(2009 – 2010)
10,000 ‘martyrs’ and a quotation from Mein Kampf
The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore of March 5, 2010 reported the following news from Burewala, Punjab dispatched by its correspondent:
Tehrik Khatme Nabuwwat will celebrate countrywide Khatme Nabuwwat Martyrs Day
Thousands of sons of Islam (Farzandane Islam) were riddled with bullets (seenay golion se chhalni) in 1953 – Abdul Latif Khalid Cheema
Burewala (correspondent): Abdul Latif Cheema, the General Secretary of Majlis Ahrar Islam Pakistan stated that Tehrik Khatme Nabuwwat will begin countrywide celebrations of Yom Shuhada-e-Khatme Nabuwwat on Friday, March 5, in memory of 10,000 martyrs. Addressing the local pressmen in Burewala, the Central General Secretary said, “It was during the Muslim League’s administration (in the 1953 anti-Ahmadiyya agitation) that maximum shooting took place on March 5 and 6; and in Lahore alone, thousands of Islam’s sons had their breasts riddled with bullets.” He appealed to the Ulama Karam of all schools of thought to pay tribute to the martyrs of Khatme Nabuwwat in their Friday sermons, and also lay bare the intentions of the Qadiani-Jewish lobby.
The facts and statistics of the anti-Ahmadiyya riots of 1953 are quite different, as discovered and recorded by a prestigious high level judicial inquiry. Soon after the riots were brought under control by the martial law authorities, the government, appointed the Punjab Disturbances Court of Inquiry, Lahore with M. Munir (Chief Justice LHC) as its president and M.R. Kayani (Judge LHC) as member. This Court of Inquiry submitted a detailed report after almost a year of hard work and inquiry. It also recorded all the deaths of rioters in different cities at the hand of law enforcment agencies that included the army and the police. The judges recorded the following deaths:
Lahore – 23; Sialkot – 5; Rawalpindi – 1; Faisalabad (Lyallpur) – 7; Sahiwal (Mintgomary) – 1. These add up to a total of 37. The mullas have quoted in the past different figures on different occasions, the highest being 30,000 dead, but they seem to have generally settled on the figure of 10,000 – i.e. 26,900% increase over the actual total.
Some senior mulla is perhaps an admirer of Adolph Hitler, and has passed the word from his Mein Kampf to his minions: “The broad masses of the people… will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.”
As the call for holding the ‘Martyrs Day’ was given by the Majlis Ahrar Islam, it will be appropriate to quote here the Court of Inquiry on the role of the Ahrar in the 1953 agitation: “The conduct of the Ahrar calls for the strongest comments and is especially reprehensible. We can use no milder words for the reason that they debased a religious issue by pressing it into service for a temporal purpose and exploited religious susceptibilities and sentiments of the people for the personal ends.” (P. 259)
Half a centenary later, the Ahrar have not bothered to change their colours.
According to a press report, the DCO Sahiwal had ordered Abdul Latif Khalid Cheema to stop speeches in public (Zuban bandi) (The daily Din; December 22, 2009). This was a very appropriate order meant to promote peace in society. The orders perhaps have been withdrawn. Officials in Pakistan are made to wilt before the extremists by politicians. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif knows it; he complained to the Taliban for not sparing his province despite … .
Regrettable news and lessons to learn
Lahore, Faisalabad, DI Khan, Karachi; March 2010: We mention below some news from the print media, and also highlight stories published earlier that have a direct link with these deplorable events, in the hope that those who control the destiny of the state of Pakistan will learn their lesson.
The communal violence that erupted in Faisalabad and DI Khan on 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal, the birthday of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was reported by the Daily Times on March 1, 2010 under the following headlines:
7 Killed, 44 injured in DI Khan, Faisalabad sectarian violence. Barelvi Eid Miladun Nabi rally comes under fire, mob attacks Deobandi seminary in DI Khan. Six injured in Faisalabad violence, scores of vehicles torched.
Eight days later the same newspaper reported numerous attacks in Lahore including one by a suicide bomber:
Attack on SIA kills 13 in Lahore
Dead include security personnel, women, five-year-old girl
More than 80 injured – attack carried out using 600 Kgs of explosives. Investigators find bomber’s head.
Explosion unleashes school ‘hell’
Lahore: city of life threatened once again.
Have mercy on us
MTS residents demand removal of security agencies’ offices
Blast snatches loved ones, rips families apart
Rumours keep police on its toes
The next day the daily reported that “the CM (Chief Minister) said he was deeply shocked by the incident and the whole nation condemned this brutal act.” According to an English proverb: It is no use crying over spilt milk. What the political masters of this province permitted and promoted jointly with the clerics since the installation of the democratic government in 2008 is on record in the daily Express of June 03, 2009 in a huge advertisement in the vernacular press. It was on the issue of terrorism, and was paid for by the Government of the Punjab. This ad mentions that the Servant of the Punjab, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif presided over a meeting of prominent Ulama of different schools of thought on July 1, 2009, and the participants issued a Joint Declaration. Article 2 of this Declaration was worded as below (translated):
Belief in Prophet Muhammad (saw) Khatman Nabiyeen, his Prophethood, love and obedience to him is a basic identity of our religious oneness and national unity. Belief in his End of Prophethood is part of our faith. To protect the Namoos Risalat (honour of prophethood) is our religious duty. Anyone who is guilty of disrespect to him, directly or indirectly, openly or by implication, is an infidel, apostate and must be killed (Wajab-ul-qatl).
Mr Sharif should not expect such Ulama to deliver on peace and harmony in society. There is no other way to restore stability and peace in the province than an immediate, open and abiding break between the state and the mulla.
A few days later The Daily Times of March 12, 2010 reported on March 12, 2010:
- Top cleric among 5 killed in Karachi
- Sipah-e-Sahaba leader in critical condition. Four others wounded.
Saeed Ahmad Jalalpuri: The leader of the Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme-e-Nabuwwat, his son and two were gunned down in Sachal police precinct (in Karachi).
The death of anybody through target killing is sad news. Murders and assaults have become all too common in Pakistan. The entire society and particularly its leaders should condemn this trend, and shun any support or encouragement to mindless violence on disputable grounds. Maulvi Jalalpuri was not an ordinary mulla; he used to write regularly for the daily Jang, and his edicts on religious issues were widely read. In the issue of September 16, 2005 Jalalpuri replied to a question on marriage between a ‘Qadiani’ and a ‘Muslim’. Rather than giving a plain ‘No’, he chose to elaborate it; that according to him, Qadianis were ‘apostates (Murtad) and heretics (Zindique), they should be given three days to recant, “Otherwise the penalty for Apostasy (death) should be imposed upon them and earth should be cleansed of their poisonous effects.”
One wishes that the present day Ulama renounce violence and promote peace and harmony in society which will benefit all, including themselves.
Ahmadiyya reaction to the Times Square incident in New York
The Washington Post, Fox News, The Tara Servatius Show, St Louis Islam Examiner etc published at length a statement given by Mr Nasim Mahdi, the Vice President of the Ahmadiyya community in the United States. He made this statement at the National Press Club, Washington on May 4, 2010. Excerpts from the statement reported by David Waters in the Washington Post are reproduced below:
- Islam condemns terrorism unreservedly and totally.
