstones at Jhelum
Jhelum; July 2002: Some Ahmadis are buried in the joint community graveyard at Jhelum. A few of them are buried there since early last century. A companion of the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, Maulana Burhanuddin was buried there in December 1905. Their tombstones carry normal Islamic epithets and scriptural sentences; these have remained there for almost a century.
Now, the Union Council, encouraged by the prevailing intolerant environment, has moved to take action to defile the tombstones, under the cover of so-called Islamic provisions of the law. Union Council 23 passed a resolution and forwarded it to the Tehsil Council to take administrative and legal action. The letter dated June 28, 2002 is signed by its Nazim, Syed Shakil Hussain Shah.
The burial problem
Chak 116/12-L, district Sahiwal: Mirza Muhammad Ayub, an Ahmadi died in this village on November 28. He had two wives, an Ahmadi and another one, a non-Ahmadi. The villagers buried him in the common graveyard. His funeral prayers were offered both by Ahmadis as well as non-Ahmadis. Apparently the local community had no problem with his faith nor with his burial. The mullah, however, has his own plans.
Many days after the final rites, the clerics managed to have a report published in the daily Nawa-i-Waqt of December 21, that a Qadiani had been buried in a Muslim graveyard, and as a result, the people and the ulema had become restive and were demanding exhumation of the dead body. Numerous mullahs reportedly threatened action and agitation. The press report mentions the mullahs’ intentions, however, the reaction of authorities is not yet known.
Tension at Merle
Merle, District Sialkot: Subsequent to the death of an old Ahmadi woman here on February 6, mullahs found sufficient material to disturb the peace of the village seriously. The local mullah was furious when he learnt that a few of his flock had participated in the funeral prayers of the deceased Ahmadi.
On February 8, mullah Ghulam Hussain of the local ‘Slaves of the Prophet’ Association spoke venomously against Ahmadis and issued a Fatwa.
On February 10, mullah Ghulam Hussain and his cousin, Ahmad Raza put up posters on walls, wherein anti-Ahmadiyya edict was promulgated that Ahmadis are apostates, hypocrites, infidels etc; anyone who thinks that Qadianis have been wronged, is himself an infidel; and anyone who does not consider him an infidel is also an infidel; all Muslims should boycott Qadianis on all occasions of life and death; it is not permitted to inquire into the health of a sick Qadiani, nor is it allowed to join his funeral; etc. etc.
The president of the local Ahmadiyya Community got worried and called on the local Nazim to convey him his concern. The Nazim appeared sympathetic.
Desecration of an Ahmadi’s grave
Bakhu Bhatti, District Sialkot: In this village, there is a community graveyard that has remained in common use of Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis since long. A few non-Ahmadi activists sent an application to the Assistant Commissioner, Pasrur that a mother of four Qadianis is buried in that graveyard since 1988, and the grave bears a tombstone on which the Islamic creed is written; it hurts the feelings of Muslims, as such action be taken against the four Qadiani sons of the deceased. The AC referred the matter to the police and the district attorney. The police urged Ahmadis to remove the tombstone. They declined to comply. The police, on its own, thereafter, dug up the tombstone and handed it over to the concerned Ahmadis. The Assistant Commissioner was also advised by the Deputy District Attorney that respondents be directed to remove the tombstone, otherwise they be charged under section PPC 298C (the anti-Ahmadi law).
Dead body of an Ahmadi disinterred
District Sargodha; July 2001: Mr. Abdullah, the lone Ahmadi in his family, died two months ago. Ahmadis proposed that he ought to be buried in an Ahmadiyya graveyard, but the deceased’s brothers decided to bury him in the non-Ahmadiyya graveyard. So they offered his funeral prayers and buried him as desired by them. Approximately eight weeks later, mullas woke up to the incident. They decided not to miss an opportunity to create tension. They issued a Fatwa that those who had offered the Qadiani’s funeral prayers had their marriage bonds annulled. They demanded that the dead body be disinterred and disposed elsewhere. Although the people generally disapproved mullas’ assertion, most of them retook their marriage vows in the face of the threat of clerics. The dead body of the deceased was disinterred in the middle of night by his brothers and shifted to the Ahmadiyya graveyard.
Malik Nazar Mohammad, Ahmadi, died at Chak 203 R/B, District Faisalabad and was buried in the common graveyard of the village, where fifteen Ahmadi graves already exist. Approximately ten days later, the extremists decided to disinter the dead body of Malik Nazar Mohammad. They sent an application to the Deputy Commissioner who directed the Superintendent Police to take action. The SP asked the SHO Nishatabad police station to act, who directed the Ahmadiyya Community to shift the dead body elsewhere. The community did not take any action on this shameful directive.
In the meantime, the community elders contacted the local magistrate and informed him that the graveyard was in common use and 10 Ahmadis had been buried there after the promulgation of the anti-Ahmadiyya constitutional amendment of 1974. The magistrate, Mr Liaquat Chattha telephoned the Acting Deputy Commissioner, Mr Babar Hasan Bharwana, who, moved by expediency rather than propriety, ordered the shifting of the dead body. Consequently, the magistrate, the police and some employees of the health department arrived at the graveyard during dark hours after sunset and performed the outrage of disinterment. Ahmadis could do nothing but watch from a distance. Many of them were in tears.
The incident is indicative of the state of submission of the Government to the will of the Mulla. The lower echelon simply follow their superiors.
Ahmadis face great difficulties to bury their dead. A death in the family is a painful occasion for anybody, but when the occasion generates concern and anxiety regarding the burial, the situation becomes highly distressing. If after the burial a disinterment is enforced, the stricken family is often affected beyond description.
Mr. Barkat Alim, an Ahmadi died on 9 January 99 at Lalewali, district Sialkot. His sons, who are not members of the Ahmadiyya Community, had him buried in the village graveyard. During the night, a few miscreants dug up his grave and disinterred the dead body. The next day, his sons were told to bury their father elsewhere. His remains were therefore taken to Dhaiti where the burial took place. The old man was 95.
A case of disinterment had occurred in the same district during the previous month as well.
Ms Saba Mahmud of Nankana, daughter of Mr Mahmud Ahmad, died on 30 June 1999. She was buried in a common graved at nearby Kot Dialdas. A few weeks later, mullas raised hue and cry over the burial and started an agitation. The police obligingly detained a number of Ahmadis and told them to open up the grave and take out the dead body. Under stress and duress this was done and the dead was given another location to rest.
Another incident happened at Sarai Alamgir, district Gujrat. An old lady, sister of the local community president, died in August 1999. Arrangements were made to bury her in the common graveyard. The grave was dug up, sidelined with bricks etc and made ready. In the meantime, mullas formed a procession and arrived at the site. They damaged the grave and threw away the bricks. Allowing for the situation, the family decided to bury her in their personally owned piece of land.
Fundamentalists do not spare Ahmadis even when they are dead. Mr. Khalil Hussain a young Ahmadi from district Sialkot died and was buried in common graveyard of the village. Ten days after his burial, some miscreants dug up his grave at night, broke open the wooden coffin and threw the dead body a few yards away. In the morning when the village folk discovered the hideous act, they felt disgusted and condemned the felons. Authorities were informed who registered a case against unknown criminals. They advised Ahmadis to take the dead body to some Ahmadi-specific graveyard in another village and bury it there. This was done. The incident had a telling effect on near relatives of the deceased. His mother had a nervous breakdown and she did not recover from the shock for many days.