Miscellaneous reports (2016)

Miscellaneous, brief reports and reports from smaller towns

2016

This chapter is sub-divided in six sections, namely; a. Reports from cities; b. Reports from town and villages; c. The media; d. Disturbing threats; and e. Diverse

a)Reports from cities

 

Expulsion of Ahmadi children from school

Attock: Ahmadis of Attock in northern Punjab have been targeted in the recent past in many ways. Two Ahmadis were killed there for their faith. Two Ahmadi lecturers were fired from their jobs in a college. The latest enormity is expulsion of two Ahmadi children from their school. One, Muhammad Ibtisam was in the Prep class while his brother Basal Ahmad was a student of class III in Sir Syed Public School. The principal issued the orders on October 15, 2016.

Sir Syed was a great Muslim educationist in India in the 19th century; he established esteemed Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh in 1875. He would have surely disapproved of the action perpetrated by the principal of a school carrying his name.

Problem in education

Kot Lakhpat, Lahore; March, 2016:             Mr. Mahir Ahmad, Ahmadi was studying in a local college in Lahore. He became victim of religious activism when some of his friends came to know of his religious identity. They invited him to a meeting but Mahir did not go. One of Mahir’s friends informed him that they intended to harm him. Mahir also received threatening calls from an unknown caller. The caller was traced to be an acquaintance of his father’s friend.

The situation was assessed to be worrisome, so Mahir had to leave his home and had to move elsewhere. His family was advised to exercise great caution.

Another outrage in Quetta

Quetta; October 21, 2016:      Fanatics of Khatme Nabuwwat organization are breaking new grounds in anti-Ahmadi activism. Mr Muhammad Akram had a very unpleasant visit from them.

Akram was seated in a restaurant when a few men who had come on an official vehicle approached him and told him that he had been sent for by Mir Nematullah Zehri, a local dignitary. They took him first to Zehri House, then to an office on the Arts School Road. There a few armed mullas were seated.

One of the mullas asked Akram what made him join the Ahmadi community. Having heard the answer, the mullas told him that by joining Ahmadiyya, one becomes an apostate, a kafir, and his marriage bond (Nikah) becomes void, etc. Thereafter the mullas harassed him greatly and told him to recant.

They took him to a mosque where a senior mulla Qari Abdullah Munir of Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat told him to sign an affidavit with text that condemned the founder of Ahmadiyyat. “At this occasion, armed gunmen were present who moved around as if they would kill me if I refused to sign on the dotted line,” told Mr Akram to his Ahmadi friends. “I did not sign voluntarily; I am an Ahmadi, by the grace of Allah,” says Akram.

Incidents in Gujranwala

January 2016:            Mr. Muhammad Asif, Ahmadi, was working as electrician in a private company here for the last eight years. Now, when his colleagues became aware of his religious affiliation, they manhandled him and locked him inside a bath-room. He remained there for the whole day. Out of pity, some elderly person opened the door in the evening and advised him to flee.

The owner of the company took no action against the evil-doers, instead he fired Mr. Asif from his job and did not even pay his due salary of preceding two months.

Mr. Asif is facing similar problems at his new job.

Kachi Pump Wali:      Following two incidents have been reported from a locality in Gujranwala where three females were asphyxiated to death in anti-Ahmadi riots on July 27, 2014. After the riots, the families were shifted elsewhere due to security concerns. Now that the families are being shifted back, the hate-mongers are attempting to harass them.

  • January 03, 2016: The vender cart of Mr. Waseem, an Ahmadi, was parked outside his house when some unknown person set it on fire. Mr. Waseem was informed and he rushed to extinguish the fire. However, more than half of the cart was badly damaged. Two bottles of gasoline were found at the spot. Police were informed of the incident; they arrived and collected the gasoline bottles.
  • January 07, 2016: Muhammad Ashraf, an Ahmadi, parked his motorbike in the street outside his home. A youth came and examined the motorbike. Mr. Ashraf was watching his bike through a CCTV camera. Suddenly the boy inserted a key in the switch and kick started the motorbike. Mr. Ashraf rushed outside, held the thief and handed him over to the police.

The power imparted to the mulla in this ‘land of the pure’

Lahore; January 13, 2016:                The daily The Express Tribune published the following report that throws a flood of light on the state of ‘freedom of religion and faith’ in Pakistan for citizens in general. It should be on record.

 Interest in Ahmadiyya tenets makes citizen fear for life

Local maulvis threaten man with dire consequences

Rana Yasif

LAHORE: A citizen was compelled on Tuesday to move the district and sessions court after being cautioned against perusing Ahmadiyya literature.

Petitioner Bilal Munawar told the court that some individuals had threatened to kill him after learning that he was reading Ahmadiyya texts.  Munawar said he was a faithful, law abiding, enterprising and learned citizen. The petitioner said that he hailed from a moderate Muslim family. He said his elders had pledged allegiance to Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya (JA) before converting to Islam in 1974.

Munawar said he had chanced upon some books belonging to his elders lying in his house’s store. He said he had come to acquire a great deal of knowledge about theology, freedom of speech, importance of prayer and its significance when offered alongside others by reading the books. Munawar said all the texts had been authored by one Mirza Bashirud Din Mahmood Ahmad (the second caliph of the JA).