- The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India had declared over 120 years ago that there is no place or justification found in Islam for violence whatsoever.
- He said that Islam requires all Muslims to live in peace and harmony wherever they may be.
- It is the duty and responsibility of all Muslims living in the US to be loyal to the flag and to be law-abiding citizens.
- This is fully in accord with the teachings of Muhammad, peace be on him, the Holy Founder of Islam, who said that hubbul watnay minal eeman, “Love of one’s homeland, one’s place of residentence is a part of the Muslim’s faith.”
I say to those among Muslims living in the US who are not loyal or who do not want to be loyal that they are benefiting and enjoying all that this open, free country has to offer and yet they say that their loyalties are to another country or government, be bold and leave and go and live in the lands where their loyalties belong.
Pakistan ratifies international conventions on civil, political rights
Islamabad; June 4, 2010: According to a press report, President Zardari has signed the instrument of ratification for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Earlier, the Cabinet, on 24th March 2010, approved the ratification of the conventions with certain reservations.
Ms Zubeida Mustafa, a senior columnist commented on the event in her op-ed for the daily Dawn of June 9, 2010. Excerpts:
“Admittedly, signing and ratifying some conventions is a commendable measure on the part of the government when its predecessors had shied away from it. But one hopes it is understood in official quarters that when a government undertakes commitments under international law, it is expected to enforce them by modifying its domestic laws accordingly.”
“The government has tried to safeguard its position against external pressures by adding a reservation that its commitments will be subjected to Islamic Laws and ideology, the internationally recognized commitments on self-determination and the constitution of Pakistan. Previously provisos of this nature provided the government a pretext to escape some basic responsibilities. Take the case of the two conventions ratified last week….
“The civil and political rights covenant states, “Each state party to the present covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status” and it is required to “ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth.”…
“After signing this covenant can Pakistan really justify the treatment it has meted out to the Ahmadis and its handling of the minorities who live in a perpetual state of insecurity. Does it truly plan to fulfill its obligations? …
“The covenant sets up a human rights committee to which every party is required to submit within a year of its accession a report on the measures it adopts to give effect to the rights recognized by the covenant and thereafter whenever a report is called for.”
Article 27 of ICCPR say:
“In those states in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.”
Article 2 of Universal declaration of Human Rights says:
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Ms Sadaf Ashraf, a human rights activist quoted the above in her blog and made the following apt comments:
“Despite of all these international declarations, Pakistan could not commit anything to its citizens, and all its governments hide behind the shield of religion and succumb to the pressure the religious political parties exert….
“Lets all make a conscientious effort towards having a tolerant society above all religious, cultural and social prejudices.” http://sadafarshad.wordpress.com/
An auspicious change to the constitution
The 18th Amendment has amended the Objectives Resolution that is embodied in the substantive part of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The Objectives Resolution passed by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in March 1949 during the term of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, is considered by many intellectuals as an ominous turning point in the course of state policy. The Munir Report brought it out clearly. Khaled Ahmad, an editor of the prestigious weekly ‘The Friday Times’ concludes his article ‘How a resolution ruined us’ in the following words:
“The Munir Report (1954) thought that the Resolution deviated from the thinking of Jinnah, but General Zia threw out the copies of the Munir Report from state archives. (The writer of this article bought English and Urdu versions of the Report from the heaps gotten rid of by the state from the pavements of Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore.) Even today, Pakistan is not willing to listen to the non-Muslims whose lives are threatened by the Objectives Resolution as the grundnorm of the Constitution. The ulema were threatening in 1949; today they have morphed into terrorists who promise true Islam to the Muslims. And the non-Muslims are treated like sheep being led to the slaughter under Blasphemy Law.”
This resolution formed a preamble to constitution of 1956,1962,1972,1973. Thirty-six years after its passage, in 1985 General Zia made it a substantive part of the constitution as article 2-A, “but before doing so he committed one final act of criminal butchery,” in the words of Yasser Latif Hamadani, “by omitting the word ‘freely’ from the sentence: wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to xxx profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures.”
Hamadani, a lawyer based in Lahore goes on to write: “The 18th Amendment, through its clause 99, amendment of annex to the constitution re-introduces the word “freely” this is perhaps the mightiest blow yet to General Zia’s legacy by Pakistan’s parliamentarians. This will have interesting legal consequences. Not only is, now, the state constitutionally bound to defend and protect minorities, including Ahmadis, but is also duty-bound to ensure that all steps are taken to ensure that they practice their faith freely and develop their cultures fully.” Silver lining’ in the Friday Times of June 18, 2010
Zaheer-ud-Din versus The State verdict, examined 17 years later
Mehreen Zahra-Malik is a Contributing Editor of the reputed weekly The Friday Times. Subsequent to the Lahore carnage she examined the historical Zaheer-ud-din versus The State (1993) decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She showed how important the court’s role has been – and can be – in securing, or damning, minorities in this country. Her opinion is important and imperative; it is reproduced below:
“Following Friday’s bloody attack on the Ahmadi sect in Lahore, the Pakistan government says it intends to launch a military operation similar to that being conducted in the country’s tribal agencies. But perhaps the fight for minority rights in Pakistan is better taken up, not in the battlefield, but in the courts. One has only to look at the historical Zaheer-ud-din vs. The State (1993) decision by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to realize how important the court’s role can be in securing, or damning, minorities in this country.
“The case was the first in Pakistan to consider the constitutionality of Ordinance XX of 1984, which made it a crime for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims and forbade them from, among other things, using epithets, titles and descriptions reserved for holy personages or places of Muslims. The Court rejected by a majority decision of four to one the contention that Ordinance XX violated any of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, in this case the rights of every citizen to profess, practice and propagate his/her religion and of every religious denomination and sect to establish, maintain and manage its religious institution (Article 20).
“The decision in Zaheer-ud-din was based on four main arguments: 1) Analogous to the law on trademarks and copyrights, the sate can outlaw other religious communities from using certain religious terms peculiar to Islam; 2) The right of freedom of religion extends only to the ‘integral’ and ‘essential’ parts of a religion and the Court has the power not only to determine the nature of these parts but also to restrict their practice if it leads to law and order problems; 3) An Islamic state is obligated to protect Islam and, to achieve this end, can prevent certain ‘fraudulent’ religious communities from claiming to be Muslims and disallow them from using religious symbols and terms used by Muslims; and 4) The fundamental right to freedom of religion as well as all other fundamental rights is subject to the limitation of Islamic law which is the positive law of the land.
“In Zaheer-ud-Din, the Court quoted the company laws of Britain, India and Pakistan and the trademark law of the United States to justify prohibiting Ahmadis from using Islamic epithets and practices in the exercise of their faith. It pointed out, for instance, that “the Coca Cola Company will not permit anyone to sell, even a few ounces of his own product in his own bottles or other receptacles, marked Coca Cola. The principles involved are: do not deceive and do not violate the property rights of others”.
“It should be clear that reference to trade mark and company law in the case is entirely absurd. Religion is not a commercially valuable property, nor Islam a registered company. The Court assumed here that there can be a copyright on God and that religion can be treated as a commodity. But religions are not corporations and do not register their prayers as trade names or trademarks. How can goods and material objects with financial stakes be compared to religion, faith and belief?
