Freedom of religions and worship (2011 – 2012)

2012

(Note: Sub-Section III d titled MOSQUES UNDER ATTACK, AND WORSHIP DENIED is also very relevant to this aspect and may be referred to.)

Plight of an Ahmadi convert

Okara; July 2012:      Mr. Abid Ali Khan of Chak no. 27/2-L, District Okara joined Ahmadiyyat a few years ago. His wife and children did likewise, but his brothers and in-laws severely opposed them. He had to quit his village and move elsewhere to earn his living. It is learnt that his father-in-law got a case registered against him in Police Station Depalpur, District Okara under PPC 298-C on November 18, 2011. He accused Mr. Khan of preaching Ahmadiyyat to him.

 

A close escape

Lahore; October 18, 2012: Mr. Abid Nasim Chughtai works in the National Bank of Pakistan. A client noticed that he was wearing a ring with the Arabic inscription on it “Alaisallahu bikaafin abduhu”( Is God not ample for His servant?); this phrase is found in the Quran. This man reported this to the police, and succeeded in availing the services of a police inspector and two constables to interrogate and implicate Mr. Chughtai in a religion-based criminal case. (Who says Lahore is short of policemen?) The inspector accused Mr. Chughtai that he visited the toilet with the ring on, thus defiling the Quran. He acted very aggressive and rude, and uttered foul words against the founder of the Ahmadiyya community.

Thereafter a police official confided to Mr. Chughtai that the complainant was a leader of a religious party and had brought a procession to the police station; this triggered the police action. He advised Mr. Chughtai to take a few days’ leave and disappear. He did that.

The police were good enough not to register the case. The complainant then approached a court, and the judge found it facile to order the police to act as per law. The police registered the case against Mr. Chughtai on October 18, 2012 under PPC 295-A at police station Race Course, and arrested him at about 8 p.m.

The next day Mr. Chughtai was presented before a magistrate who accepted his bail application, and he quashed the FIR for wrongful application of PPC 295-A.

Mr. Chughtai was released and he returned home – thank God.

 

Group of Ahmadis prosecuted for nine years – a typical case

Sadullah Pur, District Mandi Bahauddin, Punjab: Here is summary of a typical anti-Ahmadi criminal case that finally came to an end after approximately nine years of malicious, troublesome and wasteful prosecution by the state that acted as the agent of extremist religious elements whom it now decries timidly.

The police registered a criminal case under the anti-Ahmadiyya clause PPC 298-C and PPC 297 against 18 Ahmadis on April 8, 2003 in FIR Nr. 93/2003 at Police Station Pahrianwali. Ahmadis were accused of offering funeral prayers in the Islamic way for a deceased Ahmadi before his burial in the common graveyard.

The police arrested four Ahmadis including the elderly Mr. Mahbub Ahmad, the president of the local Ahmadiyya community and Mr. Aziz Ahmad, the younger brother of the deceased. Other Ahmadis were granted bail before arrest.

The prosecution continued for the next eight years. Eventually on July 21, 2011, the Civil Judge Phalia sentenced Mr. Mahbub Ahmad and Mr. Aziz Ahmad to one-year imprisonment each and acquitted the other sixteen. The former who is an octogenarian was arrested inside the courtroom while Mr. Aziz Ahmad who was not present in the court could not be arrested. The mullas celebrated the arrest of the Ahmadi elder with large scale distribution of sweets.

As the request for bail was subsequently accepted on July 28, 2011, the accused was released, but the case for revision of the sentence remained under process thereafter.

On January 24, 2012, the prosecutor accused Ahmadis of having no belief in the End of Prophethood and put up a draft certificate for signature of the defendants if they believed in Khatme Nabuwwat. The certificate included harsh words against any claimants to Prophecy. Mr. Aziz Ahmad who by then was no longer his normal self signed the certificate. The judge acquitted him. The accusing mullas celebrated the victory and again distributed sweets.

Mr. Mahbub Ahmad, the elderly community president refused to sign the document cooked up by the prosecuting attorney. The court announced the next date for hearing the case.

On February 8, 2012 Mr. Zulfiqar Lone Additional Session Judge Phalia acquitted Mr. Mahbub Ahmad, the last of the 18 accused. Thus ended the ordeal that lasted eight years – a bitter fruit of the evil planted by General Zia in 1984.

