Freedom of religions and worship (1999 – 2004)

2004

 

Hudood Ordinance invoked against Ahmadi’s marriage

Banglah Tando Adam, District Sanghar: Mr Zulfiquar Ali of District Gujranwala, Punjab joined the Ahmadiyya Community approximately two years ago. He got married to Ms Fatima of Banglah Tando Adam, District Sanghar, Sindh on December 15, 2003. The bride was even otherwise a relation of his. Mullahs, in league with his father-in-law agitated about an Ahmadi co-habiting with a ‘Muslim’ woman in wedlock. They termed it adultery. They pressed him to recant; he did not. So a case was registered at police station Tando Adam in FIR 82/2004 on March 28, 2004 under PPCs 298C, 420 and Zina Hudood Ordinance 10 (3). If the court upholds the frivolous charges, the newly married young man, charged with rape and adultery, could end up in prison for 25 years and get whipped with 30 lashes in public.

 

Freedom of faith denied; four Ahmadis booked maliciously

Jandu Sahi, District Sialkot; Sept/Oct 2004: Mr. Shahid Hameed of this village, a convert to Ahmadiyyat has faced great hardships and blatant persecution at the hands of the mullah and officialdom. He now faces a crisis. His Ahmadi friends have been booked under Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298C. His and his friends’ precarious situation is stated below briefly.

Shahid Hameed, a youth, subsequent to in-depth inquiry, joined the Ahmadiyya community approximately three years ago. Fearing hostile reaction from the society, he did not disclose his new denomination. Two months ago, a mullah, named Maqsud came over to the village from Multan, took up residence in the village and took over the mosque. He soon developed a wholesome following. Shahid, however, did not attend his religious service. Shahid’s father asked him the reason, and the son disclosed to him the fact of his Ahmadiyyat. The father subsequently consulted the mullah, and then told his son to have a word with the mullah and see if he still wanted to stay on course. So, one evening, Shahid accompanied his father to the mosque where hundreds of non-Ahmadis had gathered. There, Shahid was told to pose his questions to the mullah. Shahid posed him three questions. The mullah, rather than giving an answer, got furious, lost his temper and used bad language against Shahid and another Ahmadi, Mr. Shakil Ahmad who was named as the one who had ‘misguided’ Shahid. The mullah declared that both the Qadianis deserved to be killed as per Shariah. He urged the villagers to set fire to Ahmadis’ houses. He said that this was the only way to curb this fitna (mischief).

The next day Shahid’s parents expelled him from their home. He shifted to Shakil’s residence. The day after, an agitated crowd attacked Mr. Shakil’s house. All men and women at home shut themselves in a room and bolted the door. The crowd entered the house, tried to bang open the door but fortunately did not succeed. At this occasion both Shahid and Shakil were not in the house. They were later sent a message to stay away to avoid harm. The next day, Shahid decided to shift to another village Malianwala. This he undertook at about 2.00 a.m. after midnight, for fear of capture and harm. He had to walk through fields and wilderness to arrive at his new hideout.

The extremist elements reported the matter to the District Nazim who is a member of Jamaat Islami. The Nazim directed the police to pursue the matter. Based on the report of Shahid’s father, the police registered an FIR against four Ahmadis under Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298C. The police visited Shakil’s home and demanded his production. Shakil was not in, so they threatened to take away his 10 years old son in lieu. They supported the mullah and the villagers. They detained a 16 years old son of Mr. Abdul Razzaq, Ahmadi, thus forcing the father to present himself before the police. Shahid lost even his own family’s support, and fled to some distant city.

At present, four Ahmadis face charges under PPC 298C. They could be arrested, prosecuted and awarded three years imprisonment. As for the mullah, it is learnt that he took approximately 1 ½ kilo of gold ornaments from women-folk of the village by fraud, and has fled from there. Efforts by villagers to locate him at his given address have come to naught. The mullah had given them a fake name and address. However, that is no help to Ahmadis who face criminal religious charges and are at risk of losing their freedom.

 

The unsuspecting son-in-law

Mr. Zulfiquar Ali of District Gujranwala, Punjab joined the Ahmadiyya Community approximately two years ago. He got married to Ms Fatima of Banglah Tando Adam, District Sanghar, Sindh on December 15, 2003. The bride was even otherwise a relation of his.

Four months later, his father-in-law invited the couple to visit him. On arrival, he questioned the groom about his faith. He then arranged for a large group of rabid mullahs to persuade forcefully and harass the poor fellow to change his beliefs. The young man refused to bend under the pressure, so they approached the police. The police, as they are, welcomed the opportunity to fall upon the victim, and booked him under some of the most serious clauses of the Penal Code. They registered the criminal case not only under the Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298C but also under the Hudood Ordinance 10(3). The police added PPC 420 as if with a vengeance and to further tighten the noose. If the court upholds the frivolous charges, the newly married young man, charged with rape and adultery, could end up in prison for 25 years and get whipped with 30 lashes in public. The mullah considers marriage between an Ahmadi and a non-Ahmadi ‘not valid’ according to his interpretation of Sharia, so he calls their marital relationship ‘adultery’.

The case was registered at police station Tando Adam in FIR 82/2004 on March 23, 2004 under PPCs 298C, 420 and Zina Hudood Ordinance 10 (3).

Mr. Zulfiquar applied for bail. The Sessions Court rejected his request. He applied to the Sindh High Court where numerous hearing dates were announced but the judge could not hear his plea. In the meantime he languishes in prison. This is his tenth month behind bars. And they claim that their Islam is a religion of tolerance, peace and justice!