“In fact, by the Court’s own logic, Muslims could also, in countries where they form a minority, be accused of usurping the monotheistic beliefs of other religions. For example, the idea that “There is no god but Allah” is a monotheistic notion that precedes Islam in both the Christian and Jewish faiths. What would the Pakistani Court have to say if Christian and Jewish dominated countries forbade Muslims from making monotheistic declarations pursuant to a copyright or trademark law?
“Indeed, in an eminently sensible decision in 1978, this question was already settled by the High Court of Lahore (Abdur Rehman Mobashir vs. Amir Ali Shah) when it decided that civil law could only be used to safeguard rights of a legal character and that religious practices and terms could not constitute a proprietary right or fall within the domain of intellectual property law.
“In 1993, with Zaheer-ud-din, the Mobashir judgment was tragically overturned and it was announced that allowing an Ahmadi to publicly display his religious beliefs was like “creating a Rushdie out of him”. The consenting judges’ bias is only too obvious. The argument, made clearly on the basis of assumptions and religious sentiment, not sound legal reasoning, was that: “Ahmadis always wanted to be a separate entity, of their own choice, religiously and socially they should have been pleased on achieving their objective, particularly, when it was secured for them by the Constitution itself. Their disappointment is that they wanted to oust the rest of the Muslims as infidels and retain the tag of Muslims. The reason of their frustration and dismay may be that now, probably, they cannot operate successfully, their scheme of conversion, of the unwary and non-Muslims, to their faith. May be, it is for this reason that they want to usurp the Muslim epithets, descriptions etc. and display Kalima and say Azan so as to pose as Muslims and preach and propagate in the garb of Muslims with attractive tenets of Islam.
“The Court as a guardian of Islam could not allow this deception. Before Zaheer-ud-din happened, the constitution had already declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims through the third amendment; with the Court decision, it was decreed that any Ahmadis calling themselves Muslims or their faith Islam, were engaging in misrepresentation and fraud. Here, we see the Court imputing a negative intent to acts which are not socially disruptive. Indeed, it is clear that the focus is not on the act, but on the actor – Ahmadis being criminals because they are Ahmadis and not because they have committed any act, which in and of itself poses danger to society.
“The accusation that Ahmadis are impostors, posing as Muslims, shifts attention away from external acts which restraining laws usually cater to and should, towards inward motives – with the Court having the power to decide whether particular acts are a result of ‘genuine’ loyalty to Islam or another loyalty which the Court defines as ‘posing’.
“With the Zaheer-ud-din case, protecting Islam became the state’s obligation under the constitution and legal system of Pakistan. Zaheer-ud-deen held that ‘every man-made law must now conform to the Injunctions of Islam as contained in Qur’an and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) … Even the Fundamental Rights as given in the Constitutions must not violate the norms of Islam. … Anything, in any fundamental right, which violates the Injunctions of Islam thus must be repugnant.
“It should be clear why a decision such as Zaheer-ud-deen would tend to legitimize violent action against Ahmadis. Consider the court’s words when it asked how “can anyone blame a Muslim if he loses control of himself on hearing, reading or seeing such blasphemous material as has been produced” by the Ahmadis. The implications of such reasoning by a court on the life and liberty of an Ahmadi and on his/her property should be clear. Unless Zaheer-ud-deen is overturned massacres like May 28 will not only be inevitable but also defensible.”
A different opinion from the Ulama
Islamabad; September 17, 2010: It is refreshing to note that not all the Pakistani ulama uphold obscurantism and medieval theology. A few are well aware of the ground realities and have the courage to speak up against what is routine and popular. The daily Khabrain, Lahore reported on 17 September 2010 the proceeding of a penal discussion program in ‘Line 8’ on Channel 5. Extracts:
“Dr Khalid Masood, former Chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council stated that madrassas have now become a political party in the country and are playing the political game. The rulers used them and showered them with grants to prolong their own rule. … Dr Khalid stated that in Arab countries no mosque or madrassah can be established without government’s permission. But that is not the case here. The political ulama do not wish to see madrassas under official patronage. Terrorism is a crime, there is no justification for it, and it must be punished. Extremism leads to terrorism, he said.
“Muhammad Amir Mashhadi, Deputy Secretary General of the Majlis Wahdat al Muslimeen stated that ethnic and sectarian groupings were developed in the Ziaul Haq era. Suicide bombers do not come from a single group, they hail from different groups who are supported by different countries. Just as the political leadership here is corrupt, so is the religious leadership. He stated that while one group or another owns up suicide attacks, the Ulama assert that the US did it. This shows that they are tools in the hands of foreign powers. The judiciary, police, agencies, institutions, rulers, all are corrupt. Rulers’ top priority is to remain in power, so they protect and support the corrupt and the terrorists. Political parties support the extremists to augment their vote bank.
“Pir Mohi-ud-Din the president of Pakistan Mashaikh Council said that … it is not for the government to simply condemn terrorism, like a common man; its job is to take effective action. He urged that all madrassas should be registered and those who do not co-operate, their degrees and certificates should have no official standing. Extremism is being nourished in the guise of madrassas’ (education). Corrupt people who invoke religion for personal gain are involved here. It is the job of ministry of religious affairs and agencies to expose them.”
An Ahmadiyya press release from London
London; 13 November 2010: In the context of human rights and freedom of religion, it is appropriate to place on record excerpts from a Press Release issued by the central office of the Ahmadiyya … Jama‘at. The occasion was an incident of poppy-burning in London on Remembrance Day and a report of attacks on Christian community in Iraq.
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at hereby condemns absolutely reports that a small number of so-called Muslims gathered in Hyde Park on Remembrance Day and raised anti-UK slogans and burned a poppy, which acts as a symbol of the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives during the war.
“… The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat condemns this act in the strongest terms. A fundamental teaching of Islam is to show loyalty to your nation and thus such acts are nothing to do with the religion.”
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat also condemns in the strongest terms recent attacks on the Christian Community in Iraq. Any form of terrorism or extremism must be condemned in the very strongest terms and is categorically rejected by the teachings of Islam. The Holy Qur’an specifically instructs Muslims to protect the places of worship of all other religions and it invokes that all men and women have right to religious freedom.”
“Thus the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat extends its heartfelt condolences to all of those who have been directly affected by these attacks and indeed to the wider Christian community. We pray for those left bereaved that may God grant them patience during these very difficult times.”
Sentencing to death a Christian woman and the campaign against repeal or amendment of the blasphemy law in Pakistan
These events developed in the last two months of the year 2010 and reached peak at the turn of the year. It is not intended here to go into the history and background of the Pakistani blasphemy laws, as all that is available at the Internet. Here we mention only the essential incidents of the title story and draw conclusions hoping that these will serve long term interests of Pakistani people.
Almost a year ago, Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman was arrested on charge of blasphemy under PPP 295-C. She is wife of a brick kiln worker.
According to Aasia the charge is false; she did not blaspheme. The press reported that she had a quarrel with some Muslim women over drinking of water, who thereafter accused her of blasphemy. The village chief (Numberdar) dragged her by her hair and slapped her. The villagers put a yoke around her neck and paraded her. In jail she was tortured.
A Sessions Court in Nankana Sahib (the Punjab) sentenced her to death in the month of November.