He said his mother had counselled him to desist from reading any more Ahmadiyya literature. Munawar said she had told him to consign the books to flames saying that his parents had embraced Islam and the family had no links with the community. He told the court that he had come to discover that some of his elders, including his maternal grandfather and maternal uncle were noted orators and writers who had represented the community when it was in its formative stages. Munawar said scores of their books were still read the world over.

He said the great stature of his relatives had left an indelible mark on him and greatly stoked his interest in finding as much as he could about his elders and their accomplishments.

Munawar said this had left his mother perturbed who had reported his activities to Tahir, a local maulvi. He said Tahir had told on him to other “rabid” maulvis of the area. Munawar said Maulana Muhammad Naeem Qadri had then personally visited his house in a bid to prevent him from learning about JA founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, his teachings or Ahmadiyyat saying this would render him an infidel.

He said he had refused to accept Qadri’s counsel as it was devoid of reason. Munawar said he, as an independent citizen, had every right to learn, read, analyse and delve into comparative religion. Munawar said fanatical maulvis had turned against him on finding that he was taking great interest in Ahmadiyyat. He said they had made a habit of visiting his house time and again to coerce him. Munawar said he had also received threatening phone calls that had left him anxious and made him fear for his life.

He said he had then approached the relevant SHO and the CCPO’s office in vain to have an FIR registered against unidentified individuals. Munawar implored the court to direct police to provide him security, probe the matter and register an FIR against those who had threatened to kill him.

 Ahmadiyya graveyard under threat

Peshawar; January 2016:      The police came over to the local Ahmadiyya graveyard, inspected it and met the district president of the Ahmadiyya community. They informed him that some people wearing black turbans had come to the police station and told them that they intended to remove the Islamic inscriptions written on some gravestones in the Ahmadiyya graveyard. The police stopped them from doing that. At this they threatened to gather the locals to remove the inscriptions.

Also, anti-Ahmadiyya hateful literature has been distributed in the city. Its copies have been provided by local Ahmadis to the police, the administration and the Army office.

Ahmadi families harassed

Nankana; May 2016:   Recently three Ahmadi families from a nearby village Chak 565 GB suffered harassment while shopping in Nankana. Some rogue youths recognized their religious identity, followed them, shouted at them, called them names and mocked them by calling Mirzais and Qadianis (derogatory terms for Ahmadis).

Nankana has a history of anti-Ahmadiyya agitation. Several houses of Ahmadis were burnt here in the past. These days stickers are found in several shops, forbidding Ahmadis to shop there.

 Religion based hostility in Gujranwala

Gujranwala, April 2016:        Some unidentified men wrote anti-Ahmadiyya hateful inscriptions on the shutter of Mr. Abdul Majeed Ahmadi’s shop. They wrote, “Qadianis Must be Killed (as per sharia), Mirzais are Infidels, etc.” Police were informed of this disturbing incident. They registered an FIR with No. 86 in PS Kotwali on April 9, 2016 against unknown accused; however no arrests have been made yet. Ahmadis are exercising caution and vigilance.

Ahmadi dead denied Ahmadiyya burial

Lahore:           Mr. Nur ul Mustafa, an Ahmadi died in an accident on July 11, 2016. His family and the mullas denied Ahmadis give him an Ahmadiyya burial.

Mr. Mustafa and his wife and children joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat 9 years ago. His brothers knew about this. He was running a school. He had got himself enlisted in a special group of Ahmadis who, under special provisions, are entitled to burial in Bahashti Maqbarah (a graveyard) in Rabwah.

After his death, the community officials visited his wife who stated that as per the deceased’s will, he should be buried in the specified graveyard in Rabwah. His brothers, however, were opposed to that.

Non-Ahmadis assembled in the house supported Mr. Mustafa’s brothers in opposing the burial at Rabwah. The situation became tense on account of this difference of opinion regarding the burial. It could have resulted in a clash.

The Ahmadi elders on the spot telephoned the Deputy Amir for advice and instructions. He was of the opinion that Ahmadis, as per policy, do not indulge in clash and violence. He instructed the Ahmadi delegation to withdraw and let the non-Ahmadis handle the deceased as they wished.

 An Ahmadi’s factory torched

Sheikhupura; September 12, 2016:   A factory owned by two Ahmadi brothers, Mr. Nasir Mahmood and Mr. Zafarullah S/O Mr. Mukhtar Ahmad Jutt was set on fire. Plastic wares were manufactured in the factory.

The factory was closed for the Eid holidays from 11 – 16 September, 2016. All sui-gas units and valves were shut. A guard of the factory informed Mr. Zafarullah on September 12 that there was fire in the factory. He rushed to the factory and called the fire services. It took them two hours to extinguish the fire. All the manufactured items, the machinery and the raw material were burnt. The police arrived at the scene and initiated an investigation.

Mr. Mahmood and Mr. Zafarullah are facing religion-based hostility and a virtual boycott at their place of residence, and the factory is located nearby. Nobody came to condole with them the recent death of their father. Again, no one came to sympathize with them after their factory was burnt down. The fire was most likely lit by someone motivated by religious hostility.

 An intensely sectarian hospital

Sargodha:       The daily Islam published the ad (reproduced below) of the Khatam an Nabiyeen (Seal of Prophets) Medical Heart Centre Sargodha.

We translate below some of the entries in the ad:

  • “Would you like that Muslim Ummah is saved from the clutches of social and welfare activities of the Qadiani evil (fitna)?(And) the lives and faith of thousands of poor and destitute patients are secure from the poison of Qadianiat?
  • (And), the Kalima remains at the tongue and the spark of faith in the heart of Muslims?

