Burial problems, and graveyards
Police desecrate Ahmadis’ graves in the Punjab
Chak 96 GB, Faisalabad; March 13, 2014: The Ahmadiyya head office in Pakistan issued the following press release on the above issue:
Police desecrated Kalima on gravestones of Ahmadis in Chak 96 GB, Faisalabad
Incident is in violation of human rights and human dignity; we strongly condemn it: Spokesperson Jamaat Ahmadiyya
Chenab Nagar (Rabwah): (PR) Mr. Saleem Ud Din, the spokesperson of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya has strongly condemned the deplorable act of the police of desecrating the Kalima written on the gravestones of Ahmadis in Chak No. 96 GB, Tehsil Jaranwala, District Faisalabad. According to the details, an opponent of Ahmadiyyat complained to the police that some writings on the gravestones of Ahmadis in the cemetery hurt his feelings. The local police called the Ahmadis and told them to remove the Kalima. The Ahmadis made it clear that they would not even consider erasing the Kalima nor would they allow anyone do that. Ahmadis write the Kalima, not erase it, in any case. Thereafter, a few policemen came to the cemetery and destroyed the Kalima written on tiles of seven gravestones.
The spokesperson of Jamaat Ahmadiyya expressed his intense grief over this traumatic incident, and called it violation of human dignity and human rights. He said, “It is deplorable that the administration, whose duty is to ensure peace in society and treat all equally, acts puppet of opponents of the Ahmadiyya community. This is unlawful and immoral.” He referred to the Order of the Supreme Court, of November 4, 1992 that conveys that Ahmadis have legal right to use words like Bismillah and such other Islamic terms. “Ahmadis face discrimination in Pakistan, but those who persist in such treatment to the Ahmadi dead should not forget that one day they have to appear in the Divine court,” he added.
A few days later, the Ahmadiyya central office in Rabwah wrote a letter to all concerned authorities and officials intimating them the outrage committed, and requested them for appropriate action.
Burial of baby girl obstructed
Qayampur Virkan, District Gujranwala; March 17, 2014: Nine Ahmadi families live in this village. Two-month old daughter of Mr. Zahid Ahmad died on March 17, 2014. There is a common cemetery in the village. The grave was prepared for her.
Jahangir, a miscreant asserted that Ahmadis would not be allowed to bury their dead there. He contacted other mullas and called them over.
Six mullas from nearby towns (Kamoki and Saddoki) arrived there on motorcycles. They started inciting the public against Ahmadis by declaring them apostates and Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be killed). The police also came to know and arrived at the site.
Under the circumstances, Ahmadis decided to bury the dead child in the land of an Ahmadi.
The mullas continued their provocations even after the burial upon which some notables of the village reacted and gave them shut up call.
Ordeal of disinterment
Bharokay, District Sialkot; May/June 2014: An Ahmadi household here went through a traumatic experience following the death of the head of the family, Mr. Majeed Ahmad.
Mr. Ahmad died on May 1, 2014. His non-Ahmadi friends started digging a grave for him in the common graveyard. The local mulla came to know of this and announced that a ‘non-Muslim’ will not be allowed burial in a Muslim graveyard. Hearing this, the grave diggers filled up the pit and returned home.
On hearing the mulla’s announcement some non-Ahmadi elders visited Mr. Ahmad’s family and asked them about their burial plan. They were told that they now intended to take the dead body away to some other village where there is a separate Ahmadiyya graveyard. The visitors said that they would not agree to Mr. Ahmad’s burial at a far off place, so they called on the mulla to find a solution. The mulla said that as per Sharia (sic) Mr. Ahmad could be buried 70 paces away from Muslims’ graves.
Thereafter the mulla accompanied the village elders to the graveyard. The police also arrived at the scene. The mulla himself measured 70 paces; the grave was then dug up there and Mr. Ahmad was buried after the funeral prayers. A few non-Ahmadis joined the funeral prayers.
A few days later, some miscreants sent an application to the police against the Ahmadi’s burial alleging that “Qadianis had forcibly buried their dead in Muslim graveyard, so it should be disinterred.” The police sent for the two parties to report to the police station, where the DSP got involved who sent the case to the revenue authorities.
The miscreants aimed at total victory. They threatened agitation. They even posted posters in the area, that urged the people to “Proceed to Ghukal on June 20, where Qadianis had buried their dead, so as to disinter him.”
The police got cold feet and sent for the family of the deceased and some village elders, and told them to disinter the deceased and bury him elsewhere; otherwise angry protesters were likely to set their house on fire. At this, Mr. Aslam, a non-Ahmadi nephew of the deceased assured the police that he would have the needful done.