It is difficult to say what the whole truth is. In Pakistan, witnesses are available on rent all the time in the service of religion. Over the years, it has become common knowledge that people use the blasphemy laws to settle personal scores, build pressure for property disputes or simply browbeat minority communities into emigration or live as third class citizens.
In Pakistan hundreds of Muslims and non-Muslims have faced fabricated charges under blasphemy laws. Till December 31, 2010, approximately three hundred Ahmadis have suffered in this category. They were all innocent – without exception, undoubtedly.
During 2010 when the parliamentary committee undertook a revision of the constitution to draft the 18th Amendment, they decided at the outset, under pressure from mullas, that no changes will be made to its Sreligious provisions.
Aasia’s sentence touched a raw nerve among thousands of people. The ordeal became a test case, and triggered sympathy among the educated and liberal sections of society. Mr. Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab felt strongly motivated to help the poor victim of what he called the ‘black law’. He met the woman in prison and assured her in public that he would arrange her presidential pardon. Some people who are opposed to the blasphemy law PPC 295-C spoke openly to have it repealed or at least have it suitably amended. It is relevant to mention that this law has no basis in the Quran, the primary source of Shariah. Also, there are numerous authentic traditions (Ahadith) that describe the Holy Prophet’s pardon to his opponents who were definitely guilty of grossly insulting him.
Subsequent events proved that the lobby which recommended change to the blasphemy law did not plan their act well. The ruling PPP did not explicitly own up this reform move. None among them took the lead, plan or orchestrate the movement. Only Ms Sherry Rehman, a former PPP federal minister tabled a private member’s bill in the National Assembly at the end of November. Everyone knows that these days she does not enjoy the confidence of the PPP leadership in the capital.
However, Ms Rehman had done her home work well to draft the proposed bill. The bill proposes introduction of the element of ‘intention’ to the act of blasphemy which would be punishable with 10 years’ imprisonment. The bill proposes punishment for abuse of insult laws, and for incitement to discrimination. It proposes procedural changes in that only Court of Sessions may take cognizance of blasphemy charges, and the cases may only be tried by a high court. Further, the police will not be allowed to arrest the accused persons. Under the circumstances, the proposed bill has some merit and deserves serious discussion in the parliament. But the rulers did not bite, and the mullas are now accustomed to not discussing religious issues; they simply issue edicts, and dictate their will.
The mullas are well-versed in exercising their power from the pulpit, the street and the bazaar, even if they fail to get elected to the parliament in national elections. They were quick to notice that the liberal camp was disorganized, not committed, had no leadership and lacked planning. This was another ideal opportunity to worsen them.
Accordingly, the mullas of JI, JUI (F), JUP, Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat, Tehrik Namoos Risalat, Sunni Ittehad Council, Sunni Tehrik etc, independently and jointly mounted a major offensive to prevent any change to the blasphemy law. The Jamaat Islami activists, who are otherwise in the political wilderness for having boycotted the last elections, were in the forefront of demonstrations. The JI provided a big chunk of the needed funds.
The daily Dawn reported on 17 December, 2010 that all these religious parties and other politicians who never miss out an opportunity to cut favour with people on religious issues, met in Islamabad on 16 December under the banner of MTKN (Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat) to promote the cause of Namoos-i-Risalat (the honour of the Holy Prophetsa). The Jamaat Islami leadership was conspicuous there in numbers. Mr. Shujaat Hussain also showed up. Observers were of the view that the get-together was arranged by the establishment to cobble together an association comprising the banned and shunned religious groups to facilitate their entry in national politics. The leadership, visibly assigned to the MTKN, had its own sinster message and design. The clerics decided that they will hold countrywide demonstrations on 24 December and a shutter down strike on December 31, both Fridays, conveniently.
By this time the PPP government was already on the defensive. They allowed meekly to pass the initiative to their detractors. The mullas held successful demonstrations all over the country on 24 December. The vernacular media provided them full support.
During these days mullas hurled all sorts of insults and threats to the rulers, and seemed to enjoy it. We reproduce below a few to convey their tone and confidence:
Any change in the Blasphemy Law is like playing with fire and blood. Markaz Khatme Nabuwwat (at Jame Usmania, Muslim Colony, Chenab Nagar) The daily Din, Lahore; December 2, 2010
Call for blasphemy case against Governor (Punjab) The daily News, Lahore; December 2, 2010
Jihad will become mandatory if the blasphemy law is amended – Fatwa of 500 (Brelvi) ulama.
The daily Waqt, Lahore; December 20, 2010
PM given four days (by Sunni Ittehad Council) to reject moves against blasphemy laws
The daily News, Lahore; December 28, 2010
Pakistan should be declared a Sunni state – Idrees Chinioti The daily Waqt, Lahore; December 9, 2010
JUI-F won’t let govt change blasphemy law The daily News, Lahore; December 2, 2010
Chiniot: Aalami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat in session – demands immediate action to punish Aasia, the cursed. The daily Din, Lahore; December 24, 2010
The mullas threatened a civil disobedience movement, long march to Islamabad and siege of the presidency. They talked of sacrificing their lives, putting a last nail in the coffin of the government, etc.
Ch Shujaat of PML-Q (of Lal Masjid) said that any pardon given to Aasia would be wrong and would entail violent reaction. Rana Sanaullah (PML-N) supported the punishment announced in the Aasia case. The lawyers of Nankana and Sangla Hill came out to protest against any possible pardon to Aasia. The conduct of the Brelvi Ulama was most questionable. Recently they had protested strongly against terrorist attacks on Mazars, but in this campaign they themselves indulged in extremist rhetoric, and outdid the Deobandis and Salafis.
By this time, the PPP rulers, who had not put up even semblance of a fight, raised the white flag and declared their surrender. “No change to PPC 295-C”, assured PM Gilani. The Federal Minister of Religious Affairs announced on December 31 that the government was not bringing any bill to amend the law.
The clerics however felt that they should push their advantage further. They refused to accept the government’s surrender, and demanded:
- Disband the Committee which was formed to consider amendment to the law
- Withdraw the bill tabled by Sherry Rehman
- Action against Governor Salman Taseer
- The federal minister’s statement is not enough; the Prime Minister should make the formal statement.
Otherwise the campaign will continue, they threatened.
So, the shutter-down was entirely successful countrywide on December 31. Karachi was reportedly crippled by the shutdown on that day. No major violent event occurred; it was an effective strike – a success story for the mulla, but its credit should go to the government for putting up nearly zero resistance.
A big blow to the liberal lobby was delivered when Governor Salman Taseer was murdered in Islamabad on January 4, 2011 by a member of the guard provided to him by the Rawalpindi police. The press reported suspicion of foul play, as the guard who gunned down Mr. Taseer had already been described by his superiors ‘a security threat’ 18 months earlier. This ghastly murder was condemnable but not for some. The Sunni Tehrik offered legal support for the assassin. The ultra-right daily Nawa-i-Waqt reported that the Khatib of the Governor House mosque and the Badshahi Mosque refused to lead the funeral prayer of the slain governor. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly termed Taseer’s killing a barbaric act, however the Nawa-i-Waqt reported The Assembly’s unanimous resolution in a one inch single-column space. All Parties Conference led by the Jamaat Islami vowed to defend the blasphemy law. The local PML(N) chief in Islamabad garlanded the murderer. On his way to the court, the assassin was showered with rose petals by the extremists. Rs. 40 million have been reportedly contributed for his defence, and hundreds of lawyers have offered their services free to him.