 

Violence against a convert

Narang Mandi, District Sheikhupura: Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Danish joined the Ahmadiyya Community three months ago. In view of the prevailing anti-Ahmadi prejudice in the family, he kept his shift secret. In the last week of November 2004, his brother-in-law, Irshad Ahmad came to know about Danish’s switch over to Ahmadiyyat. Irshad, who is a member of the defunct Sipah Sahaba, got very annoyed and beat up Danish with a hockey stick so severely that he lost consciousness. When he recovered, Irshad pushed him out of the house and told him never to return.

 

Plight of an old man

Chak 82/D, District Sahiwal: Mr. Shafqat Ali is the only Ahmadi in his family. He is over 60, and his wife and children seem to be disciples of the mullah. On account of his Ahmadiyyat, they turned against him and expelled him from home. He took refuge in another town and is quite upset about his new situation.

 

Severe harassment of convert

Nawan Klasewala, district Hafizabad:            Mr. Muhammad Abbas decided to join the Ahmadiyya Community along with his family sometimes ago. Since then the family had a rough time at the hands of local folks. Early this year, in January, a few miscreants entered his house, beat up his wife and broke some household items. Mr. Abbas reported to the police against Mistri Muhammad Ali, the instigator of the incident, however, later, under pressure from the locals withdrew his complaint.

Again on March 20, 2004 miscreants entered his home, broke his TV set and took away cash amount of Rs. 10,000 which is a large sum for Mr. Abbas who works as laborer in a furniture workshop. Mr. Abbas had taken this money as loan from someone to undertake essential repairs to the house. Mr. Abbas supports his wife and six children aged 14 to 4 years of age. He had to be financially helped by the Ahmadi community to keep his head above water.

 

Recant or get fired

Abbotabad Cantt: January 2004: Mr Tanvir Qadeer, an Ahmadi, had a job at a local store in Abbotabad for the preceding two years. His employer was quite happy with his work; however he did not know that Qadeer was an Ahmadi. Then some Ahmadi-bashers approached him and told him of Qadeer’s denominational identity. They demanded that Qadeer either recant or he should be fired, otherwise … . The proprietor placed the two options before Qadeer and urged him to recant. Qadeer expressed his inability to do so. So, he had to go home. Qadeer lost hid job and had no other source of income. The activists threatened him with physical harm and arrest under the anti-Ahmadi law. He felt greatly at risk.

 

 

2003

Arrest of a septuagenarian and a headmaster

Chak 45/P Khanpur, District Rahim Yar Khan; December 16, 2003: At this village, Mr Ismail is the president of the local Ahmadiyya Community while his son Dr. M A Tayyab practices homeopathy and another son Mr Tahir Ahmad is a headmaster at the primary school. The doctor has a successful practice, and the family is well to do. Hafiz Maqsud, the local prayer leader grew jealous of the family and took up slanderous sermons against Ahmadis at his congregations. In response, Mr Ismail sent the mullah a few questions raised by a Christian (from an old publication) and asked him to answer those and enlighten the public. Armed with these questions on a paper, the mullah agitated his flock and proceeded to the police station. The police registered the case under the anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298C against the three and proceeded to arrest the headmaster and the elderly community president.

 

No freedom of faith

Syedwala; district Sheikhupura: A youth at Syedwala decided to join the Ahmadiyya Community three months ago. Syedwala is the same village where the mullahs, leading an agitated mob destroyed the Ahmadiyya mosque in August 2001. The news of his conversion did not please the local mullahs, and they mounted a big campaign to make him recant. The youth resisted their attempts to an extant. Eventually, they threatened him with police action and even murder. The poor fellow could not bear the onslaught, and returned to the majority’s fold. The incident has disturbed local Ahmadis once again, and they are upset at the stark denial of freedom of faith in the land of the pure.

 

2002

Three years’ imprisonment under Anti-Ahmadiyya law at Lodhran

Mr Hameedullah Bajwah, an ex-President of the Ahmadiyya Community of District Lodhran was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on September 21, 2002, under the Anti-Ahmadiyya law, by Mr Qamar Ejaz, the Senior Civil Judge at Lodhran. Some details of this case are given below.

Mr. Nisar Ahmad, Mr Muhammad Sharif and Mr Bajwah, were charged under the Anti-Ahmadiyya clause PPC 298C and PPC 295A on April 28, 1994 for preaching. Section PPC 295A may invite trial by an Anti-terrorism Court. It is obvious that they did not remotely commit any act of terrorism. However, the charge terrorized them to the core. Mr Nisar Ahmad, who was in his youthful years died during the long trial, while Mr Sharif fled abroad to avoid the rigors and stress of a fabricated criminal case that could have landed him in prison for ten years. The authorities declared him an absconder. Mr Hameedullah Bajwah stayed behind to face the trial that went on for eight long years. Eventually on September 21, 2002 the court sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. The police arrested him and sent him to prison.

An appeal was made in the higher court of Sessions against the sentence. Malik Sharif Ahmad Soz, advocate defended the accused. The Sessions Judge examined the case and acquitted Mr Bajwah of the charges.

Although Mr Bajwah was finally acquitted, the price he had to pay in terms of stress and strain and the financial costs over a period of eight years is huge. One of his co-accused died, while the other had to flee from his home and hearth to escape the torturous trial under the repressive laws that are maliciously applied by extremists and upheld by the state.

 

The police registers a criminal case on religious grounds

The police registered a criminal case against Mr Mushtaq Ahmad Saggon, an Ahmadi at Police station Khangarh, district Muzaffargarh on August 31, 2002 under section PPC 298C of the notorious anti-Ahmadiyya law, on accusation of preaching his views. Mr Mushtaq Ahmad was arrested and put behind bars.

Mr Mushtaq Ahmad applied for release on bail for duration of the trial. Mr Shafiq Bokhari, the magistrate did not attend to the plea for a whole week, and decided to reject it on September 11, 2002. An application was then made to the higher court. In the meantime Mr Saggon waits in prison – it is now the 5th month of his incarceration.