If yes; come forth and delay not becoming part of the End of Prophethood movement, and safeguard the End of Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Khatam an Nabiyeen Medical Heart Centre Sargodha

Avail it, and save your money as well as faith.

Sacrifice all sorts to prove factually your love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

 From: Muhammad Akram Toofani, Chairman Khatam an Nabiyeen Hot (sic) Centre Sargodha”

Note:  1. The managing mulla’s name Toofani literally means: “a hurricane; a great affliction …).

  1. One can perhaps safely claim that nowhere in the entire world such a sectarian and bigoted ad would be found to market a hospital.

Threats to Ahmadis continue in Lahore

Delhi Gate; October 2016:     An Ahmadi youth Adeel Ahmad Goraya s/o Mr. Muhammad Sharif received a threatening SMS from an anti-Ahmadiyya group ‘Al-Haraka’. It conveyed, “This place should be vacated within fifteen days, otherwise a suicide attack will be launched to eradicate the Qadiani religion – Mujahideen Islam.”

This incident was reported to the police station Factory Area, Shahdara. Mr. Adeel Ahmad has been advised to be on guard.

 Ostracisation in bazaar

Lahore; November 29, 2016:   Earlier, there were a number of reports from Lahore whereby Ahmadi clients, especially women, were maltreated by shop-keepers in small and local markets. However, now it seems that the disease has spread further to larger shopping areas.

Mr. Muhammad Siddique of UK accompanied by his wife and daughter was visiting Lahore. There, he went to Rega Market. The ladies stopped at a fabrics shop. The shopkeepers recognized them as Ahmadis, from the veil they were wearing. He was impolite with them, accused them of being Mirzai, Qadiani, refused to sell them cloth and raised a row at which these visitors put an end to their shopping agenda and quit the Market.

Ahmadi retailers from Rabwah are facing similar problems with some wholesalers in Lahore.

 A whiff of fresh air

Attock/Rabwah: 4/5 June 2016:  Homeopath Hameed Ahmad, Ahmadi was shot dead here by unidentified men. The authorities took due notice of the incident and displayed unusual sympathy.

The day after the attack, Mr. Khalid Sindhu, the Punjab minister of human rights telephoned the District Amir of the Ahmadiyya community that he intended to visit Attock at this sorrowful occasion. The Amir told him that the funeral party had already reached Rabwah for the burial. The minister replied that in that case he would reach Rabwah to join the final rites.

Earlier, at Attock the DCO and DPO had visited the bereaved family, were present till the dispatch of the dead body to Rabwah and provided a police escort for the journey.

Mr. Sindhu, the minister arrived Rabwah, a little after the burial had taken place. An Ahmadi delegation met him. The minister conveyed that the chief minister, who was in London at the time, had instructed him through the chief secretary, to make the sympathy call. The delegation thanked him for the gesture and told him of the background events leading to the murder. Arson attempts had been made at the deceased’s clinic twice in the past, and the perpetrator had been caught red-handed in the second attempt, and was handed over to the police. Had the authorities investigated the incident in depth, the sponsors of the attempts would have been surely exposed. That would have deterred the recent murderous attack.

The Ahmadi delegation asked the minister to thank the chief minister for his sympathy action and convey him their views about the past handling of the anti-Ahmadi situation in Attock.

The Urdu press reported the minister’s visit but refrained from naming the town (Rabwah/Chenab Nagar); instead, the report mentioned only District Chiniot as the visited location. The report made no mentions that the victim was an Ahmadi.

We withhold further comments and wait for the police investigation and consequential arrest of the murderers and their sponsors.

 Firm handling by the administration in Jhelum

Jhelum; December 31, 2015:            The administration has apparently learnt some lesson after the dreadful incident of arson and attack on the Ahmadi-owned chipboard factory in Jhelum.

Mulla Akram Siddiqui was the key provocateur of that attack. He is the one who incited the people to violence on the loudspeaker of his mosque on the fateful day. Later investigations have shown that he is deeply involved in sectarian and extremist activities from his base in mosque/madrassah. The police arrested him on December 31, 2015.

The administration was apprehensive about the back-lash. The DCO called a meeting of the concerned civil society leaders including the media and clerics, and told them that Siddiqui had been arrested after due investigation and the issue should be left to the court to decide. He urged peace and restraint.

Undeterred, the son of mulla Siddiqui, who is also an imam of a local mosque, arranged to take out a protest rally. The police came out in strength and held a flag-march in the area. Ahmadiyya mosques were provided protection for the day. Ahmadis themselves remained on high security alert.

All went well and there was no violent incident. ‘Where there is will, there is way’.

Reports from Towns and Villages

 Most unwelcome visitors

Shahkot, District Nankana; November 8, 2016: Two unidentified riders on a motor cycle came over to the house of Mr. Muhammad Afzal, Ahmadi and knocked at his door. Mr. Afzal was operated upon recently so he was unable to go to the door. Immediately afterwards he received a call on his mobile phone. The caller said that he was working for State Life (insurance company) and wanted to meet him. Mr. Afzal conveyed his inability to receive him. At this the caller lost his temper, called him a kafir, used obscene language, and conveyed that they had come to invite him to Islam.

Later, this phone call was traced to one Rana Adeel of 7 Chak Suny Bar. This Chak (village) is known as an anti-Ahmadi centre. As a result, a number of Ahmadi households had to quit the village and seek refuge elsewhere, which is an extreme form of hardship for land-based village-folk.