In the final analysis, the obscurantist elements have won the first bout, and shed blood. The rulers were worsened; they reaped what they had sowed. The mulla, pampered over decades, would refuse to fade away into oblivion simply for that being on the wish-list of politicians. The politicians also did a disservice to democracy. They have sent an implied message that serious issues concerning the Pakistani nation may not be settled in the parliament but in the bazaar and the mosque. Mullaism reigns nearly supreme, and Quad-i-Azam’s Pakistan is fading away fast over the horizon. The New York Times has called the events a downward spiral in which intolerance and self-destruction triumph. “The governor’s death is a tragedy not just for Pakistan but for all who understand that just and stable societies need honest debate and full respect for minorities,” the paper said.
Talibnization of a sizable part of the Pakistani society is a reality, and its leadership has its eyes on the capital. The situation here, in some ways, is worse than in Afghanistan. A final clash between the Islamists and secularists is inevitable, sooner than later. The hesitancy of the rulers cannot postpone the battle royal for too long.
Brief reports from various cities
Khushab; June 2010: Mullas held a Khatme Nabuwwat conference in the mosque at Badshahanwala Darbar. They used foul language, and distributed hate literature. Pamphlets were distributed in the Main Bazaar mosque also after the Friday prayer. Anti-Ahmadi activists urged businessmen in the bazaar to implement a boycott of Ahmadis. Mullas converged on Waqas Model Public School in Ronaqpura and spread sectarian hate among the students. Shubban Khatme Nabuwwat put up hateful stickers in the Ahmadiyya mosque street, and did wall-chalking in front of the Ahmadiyya center.
Jhang, August 2010: A calendar was published by anti-Ahmadiyya elements. This calendar contains highly provocative inscriptions against Ahmadiyyat. It was distributed in large numbers.
Faisalabad; July 19, 2010: An anti-Ahmadiyya conference was held in Faisalabad by a banned religious organization Jamaat Dawa. Mullas urged the audience to kill Ahmadis for their alleged role in blasphemous caricatures.
Gujranwala; June 9, 2010: Threatening letters have been received by several Ahmadis. These advised them to leave Ahmadiyyat and not forget the massacre of Ahmadis of Lahore (in attacks on two mosques).
Rawalpindi; June 2010: Ahmadis received threatening letters which conveyed that Ahmadis were Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be killed) and infidels. Ahmadis were advised to stop their activities otherwise to get ready to meet the fate of Ahmadis in Lahore.
District Gujrat; June 2010: A conference was held in Fatehpur Chowk Baiyan market, district Gujrat. 400 men attended the conference. Abusive language was used against Ahmadis and audience were urged to boycott them.
Islamabad; June 2010: A mulla of the mosque near Jinnah Super Market F-7 urged the workers of the shops to stop work in shops owned by Ahmadis, because they were Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be killed). A non-Ahmadi manager of a boutique owned by an Ahmadi resigned after this. He had been working there for eleven years.
District Khushab; June 2010: The police visited several houses and shops of Ahmadis and told them to erase Islamic inscriptions from their houses and shops and threatened them with registration of cases if they didn’t comply with these orders. Ahmadis told them that they would not erase them. In one instance five police men came to Mr. Naseer’s shop and told him to erase the‘Bismilah’, Islamic inscription from the shop. He said that he would not erase it, if the police wanted to commit this sacrilege, it’s up to them. At this the ASI ordered his fellows to erase it but nobody moved to commit this profane task.
Lahore; April 2010: A three day ‘Qadianiat course’ was conducted in Jame Masjid Model Town, Lahore. It was greatly advertised in the area. The next month there was a major attack on the Ahmadiyya mosque in Model Town.
Drigh Rd, Karachi; June 2010: Two men were noticed by Ahmadis taking pictures of the Ahmadiyya mosque. When challenged, they fled. It was learnt subsequently that they had been tasked by the daily Ummat to take pictures for an anti-Ahmadiyya story. This daily is in the forefront these days in Karachi in anti-Ahmadiyya propaganda. It provides media support to local mullas.
Toba Tek Singh; July 15, 2010: Mullas held a conference here on July 15, 2010. They opposed the construction of an Ahmadiyya mosque in Dher. They had planned to take out processions but the police and administration were informed of this, and they intervened. Mullas indulged in anti-Ahmadiyya rhetoric and dispersed.
Faisalabad; June 18, 2010: A Khatme Nabuwwat conference was held at Dar Arqam School in Samanabad on June 18, 2010. Mulla Mujahid used slanderous language against Ahmadiyyat, and called Ahmadis wajib-ul-qatl (must be killed). He announced that these sessions would be held every Friday.
The Education Department should take notice of what goes on in Dar Arqam School.
Okara; June 2010: Mr. Waheed Ahmad, proprietor of the Jubilee Lace Centre faced threats and animosity from a non-Ahmadi who has warned Waheed that he would call men from Deepalpur to harm him. Waheed was advised by the community to be careful.
Khushab; June 25, 2010: Jamia Masjid Muhammadiyya belongs to the Ahle Hadith; however the banned Jamaat Dawa is managing it. Mulla Muhammad Sadiq Kohati spoke against Ahmadis in his sermon on June 25. In the evening they held a Jalsa, in which mulla Abdul Wahab Ropari of Lahore was invited to speak. He used very foul language against Jamaat Ahmadiyya and indulged in anti-Ahmadi slogan-raising.
Qasur; June 20, 2010: Anti-Ahmadi mullas organized a one-day course entitled ‘Radd-e-Qadianiat’ on June 20, 2010. The lecturers made fiery speeches at the occasion and distributed pamphlets that promote hatred. A member of the Jamaat Dawa, Khushnud Ali organizes these events. He recruits youths for these classes and arranges training.
Thereafter these youngsters form the pool from where volunteers can become available for sectarian terrorism.
Noshehro Feroz (Sindh); April 2010: A mulla delivered an anti-Ahmadiyya Friday sermon in Qamar Abad. Abusive language was used, anti-Ahmadiyya stickers were pasted and hate literature was distributed at the occasion.
Brief reports from several places during the year
Opponents of Ahmadiyyat remain active all over the country throughout the year. Hardly a day passes when they do not attempt to disturb peace, or harm Ahmadis. Mullas address open-air meetings and conferences to agitate people against Ahmadis whom they declare to be Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be killed). They use foul language against the Jamaat, fabricate lies, indulge in slander, and issue hateful pamphlets, posters and stickers. They put up banners at public crossings etc, and the authorities do not remove them. A number of incidents do not get reported to the central office; some are, and sample reports are placed below.
Musawala, District Sialkot; June 23, 2010: Hafiz Munir Ahmad, an Ahmadi was kidnapped from his farm at about 9 p.m. on June 23. A mulla was involved in his abduction. He told Ahmad that being a Qadiani, he was wajib-ul-qatl. He mentioned a huge sum that they expected as ransom. They took Ahmad to a deserted Darbar by the riverside near the village Ayub Nagar. Ahmad managed to escape during the night at an opportune moment. He took refuge in a nearby village, and returned home the next day.