On return Mr. Aslam obtained the signatures of the widow and two daughters of the deceased and a few village elders as consent for disinterment and delivered the paper to the police.
The police, thereafter took some of the agitating mullas in company, went to the site and had the grave dug up and the dead body was disinterred. The coffin was placed on a trolley and taken to the farm of Mr. Aslam where it was reburied in police presence.
It is not possible to find suitable words to describe the trauma, agony and distress of the bereaved family during those weeks.
Ahmadis denied burial in common cemetery
Kartarpur, District Faisalabad; August 28, 2014: Mr. Irshad Ahmad S/O Mr. Ghulam Ahmad, the president of the local Ahmadiyya community in Gangapur died on August 28, 2014.
Mr. Irshad’s non-Ahmadi relatives from Kartarpur village offered his family burial of the deceased in the common cemetery in Kartarpur, to which they agreed. Some Ahmadi youths went there to dig the grave. Some miscreants of the locality however created hue and cry and threatened that they would not allow any ‘Qadiani’ to be buried there. They made announcements in two mosques on amplifiers and urged the people to assemble in protest. The police also arrived at the scene.
Due to this hostile environment, Ahmadis decided not to bring the remains of Mr. Irshad there, and buried him in Gangapur. Action is in hand to acquire land in Kartarpur for Ahmadi dead.
Burial agony in District Gujrat
Fatehpur, Gujrat; November 1, 2014: An Ahmadi, Mirza Sadaqat Ahmad, died here on 19 October 2014. He was to be buried the next day at 11 a.m. in a graveyard shared by both Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis. The Numberdar of the village told the relatives of the deceased that some miscreants planned to disallow the burial in the graveyard. A written application was sent to the police inspector who scheduled a meeting on the issue.
Announcements were made from loudspeakers of non-Ahmadi mosques at around 7 a.m. on 20th October 2014 in filthy language against Ahmadiyyat and people were asked to assemble at the graveyard. The police arrived at the house of the village chief at about 9 a.m. Ahmadis told the authorities that being residents of the village, they had a right on the common graveyard. “Either the burial should be allowed or alternate land be allotted for burial; or let the burial take place this time and a separate graveyard be provided for next time,” Ahmadis said. The opponents did not agree to any solution. However, the police and patwari allotted a piece of land where the burial took place at 4 p.m. The police stayed on for the burial to ensure peace. Despite the separation of graveyards and settlement of the dispute, Basharat Jatt, an opponent of the Jamaat, invited a mulla Saqib Shakeel Jalali and held an event to incite the people against Ahmadis. He pressed for a boycott of Ahmadis and urged action against the Ahmadiyya mosque.
An Ahmadiyya mosque in nearby Mahmoodabad was attacked and damaged on the day of the burial. That mosque had been sealed by the police 8 months earlier. This case was taken to the court.
Rao Kay, District Narowal; November, 2014: An Ahmadi, Mr. Muhammad Boota died here on 3 November 2014. At the time of burial, a few non-Ahmadis objected to the burial of a ‘Qadiani’ in that graveyard. As the graveyard was shared by both Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis, the non-Ahmadi village chief decided to let the burial take place this time but required the Ahmadis to arrange a separate burial place for future. The deceased was buried. Ten days later two mullas, Muhammad Yaqoob and Arshad Rabbani, complained to the DPO against this burial and demanded disinterment. They held a protest demo in front of the DPO Office. The DPO visited the village and tried to resolve the issue but non-Ahmadis didn’t agree. “Our ulama who objected are not present at the moment, and some leading ulama like Allah Wasaya and others will come here on 16 November; they will decide our position,” they said.
Since the 19th century Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis have buried their dead in common public graveyards. Non-Ahmadis and their ulema rarely made it an issue. However the social division created by the anti Ahmadiyya Constitutional Amendment and Ordinance XX has turned it into a major issue, even though the law is silent on this matter.
After declaring Ahmadis non-Muslim, the government did not allocate separate burial grounds to Ahmadis at most places. As such it was only incumbent upon the authorities to allow and facilitate Ahmadi burials in common graveyards. However they do not do so, and every time a mullah raises his voice, the magistrates and the police find it convenient to tell the Ahmadis to bury their dead elsewhere, causing untold hardship on the already distressed family of the deceased. Since 1984, 37 Ahmadi dead have been exhumed and 61 denied burial in common graveyards. At some locations the authorities have allocated separate land for Ahmadis for this purpose, but even this separation is insufficient to placate the extremists. In a single incident 120 tombstones were desecrated last year in the Ahmadiyya graveyard in Model Town, Lahore, the capital of the Punjab.