 

Still another criminal case

Mr Waris Khan of Peshawar, an Ahmadi was arrested by the police on September 2, 2002 at the accusation of a mullah, Anwarul Haq, for preaching. A case was registered against him under PPC 295A and PPC 298C (a clause of the anti-Ahmadiyya law).

The accused Ahmadi applied for bail on September 3, however the judge refused him the bail on September 9. The same plea was then made in the higher Sessions Court. He is now on bail, awaiting trial and decision.

If convicted, the poor fellow could end up in prison for ten years. These fresh cases under religious laws appear to be the result of encouragement given to mullahs by the authorities at Islamabad by changing their policy regarding participation of Ahmadis in national elections in the so-called Joint Electorate system.

 

Charged for change of belief

Mangat Unche, district Hafizabad; April 5, 2002: Ms Misbah decided to join the Ahmadiyya Community. At this, one Rana Ataullah went to the police station and reported against Mr Zulfiqar Ahmad, her Ahmadi husband, that he preached Ahmadiyyat to his (own) wife that resulted in her conversion. The Rana stated that her conversion and rejection of faith in the End of Prophethood had hurt the feelings of Muslims to the core, as such a criminal case should be registered against both the wife and the husband. The police consulted their law officer who conveniently concurred that an offence appears to have been committed. The police station Kassoki thereafter registered a case under FIR 64/2002 under section PPC 298C (the Anti Ahmadiyya law) against Mr Zulfiqar Ahmad and his wife on April 5, 2002. Both could be awarded 3 years imprisonment for exercising their right to practice and preach the religion of their choice.

 

Prosecution under the Anti-Ahmadiyya law

Mirpur, Azad Kashmir; April 24, 2002: A few persons from a local non-Ahmadiyya mosque approached Mr Muhammad Asif, Ahmadi on April 23, and asked him to accompany them to the nearby mosque. Asif, who expected no mischief obliged. On arrival at the mosque, he found that a small crowd had already assembled there to manhandle him. They beat him up and accused him of preaching his religious views.

The next day the police registered a case under the notorious anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298C against Asif and arrested him. They also include his father’s name in the FIR. They added PPC 108 also to the accusation.

 

Agitation at Kotli

Kotli, Azad Kashmir: District Kotli simmered with anti-Ahmadiyya agitation during October, specially in educational institutions. New-converts are also targeted.

For example, Mr Abdul Jabbar Khalil who joined the Ahmadiyya Community in the recent past was being given a tough time by his colleagues at the government school where he is a teacher. He was subjected to manhandling also. Some of the members of the school staff have taken up writing anti-Ahmadiyya statements on classroom black boards. Mr. Khalil complained against this treatment to the Education Officer. This infuriated the miscreants further, and they declared their violent intentions. They formed a gang and wrote a joint application to authorities to dismiss Mr Khalil from his job.

Mr Nasim Ahmad, an Ahmadi youth faced severe opposition from non-Ahmadi Muslims. Eventually he had to request for police intervention. At a college in Tatta Pani, a lecturer gave an anti-Ahmadiyya lecture to his class during college hours. The local vernacular press joined the agitation by fanning the fire of anti-Ahmadiyya hatred. The daily ‘Islam’ and ‘Kashmir Express’ of Muzaffarabad gave anti-Ahmadiyya twist to their news coverage and indulged in disinformation.

It is strange that while Kashmiri Muslims seek liberty and freedom, they deny the same to Ahmadis in territory where they exercise political power.

 

Severe persecution of new converts

Bagh, district Jhang; May 23, 2002: Messers Rana Shehzad Ahmad and Rana Muhammad Asif Faiq, after due inquiry, joined the Ahmadiyya Community in January 2002. Their relatives did not take kindly to their conversion.

Rana Asif Faiq was manhandled by three of his close relatives including his brother. They accused him of apostasy, shut him up in a room and beat him. Faiq got a broken nose bone, and had to arrange first aid for injuries. His friend, Shehzad Ahmad was attacked by his uncle. The brawl resulted in pellets injury in both legs to Shehzad. The uncle, who is a police official, had a report registered against Shehzad at the police station. Shehzad was nabbed and sent to a lock-up. He was falsely accused of theft, terrorism and illegal possession of fire-arms.

 

2001

No freedm of speech

Mr. Abdul Aziz, an Ahmadi from Silanwali, district Sargodha was arrested by the police on charge of preaching his views.

Anti-Ahmadiyya opposition is very strong in Silanwali. It operates in liaison with authorities. Ahmadis built two rooms adjacent to their own mosque to accommodate their Imam. The opposition reported this to the administration who obligingly sealed the two rooms at the orders of the Assistant Commissioner.

Threat of criminal cases on religious grounds

One of the most frequent and effective modes of persecution of Ahmadis is to have criminal cases registered against them on religious grounds under Ahmadi-specific laws and the religious laws. These laws carry severe penalties including death. Once a case is registered, false or factual, it results in arrest, a complicated procedure for bail, a very lengthy prosecution in courts and possibly a severe verdict. A single case can adversely affect its victim’s life in a major way- at times ruin it beyond recovery. The accusers and Ahmadis know it, and while the former try hard to invoke the bad laws, the targets have to make greater efforts to avoid getting entrapped in the net. Three such recent attempts alone are mentioned below briefly as sample.

a)                  Mirza Naseer Ahmad, an Ahmadi has a small store at Daska, District Sialkot. One of his clients often indulges in religious discussion with him. Mullas came to know about it. One day, in June when he came to the store, mullas came along as well and insisted that Ahmad had got the enrollment form signed by the visitor. They forced their way in the shop and started a thorough search of drawers and cabinets looking for such a form or literature – luckily  nothing was located. Someone informed the police that arrived soon. They took Ahmad in custody and took him to the police station. The president of the local Ahmadi community also came to know of the incident, and he went to the police station in company of a lawyer. It took four hours of intensive and almost exhausting parleys at the police station to recover Ahmad back from the clutches of mullas and authorities. It was rather close.