Kamonkay, district Gujranwala; June 2010: Mullas held a Khatme Nabuwwat Conference here, in which most of participants were madrassah students. They raised slogans against Ahmadis and called them wajib-ul-qatl. The situation in Kamonkay remained dire, and the police and administration were informed.
Kamonkay is not far from Muridkay, a well-known hub of militancy.
Kohlo Tarar, District Hafizabad; June 2010: A mulla delivered a sermon in the local Aesha Siddiqa Mosque in which he declared Ahmadis to be wajib-ul-qatl. He proposed that priority should be given to the three families residing in Kohlo Tarar. He put his audience to shame for their inability to put only three families to flight.
Muridkay; June 10, 2010: Mullas of the Ahle Sunnat faction held an anti-Ahmadiyya conference in Muridkay, Sheikhupura on June 10, 2010. They displayed anti-Ahmadiyya banners and placards. The speakers at the conference took a pledge of sacrifice from their audience for the safeguarding of the Khatme Nabuwwat.
Mullas of the Deobandi mosque also indulged in anti-Ahmadiyya rhetoric and slander. They instigated the people to socially boycott Ahmadis. Deobandi mullas openly used abusive language against the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya community and urged a boycott of Ahmadi students. They also associated Ahmadis with the caricatures on Facebook.
Kharian; June 15, 2010: Mullas held a Khatme Nabuwwat conference in Kharian on June 15, 2010. Numerous mullas came from far and wide to participate. The police forbade the mullas to make a sortie from the conference site to form a procession, and did not allow them to put up provocative banners in the market.
District Chiniot: June 19, 2010: A seerat-un-Nabi conference was held in Pakka Nasuana. Mulla Ilyas Chinioti abused the elders of the Ahmadiyya community and took a pledge from the audience to boycott Ahmadis.
Chadian, district Qasur; June 2010: Members of the banned religious organizations surveyed the houses and shops of Ahmadis there. The police were informed by Ahmadis of the survey..
District Qasur; June 2010: Khatme Nabuwwat conferences were held at Adda Nur Pur and Josa in district Qasur. Ahmadis were declared Wajibul Qatl (must be killed). Provocative literature was distributed and audiences were urged to boycott Ahmadis. Speakers spoke venomously against the Ahmadiyya community.
District Bahawalpur; June 2010: Mullas held a conference at Adda Kalanwala Pul in district Bahawalpur. Abusive language was used against the Ahmadiyya community, and those who socialize with Ahmadis were called infidels.
District Khanewal: Mullas generated agitation in several parts of district Khanewal. They distributed anti-Ahmadiyya hate literature in the area and urged shopkeepers not to sell goods to Ahmadis. A social boycott was attempted against Ahmadis in the district. In special meetings mullas declared Ahmadis to be Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be killed).
District Khushab: Banned religious organizations are active in district Khushab against Ahmadis. They sent anti Ahmadiyya SMS to mobile phones. Athar Hussain group, in collaboration with different organizations, held a Na‘at Conference (to glorify the Prophetsa) from the platform of Majlis Raza. This was convened in the main market by blocking the roads. This conference was also held last year and its purpose was to provoke the audience against Ahmadis. They published an anti-Ahmadiyya calendar with the following inscription: “The only cure for Qadianis – Al Jihad, Al-Jihad”. Hateful literature, stickers and pamphlets were distributed in the area and people were urged to boycott Ahmadis socially.
Tehal, District Gujrat; October 23, 2010: A mulla delivered a Friday sermon against Ahmadis on October 23, 2010 and declared them apostates. He said that apostates were liable to punishment in the sight of God and the Holy Prophetsa. They should recant otherwise God will cast them in hell. He urged people to socially boycott Ahmadis.
Islam Nagar, District Sialkot: A mulla Qari M. Afzal is active against Ahmadis. He obstructed the construction of an Ahmadiyya mosque in Chowk Data Zaid and urged Ahmadis to recant. He built a madrassa in Islam Nagar, which has become base for his anti-Ahmadiyya campaign.
District Bahawalpur; May 2010: A Khatme Nabuwwat conference was held in Ahmadpur Sharqia. Provocative literature was distributed and abusive language was used against Ahmadis. They also took out a procession.
District Sargodha; February 2010: Mullas alongwith 40-50 students of the local madrassa took out a procession in Chak 86 North. Abusive language was used against Ahmadis. Ahmadi houses were knocked at and threats were hurled at them.
Kot Momin, District Sargodha; April 2010: The police removed Islamic inscriptions written on the shop of an Ahmadi, Mr. Rafiq Ahmad, under the pressure of mullas on April 30, 2010.
Pooran Nagar; Sialkot; July 1, 2010: A rally was taken out under Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat against the Ahmadiyya community. Abusive language and slogans were raised against the community. An anti-Ahmadiyya conference was also held on July 2, 2010.
Joharabad, district Khushab: The police visited first an Ahmadi shop and mosque in Jauharabad and told them to wipe off words like Bismillah, the Kalima, Bismallah ir Rahman ir Rahim. They then went to the Ahmadiyya mosque in Dera Virkan and told Ahmadis to remove the Kalima. At both the locations, Ahmadis told the police that Ahmadis themselves would never do that, however if the police insisted they could undertake the sacrilege.
Although Mian Nawaz Sharif reportedly told the government in Punjab to be firm with extremist elements, it appears that the police have received no such orders.
Lahore – a center of anti-Ahmadiyya extremism
The capital of the Punjab remained a hotbed of sectarian hatred and religious extremism. The following reports were made in the months of April, May and August 2009 in the Monthly News Reports:
In April 2009
- The Imam of the mosque in Gulistan Colony spreads hate against Ahmadis. He prepares the youth for Jihad and takes pledges from them that they will sacrifice their lives in the fight against Ahmadiyyat. Hate-promoting stickers and literature originate here and are distributed all over Lahore.
- In Township, stickers are pasted on walls and doors of residential buildings especially where Ahmadis reside. These stickers contain slanderous language against Ahmadis. This campaign is undertaken by ‘Shuban-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat’. They also do wall-chalking, and boldly write their phone numbers. This also goes on in Guldasht, Town Do Gaij, Northern Cantt and Model Town neighborhoods.
- A man named Afzal owns a bakery in Rachna Town. He is very active in promoting hate against Ahmadis. He makes madrassah students use abusive language against Ahmadis. A few months ago he came to an Ahmadi’s medical store and beat him up there.
- The mosque in Karim Park, Ravi Road has also become a center of slanderous and abusive speeches against Ahmadis. The mulla uses diatribes and bad language that hurts badly. The same is done in a mosque in front of the gate of the Engineering University.
Punjab has a reputation for being relatively tolerant and open-minded. Upsurge in extremism since the Partition is on account of the official support to the proponents of obscurantism and bigotry.
In May 2009
If religious extremism has been recognized as the biggest evil afflicting this country, one would expect that the government would move immediately and effectively to control and eradicate this evil from the provincial capitals. However, the government of Punjab thinks otherwise; it organized a major End of Prophethood conference at the Badshahi Mosque last month (News Report for April 2009 refers). The Wall Street Journal was right to comment:
“The Taliban cannot defeat Pakistan militarily. The Taliban will win because what they want is already being implemented by Pakistan.”