Mr. Afzal informed the police of the visit. He is exercizing caution. What level of caution will suffice, is however both unclear and out of reach for him.

Attempt to misappropriate an Ahmadiyya graveyard

Workshop 109RB, District Faisalabad; February 2016:  Ahmadis were allocated a plot at this location in 1992 to bury their dead. The plot has been used as such for the last 24 years.

An Ahmadi woman died on February 1, 2016 and they dug a grave in this graveyard to bury her. Anti-Ahmadi elements resisted the burial and arranged for the local police to intervene. The police arrived and told Ahmadis to seek permission from higher police officials for the burial. The superintendent of police allowed the burial to be undertaken.

The next day the opposition was again noticed by the Ahmadis to be in the trespassing mode in the graveyard. Ahmadis informed the police, who sent for both the parties. The opposition did not turn up for the meeting, but sent an attorney instead.

Having failed in their attempts to win favour with police, the opposition is now looking for some legal excuse to misappropriate land of the Ahmadiyya graveyard.

Spreading fear

Bhara Kahu, Islamabad; July 2016:  Mr. Arif Ahmad, an Ahmadi young man from Bhara Kahu, a suburban town of Islamabad reported an incident – rather cryptic, even disquieting.

Someone rang his bell at about 9 a.m. He lives on first floor. He came to the terrace and looked in the street. He saw two men there on a motor cycle. One of them asked, “Is your name Arif?” On receiving ‘yes’, he asked a silly question, “Do you live here?” Thereafter they departed on the motor-cycle whose engine was kept running all along.

Then, the same day, at about 2 p.m. the bell rang again. Arif found again two men, different this time, on a motor cycle with engine running. One of them asked, “Is your name Arif Ahmad?” Then he asked, “Are you a Qadiani?” Having got the answer they left.

Arif came down to make inquiries. Arif is well-known in the neighborhood as an Ahmadi. His neighbors are friendly.

Arif reported the incident to Ahmadi elders and requested for their prayers.
Official position and Ahmadiyyat

Chak 8MB, District Khushab; July 2016:     Mr. Abdus Samad, Ahmadi, Numberdar (chief) of this village for 63 years died on July 25, 2016. After his death, miscreants and bigots started a campaign to take away this post from the family. “We’ll not permit a Qadiani ‘Non-Muslim’ from this family to step into the post of our Numberdar,” they say. “We’ll rather throw them out of the village,” they threaten.

Ahmadis in the village remain alert to the worsening situation.

 Theft to implicate an Ahmadi missionary

Goi; District Kotli, AJK; September 2016:    The local missionary cleaned up his house and placed his books and community literature in the fenced veranda. Thereafter he went on vacations. Upon his return he found that approximately 70 books were stolen. This disturbed him greatly and he lodged an info report with the police station.

Some days later news was published in the daily ‘Kashmir Link’ on September 29, 2016, with headline, “Distribution of apostatical literature by Qadinais in Goi, Kotli”. Anti-Ahmadiyya statements of mullas were also published.

It is obvious that the theft was undertaken to steal the literature so as to subsequently accuse the missionary of proselytization, and then present the literature as evidence.

Reports from District Gujranwala

District Gujranwala; November 2016

  1. A two-day ‘Khatme Nabuwwat Course’ was held in the city by the Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat on 5 and 6 November. The course was widely advertized through banners some of which contained anti-Ahmadi lines. The mullas incited the participants against Ahmadis in the classes.
  2. Mr Muzaffar Ahmad Lodhi re-opened his welding shop, approximately six months after the anti-Ahmadi riots in Kachi Pump Wali. Four non-Ahmadi youth worked at his place; two of these were brothers. One of them reported later that his father had refused to accept his money for household expenses. As for reason, he stated that his father told him that the money had come from a ‘Mirzai’ source, so it was Haraam (illicit). The youth stopped working with Mr Lodhi and told the clients to stop dealing with him. He also agitated businessmen in the bazaar. As a result, Mr Lodhi’s workshop is hardly functioning.
  3. Mr Munib Ahmad has a business of selling bed sheets in the same area. The local shopkeepers act unfriendly towards him in different ways. Someone stole Rs 30,000 from his shop sometimes back. Once they beat him up as well. The locals have implemented a total boycott against him. They tell him that he is a Kafir and should recite the Kalima (that he does, anyway). Mr. Ahmad’s situation is stressful.

c) The Media

  1. Ahmadiyya annual reports on persecution and media hostility released

Rabwah; April 26, 2016:        Mr Saleemuddin, Director Public Affairs and Spokesman of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan released here annual Persecution Report and the Media Report for 2015 to the press.

He stated that there was distinct increase in anti-Ahmadiyya hatred and tyranny during the year. The on-going persecution of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya, initiated long ago, is reaching the limit; meanwhile the law-enforcement agencies continue to play puppets of the anti-Ahmadi lobby.