b)                  Mashud Ahmad, an Ahmadi technician, was working in Sialkot at his repair shop, when one, Abdul Latif came over and initiated a business quarrel with him. Tempers went high and a brawl resulted. Mashud had a pair of pliers in his hand. He hit it on Latif’s head. He was injured. At the time, Rafiq, an Ahmadi proprieter of the next door shop came over, intervened and separated the two. He paid Rs. 1000/- from his own pocket to Latif, got him attended by a doctor and asked for pardon on behalf of Mashud. Peace was thus restored. But not quite. Latif’s brother is a mulla. He made a written complaint to the police that not only Mashud had beaten up his brother, he had also defiled the name of the Holy Prophet (a pure lie). He demanded that a case under the Blasphemy law, PPC 295C be registered against Mashud. This was a very grave development and Mashud and his Ahmadi friends had to make frantic efforts to avoid the fabricated accusation. Eventually, Latif made a statement on oath that Mashud had not defiled the Holy Prophet in any manner whatsoever. This saved Mashud from facing a false accusation under which his life would have been at stake.

c)                  Mr. Abdul Hafeez, Ahmadi, practices eastern medicine at Chaklala. A local shop owner reported to the police that Hafeez preaches Ahmadiyyat to his visitors. The police arrived at Hafeez clinic, undertook a search therein and took him to the police station. A mulla arrived at the police station and offered to Hafeez that if he undertook in writing that he will close down his clinic at Chaklala, he would be released by the police. Hafeez unwillingly signed the statement, but he was not let go. Ahmadi leadership of the district came to know about the situation and they contacted the police and other authorities. They had to exercise their best tact, caution and wisdom to ensure that no case was registered against the accused. The next day when Hafeez opened his clinic, he received a message to close it down forthwith. He did – at least for the time being.

Note:   Ahmadis do not always succeed in avoiding the mischief of the law. During the last year, Sialkot district was in the front row in that numerous Ahmadis were implicated in religious cases and arrested. They are still facing consuming prosecution in various courts.

 

Mr. Alvi’s ordeal gets worse

Drote, District Chakwal: Mr. Ghulam Rasul Alvi, a teacher, joined Ahmadiyya Community in 1994. In April 1999, opponents started an agitation against his conversion and launched a hate campaign against him. They even manhandled him and made him sign a note of reversion under threats of murder. A surveillance effort was mounted at his residence to report if he violated the dictates of his tormentors.

As the months passed, the extremists have not allowed him any relief; instead, he is facing more hardships and is in greater danger. He is working in another town; he had to stop visiting his home town.

According to the subsequent reports, mullas held another big conference in his village during August this year. They urged the local transporters to refuse transport facility to Alvi’s family. They told tractor-owners not to till his land. They announced over the mosque’s loudspeakers that violators of these orders will face the same sanctions. They held another such conference again in the month of September, and instigated the villagers not to allow Alvi to return to the village. A leader of Al Badr Mujahideen declared, “ It is learnt that Alvi intends to build a place of worship here; he can do that only after our blood is shed and our head decapitated.” That day, a procession passed by Mr. Alvi’s house and threw stones at it. The procession visited again at 1.30 a.m. after the conference and resumed stoning the house. Fortunately no damage was done to valuable household items. But it was a very difficult situation for the lone family who could have faced lynching.

The noose of the social boycott is getting tight against the beleaguered family. The authorities provide no support, no relief. Mr. Alvi has requested his community brethren to pray for him and his family.

 

Forced to flee

Piru Chak, District Gujranwala: Mr Shahid Cheema is an Ahmadi young man from Talwandi Musa Khan chapter of the Ahmadiyya Community. He is a secretary in the working committee and is assigned the task of spiritual and moral formation of ‘dedicated children’. His family is the only Ahmadi household in his village. His active services to the area community aroused the displeasure and wrath of the opposition. Ahmadi-bashers collected some Ahmadiyya books and literature and sent the same to their city organization to have a case registered against Mr. Cheema, preferably under the dreaded Blasphemy law. Under the circumstances, the youth was advised to leave the village and go elsewhere for sometime to await developments. Accordingly, he left.

An Ahmadi in Pakistan is always exposed to the tyranny of the black religious laws.

 

Ahmadis – always vulnerable

Lahore; November 19, 2001: In view of Ahmadi-specific laws in force, an Ahmadi is vulnerable at all times, everywhere in Pakistan. He never knows when the hard luck is going to strike him.

Mr Mubashir Ahmad, Ahmadi, traveled from Rabwah to Lahore to participate in a relative’s wedding. While at the reception, Mubashir came across an old non-Ahmadi acquaintance, Javed Iqbal. The two started talking theology and faith. A little later, Javed telephoned 15, and asked for police intervention. They arrived instantly, took Mubashir in custody and led him to the police station.

The next day Mubashir’s friends came to know about the missing guest. They located him at the police station. The SHO told them that the case had been reported to the Superintendent Police, and only he was in a position to order Mubashir’s release. This meant a great deal of effort. Mubashir remained in detention at the police lock-up for four days, and it was a great relief when he was eventually released at half past midnight when the accuser withdrew his accusation. Such is the ‘freedom of faith and expression’ for an Ahmadi in Pakistan!

No freedom of expression

Ahmadiyya community is the victim for the last 17 years of unprecedented major propagandist attack by its opponents and even the government. However, Ahmadis have been denied their right of rubuttal and defence. Ahmadis are not at all what the propagandists make them out to be. But Ahmadis are not allowed to explain their position. If they do, they are charged under PPC 298C of preaching, and sent to prison for three years. It is interesting that in Pakistan, publicity of communism, agnosticism, skepticism, heresy, Satanism etc are all officially tolerated, but not Ahmadiyyat that propagates a pacific and moderate version of Islam which it considers to be the real Islam. This complete denial of self-expression and self-defence to Ahmadis, has perhaps no parallel anywhere else in the whole world. An entire community which has its membership in 174 countries of the world, is gagged in Pakistan.