(The Wall Street Journal; May 21, 2009)
Sectarian groups are well aware of the government policy, they move and act freely in neighborhoods of Lahore to propagate anti-Ahmadiyya hatred. The organizers of the Shuban-e-Khatme Nabuwwatare in the forefront of this agitation and they openly give their cell-phone numbers on their publicity leaflets, stickers, posters etc. These are: 0300-4900673; 0321-4571912; 0333-4398770; 0333-4221287.
The Shubane-Khatme Nabuwwat generally undertakes the following in their hate campaign:
- They stick provocative stickers on the gates and doors of Ahmadi-owned homes, apartments, businesses etc.
- They do wall-chalking in abusive language.
- Mullas hold Milad etc. and use these occasions to spread hatred against Ahmadis.
- Mullas urge their flock in Friday sermons to undertake Jihad against Qadianis. They call upon worshippers to implement a social boycott against Ahmadis.
- At times they commit violence. etc.
The most affected neighborhoods in Lahore are: Township, Cantonment (North), Model Town, Rachna Town, Bhati Gate, Karim Park at Ravi Road, Engineering University, Factory Area in Shahdarah etc.
In August 2009
Hostilities in Lahore continue to rise. Model Town, Town-ship and Green Town are worst affected. Anti-Ahmadiyya activities include distribution of hostile inflammatory pamphlets, stickers and the pasting of posters on walls. In addition, opponents try to involve Ahmadi youth in discussion and dispute. At such occasions they avail services of some mulla and indulge in foul language against the founder of Ahmadiyyat. Ahmadi youth are showing patience before this abuse in order to maintain the peace.
Hostile activities at other locations in AJ&K
Mirpur is an important city in Azad Kashmir. A few reports from there during June this year:
- Anti-Ahmadiyya leaflets were distributed in Mirpur Engineering University.
- Mr. Tahir Ahmad, Ahmadi, owner of a marble factory was threatened of harm, on telephone.
- Mr. Ashraf, an Ahmadi, is a teacher at Kurdah Town. He was targeted by local agitators for his faith. They met the headmaster and urged him to take some action against him.
- Tariq Ahmad, a young man worked in a tailoring shop. His boss asked him to recite the Kalima, which he did. At this the boss slapped him on the face. Tariq quit the job after this. A few days later the boss met him and apologized; his son had fallen ill and was diagnosed as suffering from blood cancer. The boss thought that his ordeal had its roots in his maltreatment of Tariq Ahmad.
At Rawla Kot:
Pir Atiq ur Rahman presided over a joint meeting of Jamiat Ulama Jammu and Kashmir and Jamaat Ahle Sunnat. Its proceedings were reported in a three-column report by the daily Ausaf, Islamabad of July 1, 2009. Excerpts:
- Qadianis are enemies of Islam, Pakistan and the Freedom Movement; they can live here only as non-Muslim minority. They will not be permitted to practice Islam.
- The speakers strongly condemned those people who support Qadianis. These people are not worth even a penny.
- Qadianis’ slaves (Zar kharid) should stop supporting them or be prepared for their doom.
- A great Paigham-e-Mustafa (The message of Muhammad p.b.u.h.) Conference will be held on August 13 at Rawala Kot, the home of Mujahedeen and fighters against infidels (Ghazis).
- Participating clerics included: Mufti-e-Kashmir Muhammad Hussain, Hayat Khan Qadri, Nazir H Shah Gilani, Abdul Aziz Abbasi of Majlis Amal Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat, A Qayyum Faruqi, Wajahat Gardezi, Dr Quddus, Aslam Zafar, Ghulam Yasin Gilani, Sardar Khadim Hussain, Mahbub Hayat Qadri, Imtiaz Siddiqui, Jabbar Shah, Zubair Naqshbandi, Haji Siddique, Tanveer Hussain, Israel Khan, Khalil Qadri, Shafiq Ahmad, Qari Hanif, Syed Gardezi, Rahim Dad and Altaf Hussain etc.
Organized opposition and agitation became rife in Azad Kashmir in the second quarter of 2009, in Bhimbar area particularly. Organizations banned officially for their terrorist activities changed their names and took a leading role in the anti-Ahmadiyya drive. They distributed provocative literature, issued fatwas of death, and assaulted Ahmadis, damaged their businesses while authorities shirked from providing security to the victims.
The extremist elements enjoy support from some political heavy weights.
Ahmadiyya headquarters reported the situation to the authorities and requested relief.
It would be appropriate to quote from the hate literature that is being distributed, to provide an insight into this campaign of hate. Excerpt (translated from Urdu):
It is highly regrettable that the group of damned apostates who should have been put to the sword, and the party of heretics who should have been hanged, these thieves of the End of Prophethood who should have been tossed in blood and dust, who should have been cut to pieces, continue to be a part of our social fabric in Azad Kashmir Kotli, Mirpur, Bhimbar, Muzaffarabad, Pakistan and through out the world of Islam.
It further states:
Read it yourself, and pass it on to others as well. This literature is published fortnightly.
The distributors gave their contact address:
MUJAHID TAHAFFUZ KHATME NABUWWAT: 0301-6187674
These groups are obviously free to operate openly, and are quite safe from the authorities who only pay lip service to opposition to extremism and sectarianism.
A letter was issued by the Central Police Office to all the senior police officers of AJ&K on the subject of “ …Suppression of Ahmadiyyat” wherein they were directed “to ensure implementation of the current law in true spirit.”
Anti-Ahmadiyya activities at various locations
Apart from the incidents mentioned above, mulla elsewhere kept up sectarian activities. Reports received from a few other towns, in the month of March alone, are summarized below:
Hafizabad (Punjab): Mr. Muhammad Ashraf, an Ahmadi teacher of Chak Chattha was contacted by the local police inspector in March and advised to take greater care of his personal security. A few days later, officials of the secret police met him and told him to remain vigilant and take care as there was significant threat to his life. A few hours later, agents of a federal agency contacted him and repeated the same warning. A few days later an official of the Special Police collected essential information about Mr. Ashraf. This activity was welcome on the part of the police and agencies, but it is for consideration that effective action against the source of threat would surely have been more useful and consequential. It is not far-fetched to suggest that the source is known to the authorities.
Mr. Ashraf’s family was under great stress. He took leave from his job for some days to avoid public appearances.
Islamabad: Mr. Sajid Qamar, an Ahmadi has a tailoring shop in Islamabad. In his absence, his helper took out Mr. Qamar’s book, written by the founder of the community, from his draws and started reading it. At that time a customer, with the appearance of a mulla, entered the shop and noticed the book. He made further inquiries about the proprietor of the shop, and returned later with two more of his colleagues. These three behaved most rudely towards Mr. Qamar and threatened further ‘suitable’ action. Mr. Qamar got worried, and informed his father who advised him to remain calm and turn to prayers.
Chak No.5, district Nankana: A mulla Badi uz Zaman of Marh Blochan made it a routine to come to this Chak and maintain a sectarian anti-Ahmadi drive. His foul and fiery language disturbed the peace of the village. Some of the locals supported him. He urged the villagers to implement a social boycott of Ahmadis.