Below we translate only the headlines of the press conference printed in the daily Al-Fazl, Rabwah on April 27, 2016:

  • 2015: Further increase in violation of Ahmadis’ human rights
  • Premeditated murder attacks made on Ahmadis. They continued to be killed for their faith.
  • Ahmadis were deprived of participation in Local Government elections, through a discriminatory list.
  • A factory and Ahmadi homes were burnt down over fabricated accusation of defiling the Holy Quran.
  • Highly inciteful literature is openly distributed that urges the reader impose a social and economic boycott on Ahmadis, as also to murder them (for their faith). Does the official inaction over this amount to approval by the authorities?
  • Punjab government bans Ahmadiyya literature (including almost 90 books written by the founder of the community) on baseless recommendation of the Motahida Ulama Board.
  • Throughout 2015 Urdu press continued to publish fabricated and inciteful anti-Ahmadiyya news.
  • More than 1570 hostile news items and 334 op-eds were published as hostile propaganda.
  • Restoration of Ahmadis’ basic human rights and annulment of discriminatory laws demanded.

‘Pakistan, no home for Ahmadis’

Lahore: The prestigious Daily Times of Lahore made an editorial comment at the occasion of target killing of Dr Abdul Khaleeq in Karachi, in its issue of June 22, 2016. Excerpts:

 Pakistan, no home for Ahmadis

A 50 years-old doctor, belonging to the Ahmadi community, was gunned down in his clinic in the Abul Hasan Ispahani area of Karachi on Monday evening. Reportedly, the murder of Dr Chaudhry Abdul Khaleeq was second such incident in the same vicinity within a month. He was shot in his clinic where he sustained a single bullet wound to his head and died on the spot, as confirmed by SSP Malir Rao Anwar. The officer was of the opinion that it was a targeted attack. Later, a Jamaat Ahmadiyya spokesperson confirmed that the deceased belonged to their community.

Earlier in May, another member of the Ahmadiyya community was shot in a suspected targeted attack in the Metroville-II area of Karachi. Dawood Ahmad, 55, was sitting outside his home when two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on him. The victim had sustained five bullet wounds to different parts of the body and was taken to a private hospital, where he succumbed to injuries during treatment.

…The subjugation of Ahmadis started soon after independence in 1947. Led by Jamaat-i-Islami, right-wing groups spearheaded anti-Ahmadi campaigns. The first such violent movement erupted in Punjab in 1953, resulting in the imposition of martial law in the province. The military dictator, president of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq, furthered the agenda by passing an ordinance making it unlawful for Ahmadis to identify themselves as Muslims. In 2010, in Lahore, 86 Ahmadi worshippers were brutally murdered by the Punjabi Taliban. In December last year, protests had erupted after a shopkeeper was arrested for displaying anti-Ahmadi banners at his shop at Hafeez Centre, amid a crackdown by city authorities against posting hate material.

Over the years, speaking out on sensitive issues such as religious discrimination has become increasingly dangerous, highlighted by murders of some high-profile people including Salman Taseer.

The death of Dr Khaleeq comes in the wake of a ban imposed on Hamza Ali Abbasi by PEMRA for questioning the second amendment which declares Ahmadis non-Muslims in his TV show. All Abbasi did was ask the clergy on his show; is it allowed in religion to have the state declare anyone non-Muslim?

Unless a debate does not start in the mainstream media and public against the persecution of minorities and other sensitive issues like the blasphemy laws, religious fanatics will continue to exploit gullible people to incite violence against the minorities and everyone who dare to question their authority.

Pakistan came into existence to respect the rights of Muslims who felt persecuted in the Hindu-dominated India. And after its existence, what happened to Pakistan is the antithesis of what the essence of Pakistan was; a free country for all who made it their home. The persecution of non-Muslims and Shias and Ahmadis is a black stain on the soul of Pakistan, darkening the white on its flag irreparably, and sullying the message of equality and brotherhood emphasized upon by Jinnah.

http://dailytimes.com.pak/editorial/22-Jun-16/pakistan-no-home-for-ahmadis

No comment on depravity of an Urdu daily

Lahore; June 1, 2016:           Below we reproduce a news item from the daily Insaf (chief editor: Junaid Saleem) printed in four-column headlines, four in number:

Qadianis proliferate promiscuity to lure youth. They’ve initiated biological warfare with help of RAW.

‘Let’s be friends’ ads in newspapers and pretty girls trap the youth. Infected juices are offered during meetings.

Youth are infected with aids, hepatitis and other diseases. They are then treated and befriended. Contaminated syringes are doled out (in hundreds of thousands).

Liberal youth, sick coming to hospitals and prisoners in jails are specifically targeted. Sick women are assembled with the help of NGOs. 

                                             

Copy of the original daily

 In fine print narrative, the above is repeated with the following addition: “Many aids inflicted women are operating with this (Qadiani) group. Many women are recruited for this revolting drive by holding their children as ransom (sic).’’

 A vernacular daily reports on Ahmadiyya issue – a sample

Karachi:          The daily Ummat, published in Karachi filed a report as ‘Ummat Report’ on July 18, 2016 on Ahmadiyya community’s activities in Karachi. It is a deliberate dishonest mix of some facts with numerous fabrications and conjectures. It is a report that repeatedly violates fair journalistic standards and is a sample of corrupt and harmful journalism. Space does not allow the reproduction of the entire report here, so we, produce translation of only some extracts from this ‘Ummat Report’ of the daily that claims publication from offices in Karachi, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar:

 14 Qadiani Networks Active in Karachi

These activities are undertaken in 7 suburbs of the city. Poor Muslims are trapped by offers of free medical care, rations, jobs in foreign countries and financial support. Bagh-i-Ahmad, the Qadiani graveyard is one of the centres of Qadiani proselytization.