 

2000

Endless prosecution on religious basis

Some observers are of the opinion that Pakistan is fast becoming a lawless country. They may not be far wrong but the fact is that the anti-Ahmadiyya and religious laws are being applied against Ahmadis energetically, even on occasions when they do not apply. Anti-Ahmadiyya laws were enforced in 1984. Since then they have been applied against thousands of Ahmadis with relentless effort and frequency. Vicious application of PPC 295A has been described in Section 7 above. Similarly other such laws are used as handy tools to severely persecute Ahmadis. Registration of a criminal case under these laws can entirely change the life of a victim. Most of them have no previous experience of a visit to a police station. But registration of a case means not only dealing with police but going to courts, the risk of detention, seeking bail, hiring lawyers, going into hiding, perhaps arrest, years of prosecution and in some cases years of imprisonment. Often, the victims are the breadwinners of the family, so the prosecution brings along financial hardship, and thus the whole family suffers. Everyone is on trial, in a way.

During the Year 2000, 166 Ahmadis were implicated in various criminal cases of religious nature. These are briefly mentioned below; a chart is also available here.

 

  • Mr Laeeq Ahmad of Sargodha was charged under sections 295A, 298C and 16MPO on January 28 for displaying Islamic words in his shop. He faces 10 years’ imprisonment. Some details of this are available in Section 7.
  • Mr Sahib Khan of Mangat Unchai, district Hafizabad joined the Ahmadiyya Community two years ago. His father did not like it and tried hard to deny him his birth right of freedom of faith. He did not succeed, so he decided to seek the help of the state in his vile attempt. He approached the police, and in collusion with them, got registered a criminal case under PPC 298C on February 14, against his own son and two other Ahmadis, including Mr Fazal Ahmad, the Ahmadi teacher and Mr Sikandar Hayat. The accused applied for Bail before Arrest, but Mohammad Siddique Tabassum, the Additional Session Judge refused their plea. The police arrested all the three.
  • Mr Khalid Javed of Nishtarabad, district Sialkot joined the Ahmadiyya Community, but kept it to himself. At the Eid festival, the news got leaked, and the opposition flared up. Javed left his home and took refuge in an Ahmadi’s house from where he fled again late at night and went to Sialkot.

At this, his relatives got a case registered on March 22 with the police under PPC 365 that Javed had been abducted, and they named four Ahmadi men and three women. Th police detained all the accused it could find. Latr the women were released.

A writ was moved under section 199 with the High Court on behalf of Mr Khalid Javed. On 31 January, Mr Javed stated before the court that nobody had abducted him; he had chosen to become an Ahmadi of his own free will, and that he left the village for fear of harm from the miscreants. He requested the court to withdraw the case and release the accused. The police withdrew the case and released the victims who had a few very rough weeks of their life.

  • The dreaded Section 295A was applied on April 27, against Messers Muhammad Yusuf, Mustafa, Afzal, Yaqub Tahir Ahmad and Muhammad Ahmad of Daryapur, district Sialkot for the Ahmadiyya mosque with a niche. The police arrested Yusuf, Mustafa and Afzal.
  • Section 295A was applied at the same police station as above on the same day against Messers Mohammad Salim, Muhammad Yusuf, Irshad and Daud, allegedly for preaching. The two cases were registered in evil collusion of the police and the fundamentalists.
  • The Hafizabad police registered a criminal case No. 242/2000 under the Anti Ahmadiyya Law PPC 298C, on May 19 against four Ahmadis, namely Khalid Ahmad, Muhammad Abdullah, Nasir Ahmad and Shafqat Hayat. The FIR indicates some business deal between the accused and the accuser; however the charge is that of preaching. The accuser and the police used again the oft-repeated technique of implicating numerous Ahmadis in the same case. The accused moved fast and managed to avail of Bail before Arrest. They have avoided the arrest, however they face the grim ordeal of defending themselves in a long-drawn case at the courts to avoid imprisonment for three years.
  • Mr Iftikahr H Azhar, an ex-resident of Chak No. 1/DNB, District Bahawalpur, later turned Norwegian national was visiting Pakistan. An anti-Ahmadiyya activist applied to a magistrate on 31 May that Mr Azhar claims to be a Muslim, hence he should be prosecuted under the law. The magistrate told the police to register a case, and the police registered Case No. 148/2000 at Bahawalpur Cantt police station against the visitor on 1 June 2000 under PPC 298C. Under this clause, the accused faces three years’ imprisonment for being unmindful of his presence in Pakistan where the freedom of faith is denied to him unlike in Norway. The visitor hurried to flee from this country. The police repeatedly visited his lodging but were disappointed not to find him, and Norway is outside the reach of Pakistani police and magistracy.
  • Thirty one Ahmadis of village Bhauru, district Sheikhupura were charged under PPCs 324, 148, 149 and 452 on June 16 subsequent to an attack on Ahmadis by the opponents in the village, in which one Ahmadi was killed. There was no loss of life among non-Ahmadis.
  • Subsequent to the same incident mentioned above at Serial 8, 17 Ahmadis were in addition charged under 16 MPO two days later on June 18.
  • Anti-Ahmadiyya situation in L Plot, District Okara had been tense for months. Mullas had succeeded in promotion of hatred among the local population, and litigations and visits to authorities had become frequent. During the last week of June, a few opponents manhandled two Ahmadis, Salim Ahmad and Mian Zafar Iqbal. The brawl developed into an exchange of shots. There were no fatal casualties, however one non-Ahmadi was slightly wounded. The police registered a case under PPC 324/34 against three Ahmadis, namely Messers Zafar Iqbal, Saleem Ahmad and Mubashir Ahmad. Although the police knew who were the miscreants and fomenters of discord, they were partial against Ahmadis.
  • 11.       Messers Khalil Ahmad and Saeed Ahmad, Ahmadis of Karachi, had an appointment on July 29, 2000 with some of their non-Ahmadi acquaintances at Goth Muhammad Hussain. When the former arrived at the village, someone informed the mullas who arrived and bounced upon them. Mullas tied up their victims with ropes, gagged them and declared their intentions to slaughter the two visitors. The village chief came to know of this and he delivered the two to Sarjani Town police station. The police obligingly registered a criminal case against the victims under PPC 298B and 298C. If declared ‘guilty’, they could be imprisoned for three years and fined any amount.
  • 12.       The police registered criminal case No: 300 under the anti-Ahmadiyya PPC 298C on 19 August 2000 at police station Chichawatni Sadar against three Ahmadis, namely Messers Ghaffar Ahmad, Ilyas Ahmad and Manzur Ahmad, of Chak 37/12-L, District Sahiwal in a false accusation by a local opponent who was supported by mullas of the Khatme Nabuwwat Organization.