Okara: Okara city was also affected by the ongoing sectarian drive. They targeted schools, colleges and business centers for distribution of provocative literature and leaflets. Ahmadi community officials received threats on telephone. Authorities were informed of these incidents.
In February, photo of a local Ahmadi leader was found in possession of a Khatme Nabuwwat organization worker. It was learnt that they had a collection of such photos. The DPO Okara was formally informed. He promised action and reportedly one person was detained for investigation. The result of the inquiry is not known.
Ahmadis were urged to remain on guard and look after their personal security.
Nabisar Road, District Umar Kot: In addition to the repeated attempts against the life of the president of the local Ahmadi community, and abduction of an Ahmadi youth, the extremist elements held a large open-air conference against the Ahmadiyya community during March. The speakers used plenty of foul language against the community and agitated the participants greatly with sectarian propaganda. The already tense communal situation worsened.
Bahawalpur: Vigilantes of the local Khatme Nabuwwat organization undertook widespread distribution of a booklet “Ishq-e-Mustafa aur Hamari Zummadari” i.e. Love of the Holy prophet and Our Responsibility. The tract was published by the Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat, address: Huzuri Bagh Road Multan; phone: 061-4583486 and 061-4514122.
The tract was addressed on its title page as: A message worthy of consideration by the crazies and moths of the Glorious Mentor, Khataman Nabiyyeen (P.B.U.H.). It was distributed in homes, major markets and general stores. It disturbed the sectarian peace of the town that is an important center in the southern Punjab that receives repeated mention as the next hotbed of terrorists.
The daily Dawn of June 28, 2008: In a high level meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by COAS among others, “The participants were unanimous in concluding that terrorism and extremism are the greatest challenge to Pakistan’s national security.” If that is so, the producers and distributors of the hate-promoting pamphlets like the one mentioned above deserve to be disciplined. Mere press statements, and no action, are a recipe for steady loss of state authority.
Karachi: Non-Ahmadis took out a procession at the occasion of Eid Milad on March 9 in An-Noor Society. When the procession arrived in front of the Ahmadiyya place of worship, they indulged in shouting provocative slogans. A night before they undertook anti-Ahmadiyya wall-chalking at the same location.
Sargodha: Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat organized a Tahaffuz Namus Rasalat Rally i.e. rally to protect the honour of the Prophet, on March 23, 2009. These people indulged in intensive anti-Ahmadiyya slogan-raising, and made fiery speeches. They callously promoted sectarian hatred and strife in the fair name of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.). Fifty-five years ago, the prestigious and historical Report of the Court of Inquiry constituted under the Punjab Act of 1954 to enquire into the Punjab Disturbances of 1953 brought on record the police assessment of the conduct of anti-Ahmadi elements:“Their outward object is to denounce Ahmadis, their Khalifa and Sir Zafrullah Khan but their inward object is to create disorder and lawlessness in our country.” That Report should be read by the present-day political leaders and government officials; they will find it greatly useful in tackling the current problems in Pakistan. It was published early this year again by the Nia Zamana Publications and is available in the market. In fact this Report should be on the list of Required Readings in the Civil Service Academy.
Khanewal: A three-day Khatme Nabuwwat Conference was held on 25-27 March in this city. Anti-Ahmadiyya banners were put up. The speakers made hateful speeches full of slander. They distributed abusive literature, and the participants shouted slogans.
Layyah: In the month of April 2009 the opponents distributed anti-Ahmadiyya literature to maintain sectarian tensions alive in Layyah district. This is where two months earlier they agitated to get four Ahmadi school children booked on false charge of blasphemy.
District Narowal: The mulla organized distribution of anti-Ahmadiyya literature in the town of Zafarwal. The Pamphlets were titled:
- Qadianiat ke bhianik roop i.e. Deadly appearances of Ahmadiyyat
- Kash ham bhi bedar hon i.e. May we wake up too.
Multan: A Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat Conference was held in Multan in March. The mullas made provocative speeches and distributed hate literature at the occasion. This is the city where only a few days earlier an Ahmadi couple was brutally murdered.
Anti-Ahmadiyya propaganda went on throughout the country.
Reports of some incidents of September only are reported below:
Dhani Deu, Chak 332/J.B; District Toba Tek Singh: Some religious activists are tried to disturb the law and order situation by instigating people against the Ahmadiyya community in the area. It was learnt that the mulla incharge of the local madrassah, committee members of the local Ahl-e-Sunnah mosque and a few others belonging to Sipah-e-Sahaba (a banned organization) were behind these activities.
In the village, there is a private elementary school owned by an Ahmadi. His opponents asked the students to procure them some Ahmadiyya pamphlets so they could use them to fabricate a complaint to the police for preaching. They urged the parents of some students to make a statement that their children are preached Ahmadiyyat at the school. This situation disturbed the school proprietor who was also the president of the local Ahmadiyya community. According to him the situation was getting serious by the day and might result in some unpleasant incident.
Bhaun, District Chakwal: Anti-Ahmadiyya activities were rampant in Bhaun too. Provocative pamphlets were distributed here openly after the Eid prayer on September 21, 2009. It contained baseless newspaper accusations that Qadianis are not loyal to the country; 600 Qadianis are being trained in the Israeli army; and Qadianis helped the Indian army in the war against Pakistan. The pamphlet urged total boycott of Ahmadi businesses in the town. It mentioned their names as well. It bore no address.
Ahmadiyya community has lived peacefully in the area for the past 50 years. The new situation was brought to the notice of local authorities.
Shah Maskeen, District Sheikhupura: The Ahmadiyya community here faced a total boycott in the past which lasted more than two years, from September 1974 to December 1976. Now again the communal temperature rose. Khatme Nabuwwat agitators distributed leaflets and did wall-chalking against the community. The local Ahmadiyya community felt concerned about its security, and took precautions to avoid any nasty incident.
Barali, District Kotli, Azad Kashmir: The situation was tense here for Ahmadis for a long time. Non-Ahmadis held here nominally a Milad conference in the local mosque on September 10, 2009, but their anti-Ahmadiyya intentions were no secret. Authorities were informed accordingly, well before the date. The police arrived there at the start of the conference, and stayed till the end. Mullas used abusive language against the community and its holy founder. They told Ahmadis to live like a non-Muslim minority, not to pray and not build any mosques etc. They used abusive language in the presence of the police and administration. The conference disturbed social peace of the locality.
Khuda Abad, District Badin: In this area anti-Ahmadiyya activities persisted, and small towns and villages have now been affected. Khuda Abad is a small town in district Badin, Sindh. It is home to a madrassah. They held a conference there, in which people were instigated against the Ahmadiyya community. Pamphlets containing corrupted and out-of-context writings of the founder of the community were distributed in bulk. It was written on the pamphlets that one who photo-copied it and distributed it further would get great reward from God.
Karachi; November 12, 2009: An unknown man wearing dark brown clothes came to the Ahmadiyya Hall at about 4 p.m. and started abusing the founder of the Ahmadiyya community. The Hall is used by Ahmadis as a place of worship. Some neighbours took the initiative to calm him down, and took him away. Ten minutes later he returned and went away on his motorcycle, while still shouting abuse. Ahmadis felt concerned over this incident. They posted additional personnel on guard duty to ensure security.