…Activists of Qadiani preaching network specifically target suburban and coastal areas of Karachi in the garb of providing medical assistance, whereby they trap poor and sick and make them succumb to the benefit and greed of free treatment.

… Qadianis have been establishing secret networks in Defense, Tariq Rd, Gulshan Iqbal, North Nazimabad and other locations.

…..Bagh-e-Ahmad, this Qadiani graveyard has high parameter walls. Next to its gate is the guard room. One of the guards, on plea of not disclosing his name, stated that he is a guard there for the last 10 years, and … he disclosed that often rich Qadianis come there in their expensive cars. They shut the gates, turn out the guards with instructions to warn them of anyone coming to the site. The guard said that these people often met in the hall inside while armed guards are on duty outside. This is normally done on Sundays as Qadianis undertake Work Day and clean-up their worship places and graveyards on Sundays…

….Sources disclose that Qadianis look for poor people, trap them with offers of expensive treatments in big hospitals and free medicines. … Ahmad Qadiani in Jinnah Hospital undertakes rounds of the Emergency Ward (for this purpose); he lives in Sector … of North Karachi.

This daily and its reporter could easily produce a similar report on the ‘activities’ of Mr. Abdus Sattar Edhi who surely was active with the poor, the needy and the sick, and he and his colleagues were often seen in clinics, hospitals and graveyards.

It is no secret that Ahmadis are resident in scores of Karachi neighbourhoods and their local communities are well-organized, mostly for over half a century, to attend to community functions which include social services to not only their own members but also to others, regardless of creed, colour, ethnicity or language. The Ummat has indulged in painting Ahmadiyya charity as dishonesty, sinister and scandalous. One wishes that the Ummat itself would do something similar and positive for the poor Ummah.

Also, this hostile propaganda report reminds one of the following statement conveyed to the UNHRC in 2010 by the International Humanist and Ethical Union while referring to the Ahmadiyya situation in Pakistan:

‘‘Need we remind the Council and the government of Pakistan that it was government and media support for expressions of hatred that led to the Nazi holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda.”

Prevention of Electronic Crime Act is draconian: AHRC

Islamabad; August 2016:  Recently Electronic Crime Bill was cleared both by the Senate and the National Assembly. This law, like most other laws, looks apparently neat and justified; it discourages child pornography, terrorism, corrupt behavior or misconduct of the government or officials etc. – but the devil lies in detail. The law is subject to interpretation and prescribes harsh sentences, long term imprisonments and hefty fines.

This law has been criticized by most of the civil society. According to rights groups, this law has provisions that will blatantly infringe upon fundamental rights that are guaranteed under the Constitution. It criminalizes activities such as sending text messages without the receiver’s consent, or criticizing government actions on social media with fines and imprisonment. On-line criticism of religion, the county and its courts are among the subjects that could invoke official intervention under the bill.

Asian Human Rights Commission, in a special Statement commented:

“Not only is the bill arbitrary, it is also severely unjust. The wordings of the law are overly vague; many experts have warned that the law will open a floodgate of frivolous litigation on behalf of the state against dissenters, and atrocities to harass them. The bill is deliberately left ambiguous to provide the government the crutches for censorship and suppression.… Under Section 8 specifically, the law enforcement agencies have been granted arbitrary powers; if they deem any offence to fall under the ambit of cyber terrorism, they may treat the said offence as cognizable and arrest without court permission or warrant. Of course, cyber terrorism is not clearly defined, leaving it susceptible to misuse by law enforcement agencies.”

Ahmadis in Pakistan have plenty of experience of misuse of apparently fair laws. The Blasphemy law, vast majority of Ahmadis felt, was of no great concern to Ahmadis because no Ahmadi would ever dream of defiling the name of his own prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his own scripture the Holy Quran. However, one of the devious drafters of this law, (a federal minister) confided to a Christian objector: (Don’t worry) this law was made to target a certain other community (Ahmadis). And surely enough, hundreds of Ahmadis have been most wrongfully implicated in the blasphemy laws since their promulgation. In fact, the largest number of accused, in proportion to the size of the community, is Ahmadis. It is no exaggeration to say that each and every one of those police cases was false and fabricated. Sad to say, even Muslims have suffered prosecution under those laws. Non-Muslims have been greatly victimized as well. Recently, 30 years after promulgation of these laws, a judge has, in very discreet words, mustered the courage to meekly recommend revisiting these laws.

Take the case of Anti-terrorism Act – apparently a well-considered and justified law. However, after its promulgation till date, Ahmadis have been crookedly made its targets. Ahmadis are known all over the world for being perhaps the community most committed to peace and tolerance. But in Pakistan, the mulla, the state and the society joined hands to use the anti-terrorism laws to terrorize the Ahmadis. At the turn of the century, it became a practice with mullas and the police to book Ahmadis under religious laws and add PPC 295-A to the charge sheet – simply because under this section the victim could be delivered to an Anti-terrorism court for trial.

Most recently, under the National Action Plan, the authorities became active to energize counter-terrorism department and nab ‘terrorists’. Ahmadis were already in the crossfire of the Ulama Board. The CTD personnel accompanied by the Elite Force raided the only Ahmadiyya book shop in Rabwah, owned by Mr. Abdul Shakoor, an 80-year old crumbly. Mr. Shakoor gladly sold them the Ahmadiyya books they wanted, issued them the voucher and stamped it for them. Soon afterwards they arrested him, locked him up and took him to an Anti-terrorism court where, in a speedy trial, he was sentenced to five plus three, eight years’ imprisonment. The gentle patriarch remains in prison; the CTD have won an additional feather in their cap.