The cause of the case was essentially a land dispute. An aunt of the accused, who died sometimes ago, donated a piece of land to the local school. One, Arshad son of Ghulam Rasul forcibly occupied the land and cultivated it for personal use. Mr Ghaffar Ahmad, an Ahmadi took up the initiative and made attempts to recover the land from Arshad to give it to the school. An official inquiry was held in which Mr Ghaffar exposed the high-handedness of Arshad who did not like it. After the departure of officials, Arshad, accompanied by a few gangsters, attacked Mr Ghaffar, who complained later to the police. The police took no action. On May 28, 2000 Arshad and his colleagues threatened Mr Ghaffar of further action. Mr Ghaffar again asked for police help but got nothing, as the police were in collusion with the opposite group. Mr Ghaffar thereafter wrote to the District Magistrate, but nothing happened. In the meantime, the opposition group got in touch with mullas of the Khatme Nabuwwat organization who came forth in a big way against the three Ahmadi families of the village. The local SHO of the police was also not happy with Mr Ghaffar for contacting higher authorities in seeking redress. As a result, the mullas and the administration moved decisively and effectively against Ahmadis. A religious agitation was launched from the mosque, and Mr Ghaffar’s house was attacked by a group of miscreants. They stoned the house and broke the glass windows and ventilators. Then they sent a written application to authorities that Ahmadis posed themselves as Muslims and preached their creed. A delegation of the Majlis Tahaffuz Khatame Nabuwwat called on the Assistant Commissioner Chichawatni and made demands against Ahmadis. The AC sought direction from the DC who ordered registration of a criminal case under the Anti-Ahmadiyya 298C against the three accused. This was done.

Mr Ghaffar was arrested by the police and sent to a prison. The other two rushed to arrange a bail before arrest.

A property dispute thus landed three Ahmadis in a criminal litigation on fabricated charges under religious laws. The victims face three years in prison, if held guilty.

  • Messers Ghulam Mustafa, Hamid, Maqsud Ahmad and Mian Fazil of District Sialkot were charged under PPCs 295A and 298C on July 29 by Daska Sadr police.
  • Dr Khalid Mahmud, Mr Manzur Qadir Khan the president of the Ahmadiyya Community of Bhera, Mr Muhammad Hayat and Mr Muhammad Idrees Shahid, an Ahmadi missionary, were charged in FIR No. 209 on August 25, 2000 under PPC 298C at police station Bhera, for preaching. Mohammad Suleman, who is named as the one ‘preached’, has affirmed on oath to higher authorities that no one preached to him. As Dr Khalid Mahmud and Mr Manzur Qadir are in government service, the administration transferred them away from Bhera. The accused applied for bail but the judge rejected the plea of Mr Khan and Shahid. They were pushed to the jail at Sargodha where they had to stay for weeks before a magistrate released them on bail in December for the period of trial. If found guilty of the religious charge, these four notables could end up in prison for three years.

Mr Muhammad Suleman, the Non-Ahmadi in question, made a lengthy statement on oath, in writing. Its translated summary is given below:

“I, Mohammad Suleman S/O Karam Ilahi of Bhera am a retired Havildar from Army and I make the following true statement on oath:

–                      I do know Mr Manzur Qadir, Ahmadi, as a good teacher, and I did call on him occasionally, and he received me with courtesy. Some miscreant spread the false rumor that I got converted to Mirzaiyyat; the news spread like wild fire among my relatives and the Ulema.

–                      In order to remove their doubts, I stated on oath before a congregation of 50 worshippers in the Central Mosque that I am not a Mirzai (Ahmadi).

–                      Again on 18 July, my relatives took me to Maulana Bagvi where I joined their congregation and affirmed on oath before the assembly that I was a Muslim and consider Prophet Mohammad as the last prophet.

–                      The agitation, however, continued. I and Mr. Manzur Qadir were summoned to appear before elders on 27 August. There, I restated my position, and Mr Qadir (Ahmadi) confirmed that I had not joined the Ahmadiyya Community.

–                      Sir, I am being harassed for nothing. They falsely accused me that I received Rs. 50,000 cash and Rs. 300,000 as promise for conversion. They forced me to renew my marriage oath. The SHO summoned me to the police station and took my written statement. On 24 August, officials of the Military Intelligence interrogated me. ISI also got involved.