Agonizing burial problems for Ahmadis
Dahranwali, District Hafizabad; January 2, 2013: Mr. Sanaullah S/O Pir Muhammad died on December 31, 2012. He was buried in the common cemetery of the village. Two days later anti-Ahmadi goons disinterred his dead body and threw it outside. The police were informed, who facilitated the re-burial at another place. An FIR was registered by the police two weeks later at P.S. Sadar Hafizabad.
Peeru, District Jhang; January 11, 2013: A common graveyard here is shared by all; Ahmadis, Sunnis and Shais have been buried in it in the past. An Ahmadi, Mr. Muhammad Sarwar died on January 11, 2013. It was intended to bury him in the common cemetery. Some non-Ahmadi residents opposed the burial there, and threatened disinterment. It was decided to bury the deceased in a nearby village where Ahmadis have an exclusive graveyard.
Exhumation of an Ahmadi lady and the spineless authorities
Chak no. 133-P, District Rahim Yar Khan; April 16, 2013: Ms. Seema Bibi, an Ahmadi died on April 16, 2013. Her funeral prayer was performed by Ahmadis at 5 p.m. the same day. Some of her non-Ahmadi relatives performed her funeral prayers separately. After this, non-Ahmadi relatives and other residents of the village allowed burial in the joint cemetery, as there was no separate graveyard for Ahmadis. All went smoothly.
The next day the president of the local Ahmadiyya community received a phone call from some elders of the village who informed him that some outsider mullas tried to create mischief over the burial of an Ahmadi woman in the common cemetery, however they had told the mullas off as it was none of their business.
Mullas now love to challenge the writ of the state and society. They approached the police. The police came to the village the next day. They called the relatives of the deceased and told them to exhume the body to avoid a law and order situation. Ahmadis called the elders of the village who supported the burial. At this the police told Ahmadis to report to the police station in the evening.
The district authorities, DCO, DPO and SP etc. were present at the police station. They urged Ahmadis to undertake disinterment as they were the peaceful and law-abiding citizens while mullas had seriously threatened law and order situation in the city. The authorities showed their helplessness in controlling the mullas. They mentioned the Joseph Colony’s incident in Lahore to intimidate Ahmadis. Ahmadis told the officials that it was the duty of the police to maintain law and order and provide shelter to the weak and not to oppress the weak further. The residents of the village told the authorities that the burial was undertaken with their consent, and if they had no problem with it, why the mullas’ objection be entertained. At this the DPO got irritated and he used improper words against Ahmadis.
At last the police came to the village during the night of April 18/19, 2013 and disinterred the Ahmadi deceased and handed over the coffin to the relatives of the deceased who transported it to the city where she was reburied in the Ahmadiyya cemetery in Rahim Yar Khan at 4 a.m. in the morning on April 19, 2013.
P.S. If the mulla is now generally exercising freely the option of violence against the state and the society, the political leaders and officials have only themselves to blame.
Refusal to allow burial of a little girl in common graveyard
Kuthuwali, District T.T. Singh; December 20, 2013: In a recent case a one-and-half year old girl was refused burial here. The girl died on 19th of December and was taken for burial on Friday 20th where the local clerics gathered with approximately fifty men who were armed with sticks and batons.
It is important to pin point that these clerics have active support from powerful ruling elite in the Punjab province, and the local administrations always flip flop to make sure that the Ahmadis are always the losers.
These gathered men refused to let Ahmadis bury their girl in this common graveyard.Ahmadis were stopped from digging the grave.
The child was finally buried in a land offered by a God-fearing Muslim resident of the village, a few metres away from the graveyard.
It is appropriate to suggest that while the persecution against the living Ahmadis is rampant, the increasing attacks against graves, graveyards and now this dead child facing such inhuman treatment call for serious concern of the civil society.
Burial denied again
December 29, 2013:The Business Standard reported the following (extract):
A man from the minority Ahmadi community has been barred from burying his wife in a graveyard in Pakistan’s Punjab province by a group of Muslims.
The wife of Iqbal Ranhja, a resident of Faisalabad district, died yesterday. When Ranhja and members of the Ahmadi community took the body for burial at the graveyard in Kathowali, a group of Muslims led by a local cleric intercepted them and asked them to bury the dead at some other place.
Before the two groups entered into a brawl, police reached there and persuaded the Ahmadis to bury their dead at some other place.
Finally, the Ahmadis agreed to bury the dead several kilometres away from the town.