The official cyber agencies have already amply shown their attitude towards Ahmadis. Ahmadiyya main website alislam.org has been blocked periodically in Pakistan. It is not available in the country now for years. Most other websites that have Ahmadiyya origin indicated in their title are banned in the broad sweep. Surely, that directly negates and violates constitutional commitment to free speech and freedom of information. Under the new law this grim situation could become dreadful.

Under this law any Ahmadi, individual or organization, could be prosecuted for:

  • Criticizing the government
  • Saying anything religious that would or could arguably affect politics
  • Posting religious content which any mulla could readily and malafidely term blasphemous, and, by extension, assert that it amounts to terrorism
  • Sending unsolicited messages, etc.

There is no shortage of mullas and bigots who are ever ready to get upset on smallest excuse and report against an Ahmadi or an Ahmadiyya organization. Recently a rabid group of antagonists sent a plea to authorities to demolish the minarets and niche of an Ahmadiyya mosque in a Punjabi village on the grounds that the law does not permit such construction – in fact, the  law only forbids Ahmadis calling their place of worship a ‘Masjid’.

An op-ed writer recently analyzed the situation resulting from the promulgation of this law and concluded for the readers, “Stop using the internet. Period.”

A quote from thefridaytimes.com/tft/be-very-afraid:

“Many of these (above mentioned) scenarios may seem extreme but given the potential, for abuse and the nature for what appear to be considered ‘crimes’, anyone with power and agenda can leverage their resources to wreck your life, and do it completely legally. The loosely and vaguely worded bill opens up the potential for abuse not just by officials but also by average people and organizations. For example, all data communicated is being retained and people often pass on sensitive information electronically. Someone listening in could use that information to blackmail. This is not just a theory; it has happened and is now being given legal cover.”

One does not need a crystal ball to see how the cybercrime law will be misused, wrote Huma Yusuf in the daily Dawn of August 15, 2016.

One is keeping one’s figures crossed hoping an occasion does not arise in the Ahmadiyya context to exclaim: I told you so.

Brazen, hateful and harmful propaganda – despite NAP

Lahore; August 4, 2016:        The daily Insaf published an op-ed by Riaz Chaudhry with the title: Qadiani Pakistan kay dushman hein (Qadianis are enemies of Pakistan). Extracts:

“…It is obvious that these people (Qadianis) are blaspheming Kafirs and enemies of Pakistan; they are implementing the plan of Greater India (Akhand Bharat), accordingly their presence is intolerable in Pakistan. They reside in Pakistan, but abroad they are busy undermining the constitution of Pakistan as it has declared them to be Kafir and Non-Muslim. This constitution provides them no place in Pakistan. Every Qadiani, wherever he may be is a Kafir and a traitor; he is an enemy of Pakistan and Islam. He is a blasphemer against the Prophet. Accordingly Qadianis should be fired from all important key posts. They should be closely watched so as to neutralize their conspiracies. If possible, they should be steadily expelled from Pakistan; our faith and Pakistan’s security calls for this. They are the agents of Christians, Hindus and Jews. It is suicidal to nourish and ignore them. The Pakistani state should take immediate action to tighten the noose on them; this is demanded by our faith and national security.

“…..As such, Qadianism is far more dangerous and destructive than other sects. In fact, their greatest leader, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, let alone being a prophet or a saint, was not equivalent to an ordinary individual as per Sharia; he was extremely corrupt and a great liar (kazzab)….”

The above calls for a brief comment. As for the ferocity and savagery of the writer’s style, we need not comment. However, the criminality and the damage intended to the social peace and national harmony is concerned, it should be spotlighted. National leadership, both civil and military, has finally come to the conclusion that extremism and sectarianism lead to terrorism and must be stopped. All citizens have equal rights. Promotion of hate must be condemned, etc. A few sample authoritative statements are produced below from last year’s print media:

 Hateful speeches totally unacceptable: Shahbaz Sharif (the Chief Minister of the Punjab)

The daily Mashriq; Lahore, June 30, 2015

We’ll annihilate extremists and make the country a cradle of peace: Shahbaz Sharif

The daily Mashriq; Lahore, August 19, 2015

Action against those who call each other Kafir (infidel)

Action will continue against hate-promoting rhetoric: Federal Interior Minister

The daily Mashriq; Lahore, September 8, 2015

PM vows to protect rights of all religious communities.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that all religious communities living in Pakistan enjoy equal rights and vowed to safeguard them.

The daily Dawn; Lahore, November 12, 2015

Media shall not call anyone a traitor or enemy of Islam or Pakistan: Revised Code of Ethics for the media

The daily Jang; Lahore, August 23, 2015

Army voices concern over NAP’s poor enforcement

The daily Dawn; Lahore, November 11, 2015

The presented facts show that there is contradiction in govt’s statements and actions: Chief Justice JS Khwaja

The daily Mashriq; Lahore, August 22, 2015

This article should be assessed with the help of above yardsticks, and effective action should be taken. Looking the other way is no longer an option, according to most well-wishers and the sagacious in Pakistan.

A candid opinion

Newsweek Pakistan published a brief but pointed article in its issue of 17 December 2016. It is harsh in tone but the message is vital, pertinent and sincere. It is relevant to the Ahmadiyya situation in Pakistan too. We print the text below, but omit the photo.