–                      Sir, I am surprised as to why I am dubbed as a Mirzai while I am not one. I am also sorry to see that some miscreants are persecuting Mr Manzur Qadir and Dr Khalid Mahmud (Ahmadis) through my alleged conversion. These miscreants have destroyed my reputation and prestige. They have victimized innocent Mirzais for nothing. God is All Powerful; He will decide.                                Signature/-

Mohammad Suleman S/o Karam Ilahi, Mohallah Ali Bhutta Bhera, district Sargodha

Copy of National I.D. Card Nr 233-49-457955 (attached with statement)

  • Mr Abdus Sami, Ahmadi of Sarai Siddhu, District Khanewal, was at home on 18 August 2000 in company of a few friends when one, Muhammad Bilal came over and joined the sitting on some false pretext. While there, he made some foul remarks against Ahmadis and their leader. He accused the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Community of fleeing abroad in the face of persecution. Mr Sami reminded him that the Holy Prophet also had to leave Mecca and go to Medina. At this, Bilal got annoyed, left in anger, and came back a while later in company of a dozen men bent upon mischief. Mr Sami, tried to calm them down, but they refused to respond, and the next day Bilal addressed a written accusation to the Police. In this he was supported by a gang of local mullas, and approximately 200 students from the madrassas went along as a show of strength. At the police station, Bilal stated that the Ahmadi, while referring to the Holy Prophet used the words ‘went to Medina’ and not ‘hegira to Medina’ thus insulting the Holy Prophet. The SHO issued orders to the two parties to present themselves at the police station on 25 August. This gave sufficient time to the fundamentalists to make their battle cry heard all around the area. August 25 was a Friday – an ideal day to incite the people with help of  loudspeakers of the mosque. Mullahs of Sipah Sahaba and Khatame Nabuwwat factions cried hoarse in their Friday sermons and speeches, and agitated the worshippers to make sacrifices for Islam that was in danger. Eventually, three to four hundred persons marched on to the police station. The police officials assured the crowd that a case would be registered against the Ahmadis. And sure enough, the police registered an FIR Nr 336 on August 29, 2000 at Police Station Sarai Siddhu against Messers Abdus Sami, Bashir Ahmad and Mohammad Ismail, under PPC 298C. The mullas, however, demanded that the accused be charged also under PPC 295A (for trial  in an Anti-Terrorist Court) and PPC 295C (the Blasphemy Clause).
  • The police registered a false case No. 456 under PPC 295B at police station Landianwala, Faisalabad against Mr. Munir Ahmad, an Ahmadi school teacher, on September 20, 2000. The police arrested the accused.

As for facts of the case, a miscreant called M. Tufail himself tore open a religious book called ‘Alim-ul-Ghaib’, threw it away, and put the blame on Mr Munir Ahmad. Tufail agitated the public on the grounds that the book was based upon teachings of the Quran and Hadith. Thus he managed to assemble a mob and led the same to the police station. The police took his application and registered the case under PPC 295B, although this clause is specific to defiling the Holy Quran. It provides for ‘life imprisonment’.

  • Mulla Khan Muhammad of Khatme Nabuwwat Organization reported to the police that one, Shafi Mohammad of Bucha Band, District Umarkot (Sind) had switched over to Qadianism, and at that Muslims had become very agitated. He added that Shafi Mohammad went into hiding but they located him with great difficulty and made him recant. At the Mulla’s demand, the police registered a criminal case on September 12, 2000 under PPC 298C against as many as six Ahmadis, namely Messers Manzoor, Rashid, Arshad, Mubarik and two others.
  • The police registered a case under anti-Ahmadiyya laws PPC 298B and 298C, against Mr Asad Zahur of Ladhar, District Sialkot on September 19, 2000. The accuser engaged Mr Zahur in a religious discussion, and then reported to the police that Zahur preached him Ahmadiyyat and used the term Amirul Momineen (leader of the faithful) for the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community. The magistrate rejected the victim’s plea for bail, so he stayed on behind bars.
  • The police registered a case under PPC 295B, 341 & 506 at police station Muhammad Pur, District Rajanpur against Mr Nasir Ahmad, Ahmadi, on a false accusation of defiling the Holy Quran on October 13.

The facts of the case show the nature of such cases. The accuser visited the accused and indulged in a hot argument. When the accused re-entered the house, the accuser bolted the door from outside. A passer-by opened the door. When Mr Nasir came out, the accuser hit him on the head with a brick. Nasir was injured. In self-defense, he pushed the attacker who fell in the nearby drain. Subsequently, Mullas raised hue and cry that the accuser carried a Quran in his pocket and the accused had thus defiled the Holy Book.

Although the village folk refused to support the accuser, mullas persisted in their efforts to implicate the Ahmadi. Reportedly, the Army authorities got involved as well. They decided to support the Mulla.

The accused was arrested.

  • A serious case FIR No. 80/2000 under the Blasphemy Law PPC 295C, the anti-Ahmadiyya PPC 298C, and PPC 298A was registered against an unknown Ahmadi at police station Badin on April 29, 2000. The case was registered simply because someone sent to the accused a parcel containing Ahmadiyya literature.
  • Imtiaz Shah, an anti-Ahmadiyya miscreant has been active in Faisalabad for the last 15 years. He is a man of ill repute and has a very poor police record. There have been cases registered against him (not by Ahmadis) under sections 452/506, 468/471, 452/148, 337 PPC and then again 377 PPC. He was detained sometimes ago by the Deputy Commissioner for his illegal activities. He then disappeared for years and has surfaced again lately. He shifted from the town of Jaranwala to Mustafa Abad in Faisalabad where there is considerable Ahmadi population. He indulged again in anti-Ahmadiyya activities and disturbed the peace of the locality.

Fearing escalation, Ahmadis informed the police who took no preventive action. Then Ahmadis sent a letter to district officials, the DC, SSP, DIG on November 25, 2000, but they took no action.