 

Ahmadis denied practice of their faith on Eid festival

Sacrificing an animal on Eid-ul-Adha is an important religious tradition with Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis alike. Ahmadis were deprived of their right to practice this ritual at places all over Pakistan. The authorities joined the mulla at these occasions to deprive Ahmadis the freedom to practice their faith. Lahore topped this list. A few incidents are narrated below:

Iqbal Town, Lahore; October 27, 2012:        Mr. Waseem Ahmad bought a calf to offer as sacrifice. When he took his animal to a butcher, a bearded man arrived at the scene along with some mullas and called the police. The butcher had already slaughtered Mr. Raheem Ahmad’s (another Ahmadi) goat by then. The mulla told the police that Ahmadis had defiled an Islamic practice (by practicing it) and should be arrested forthwith. The police took Ahmadis to the police station along with Mr. Ahmad’s calf. A non-Ahmadi friend of Ahmadis said, “What crime is committed if a non-Muslim slaughtered an animal?” To this the mullas retaliated angrily and insisted that a police case be registered. Ahmadis returned home in the evening. The issue was kept alive for some time.

Another incident.  Mr. Noor Ahmad Nasir, an Ahmadi in Sant Nagar, Lahore bought a calf for sacrifice on Eid. Two policemen came to his house at about 23:00 and told him, “Approximately 17 men of your locality have complained to the police that you are offering a sacrifice on Eid. This is violation of the Ordinance. We are warning you in advance to abstain from it. This is an order from our higher-ups.” They warned similarly other Ahmadis of the area.

And another. The police came to the house of Mian Muhammad Zafarullah in Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore at about 2 a.m. They told him not to offer sacrifice on the Eid day, otherwise a police case would be registered against him.

Similar incidents happened in Nishtar Block, Lahore with Khawaja Saeed Akhtar, Mr. Muzaffar Ahmad, Ch. Fateh Muhammad and Col. (R) Mubashir Ahmad. The SHO accompanied by mullas came to Ahmadi houses and forbade them to offer sacrifices on Eid day. He threatened them with registration of police cases in case of non-compliance.

This unworthy campaign obviously was orchestrated by police high-ups, who are traditionally very sensitive to act in accord with the wishes of their political masters. Thus we know the source of this blatant violation of Ahmadis’ freedom to practice their religion.

The campaign to deny Ahmadis their right to sacrifice an animal on Eid was undertaken in other cities of the Punjab as well. A banner was put up in a market in Sargodha.

It shows that Ahmadis are not allowed this right by law, Sharia, morality, (incorrect on all three counts – Ed.). People were told to report any attempted violation to a mulla Akram Toofani, on his phone # 0300-9606593. The mulla’s adopted name Toofani means ‘hurricane’.

It is noteworthy that the police and authorities decided to leave this painful banner on display. The resulting problems in such cases are thus the consequence of mullas/authorities cooperation. It is relevant to mention that while the Ordinance XX (PPC 298-B and C) mentions various restrictions on Ahmadis in detail, it makes no mention of sacrificial animals.

2011

(Note: Sub-Section III d titled MOSQUES UNDER ATTACK, AND WORSHIP DENIED is also very relevant and may be referred to.)

 

The ‘crime’ of Islamic prayer in Islamist state

Sadullah Pur, District Mandi Bahauddin (Punjab); July 21, 2011:            A court sentenced two Ahmadis for offering funeral prayers in accordance with Islamic practice, to one year imprisonment, in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The verdict was announced by the Civil Judge Phalia on July 21, 2011. The clerics celebrated the verdict and distributed sweets.

This case was registered against 18 Ahmadis of Sadullah Pur on April 8, 2003 under PPC 297 and the anti-Ahmadiyya clause PPC 298-C, in Police Station Pahrianwali. They were accused of offering funeral prayers of an Ahmadi in accordance with Islamic custom. These were the days of the ‘enlightened moderation’ of President General Musharraf, now in exile.

As per details of this case, Mr. Ghulam Rasul, Ahmadi died on April 6, 2003. He was buried in the common graveyard after routine funeral rites. The incident was reported to the police. The police were happy to take notice, registered a criminal case against as many as 18 Ahmadis and proceeded to make raids to arrest the accused. They arrested 4 Ahmadis including the community president, Mr. Mahboob Ahmad, an old man over 70, and Mr. Aziz Ahmad, a brother of the deceased. Bails were later obtained, although mullas agitated a great deal to get the bails cancelled.

These Ahmadis were prosecuted for the next eight years. Eventually a judge announced one year imprisonment for the president of the community and the brother of the deceased and acquitted the other sixteen. Mr. Mahboob Ahmad an octogenarian was arrested from the courts’ premises and taken to the police lock-up in Phalia.

The mullas distributed sweets in Sadullah Pur after the verdict and announced “victory” in the nearby village of Pindi Dhotran.

 

 

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