This encouraged Imtiaz Shah. On December 1, he attempted to enter the Ahmadiyya mosque in Mustafa Abad along with an armed companion. Before this, he had been throwing stones on Ahmadis’ houses and shouting abusive language. Again, Police Rescue 15 was informed by Ahmadis. When the forced entry was resisted, Imtiaz Shah sustained minor injuries.

Instead of proceeding against the miscreant, the police registered case against 10 Ahmadis. They detained 5 Ahmadis and arrested two of them. This was done to cover up the negligence of the police.

Ahmadis in Faisalabad are greatly disturbed. They wrote to the Governor, informed him of the details of the incident and posed him the following questions, inter alia:

  1. Is there no law for the protection of Ahmadis?
  2. Why is it that the Administration never listens to Ahmadis and invariably tries to placate the vagabonds?

The Governor is consistent in doing nothing to relieve Ahmadis in their impasse. He seems not to mind another Takht Hazara in the making.

Ahmadis informed the Governor and other senior officials of the facts of the incident.

  • 51 Ahmadis from Takht Hazara  face criminal charges in the incident in which 5 Ahmadis were killed. Five of these were charged under PPC 295A and other clauses; they were arrested and put behind bars.
  • Mr Nematulla who was performing a security duty outside a mosque as per government instructions was wrongfully charged on December 22 under PPC 188, that he displayed his weapon. When questioned, the policemen conveyed verbally that the case was registered at the instance of mullas who were pressing for one since long.
  • The police arrested Mr Muzaffar Ahmad, Ahmadi, under PPC 188 for playing an audio cassette loudly at his shop. PPC 188 is applicable in case of Section 144 if in force by the Deputy Commissioner; that was not the case. Still the police acted, reportedly to placate the mulla.

 

Freedom of religion denied

Ahmadis of the village Ghulam Jaffar Unnar, District. Khairpur faced a difficult period in September/October. Some mullas reported to the police that some of the locals had joined the Ahmadiyya Community. The police decided to intervene, although they had no business to do so. Four Ahmadis were told to report to the police station and were subjected to great harassment. A local influential non-Ahmadi helped Ahmadis in their interaction with the police. The Sub Divisional Magistrate also intervened and directed that Gulab Khan, an Ahmadi from the Punjab should be extradited; only then the criminal charges would be withdrwn. Ahmadis were made to concede to this unfair demand in writing. The situation, however has remained tense in the village.

 

Problems of a proselyte

Although Mr Mushtaq Ahmad of Muzaffargarh joined the Ahmadiyya Community in 1995, his problems are still not over. He is in the teaching service. In July, the government collected personal data of its employees in the Education Department. Mr Mushtaq Ahmad mentioned that he was an Ahmadi. The information somehow reached the mullas of Sipah Sahaba faction. They availed of their meeting at Jatoi and passed a resolution against alleged activities of this teacher and demanded his immediate transfer. Mr Mushtaq was then sent for by the police SHO who told him to give his explanation in writing.

 

1999

Mr. Saeed Ahmad Qureshi, Ahmadi of Peshawar, son of Mr. Mohammad Din was arrested by the police on July 17, 1999 on charge of preaching, at the complaint of a mulla, Nurul Haq of Khatame Nabuwwat, Peshawar. He was later released on bail. His prosecution, however, continues.

Mr Kalim Ahmad of Ghatialian, district Sialkot was charged on June 7, 1999 under PPC 298B for calling Azan, the call to congregational prayer.

Mr Hasan Din of district Sialkot was charged under PPC 298B/298C on 21 July 1999.

Mr Qaim Din of Qila Kalarwala was booked under Section 298C and arrested for calling himself a Muslim on 23 December.

General use and misuse of the ‘Qadiani Problem’

Ahmadi-bashing has become so routine and socially acceptable that it has become a tool in the hands of the unscrupulous to persecute their own non-Ahmadi rivals. They use Qadiani-bashing to flog their own kind to settle personal scores. A confession letter by a non-Ahmadi to the editor, and published in the Daily Khabrain of November 15, 1999 is produced below:

Translation:

Misuse of Qadiani Issue

Majlis Khuddamul Aulia Pakistan published a letter asking for reinstatement of the ex-Secretary Auqaf Muhammad Athar Tahir. He was deposed for being a Qadiani, although he is not a Qadiani. In fact, in our society this issue is exploited greatly to the extent that if someone does not comply with the dictates of a group, they attempt to dislodge him immediately on the accusation of being a Qadiani. In our dark society, the career of many a brain is thus damaged through lack of inquiry.

Chaudhry Ghulam Qadir

511 Shutar Block, Allama Iqbal Town Lahore

 

Perhaps a new world record!

Mr Mubarak Ahmad Nusrat, an Ahmadi of Mirpur Khas (Sind) has faced harassment and prosecution under religious laws for years. He was first arrested on January 14, 1989, and a case was registered against him under the anti-Ahmadiyya PPC 298C and the Blasphemy Law PPC 295C, on accusation of a notorious mulla, Hamadi. A second case under PPC 298C was registered against him, a few days later, for offering prayers in the prison. In these cases, he has suffered prosecution in various courts at different locations for the past 11 years. During this period, he had to visit Sanghar hundreds of times, Shadadpur, Karachi and Tando Adam on scores of occasions, and he made 27 trips to the court at Hyderabad. Mr. Nusrat has kept a meticulous record, and has produced calculations that in order to defend his life and liberty against these false and ridiculous religious charges he has traveled 98,840 kilometers by road and rail. Traveling in Pakistan is not easy; in fact it is a great hardship, as passengers have to travel often on bus-roofs or hang by the door or the rear ladder of a bus, fully exposed to weather. The grand total of almost 100,000 kilometers of such travel is indeed mind-boggling and heart-rending.

Many others suffered in the same manner. Some had to travel to other provinces- a return journey of over 2500 kilometers for each court appearance.

 

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