Islamabad has a shameful habit of forgetting its past

This is how an editorial in Pakistan’s oldest English-language daily Dawn summarized on Saturday, Dec. 17, the findings of Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s single-judge inquiry commission into the Aug. 8 Quetta bombing targeting Balochistan’s lawyers’ community:

“A meaningful policy-change can only be built on an explicit rejection of past policy from the Afghan jihad in the 1980s to the state redirecting militant energies towards India-held Kashmir in the 1990s. Pakistan’s problem with militancy is rooted in deliberate choices that became self-inflicted wounds, but the state has never acknowledged this.”

There is also reference to the “armed jihad” of non-state actors and the false incrimination of former allies such as the United States with whom Pakistan fought its Afghan jihad and took a lot of dollars. Dollars also rolled in from “un-incriminated” Saudi Arabia, but there is a lack of conscience about the official mouthing of such “honest confessions” as “the war on terror was not our war” and the belief that the U.S. was in cahoots with India to harm Pakistan by using Taliban proxies hiding in Afghanistan. The unforgivable factor in the Aug. 8 killing of Quetta’s lawyers is the official “forgiving” of the Islamic State as the self-confessed perpetrator because India had to be blamed.

If the state acts in the manner noted by Justice Isa in his report, there must be deeper unexamined parts of the national psyche embedded in the Constitution that even the courts can’t question. Last week, in Chakwal, an armed gang attacked an Ahmadi place of worship – under law it can’t be identified as a “mosque” – but the police in their report described it as a quarrel between two parties and included the Ahmadis as offenders. Ahmadis – manufactured as a minority in 1974 – are not Pakistan’s only embattled minority community. Christians too are attacked routinely, resulting in deaths and loss of property, as in 2009 at Gojra and in 2013 and 2014 across Pakistan while the state concocted ways of forgetting that it was moving towards its terminal crisis.

 d) Disturbing threats

A grave threat

Faisal Town, Lahore; March 2016:              Mr. Izhar Ahmad owns a software house. Five Ahmadi youth work there; the rest are non-Ahmadis. Mr. Ahmad received an e-mail from an ID, “Kill Ahmadis”. It stated that the message was from Abdul Wali, the Amir of Taliban. It conveyed: “All employees in your company are Ahamdis. Your office will be attacked if you do not shut down the company in three days. The attack will take place on Friday.” The e-mail ended with: “Kill Ahmadis to Get Jannat”; ‘Jannat’ means paradise.

Apparently the target is Ahmadis’ jobs. The e-mail was perhaps sent by someone who was fired recently by the proprietor.

Threatening letter on Jamaat Islami’s letter-head pad

Iqbal Town, Lahore; February 7, 2016:       Two threat letters were dropped at the homes of two Ahmadis, Mr. Aqeel Ahmad and Mr. Irfan Masood (head of the local Ahmadi youth organisation) on the letter-head pad of Jamaat Islami. Its translation is produced below:

Jamaat Islami. Mr. Irfan Masood! You belong to Qadiani Jamaat and have been elected head of its youth organisation. Accordingly you are targeted. Abandon your house within two days and stop your on-going propaganda forthwith. You have no time after these two days. You were targeted last year as well, but this time we’ll act (God willing), President Jamaat Islami.”

Last year such a letter and a pack of coffin were dropped at the house of Mr. Irfan Masood and at the local worship place. The Police were informed. They contacted the office of Jamaat Islami, who did not own up the letter. The Police have been informed again but apparently they have taken no action.

e) Diverse

Anti-Ahmadi hate-mongering in the name of celebration of the Prophet’s birthday (PBUH) and its relevance to Pak-sponsored UN Resolution 16/18 in year 2011

Lahore, Rabwah; December 12, 2016:  Mullas of the Khatme Nabuwwat (KN) factions and many others to whatever organizations they cling to, avail of the slightest excuse to promote animosity and hatred against Ahmadis. They do not spare even the felicitous occasion of the birthday of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Here we mention briefly reports from only three locations: Lahore, Rabwah and Dulmial.

Following happened at various locations in the city of Lahore:

  1. A number of processions come out in Mughalpura area. One of these was routed through Karol Bazar of Naseerabad. A number of youth joined in this mulla-led rally. Those in the procession raised anti-Ahmadi slogans and used foul language.
  2. Another procession was organized in Darogonwala Chowk. In this one also, they raised anti-Ahmadi hateful slogans and used filthy language against the Ahmadiyya community.
  3. Aashiqan e Rasool, i.e. Lovers of the Holy Prophet led a procession in Sik Canal. It marched up to Shalamar Garden. When the crowd arrived at the G.T. Road they indulged in extensive slogan-raising against Ahmadis and the speakers incited the participants against Ahmadis.
  4. Another procession came forth from Bilal Masjid in Singhpura. When this horde reached Crown Marriage Hall they changed their posture to an anti-Ahmadi rally and did what they normally do at such occasion.
  5. A big procession came forth from the Main Bazaar in Ganjpura. Bullock-carts, camels and motor cycle riders accompanied this procession. This procession intended to pass in front of the Ahmadi mosque but the police presence deterred them from this route. However they raised anti-Ahmadi shouts.
  6. Anti-Ahmadi elements celebrated the occasion on December 13, in Mustafa Abad in Street Nr. 42B. The organizers had placed Ahmadiyya Founder’s sketch on the ground and they told the participants to walk over it. They spoke intense hate and nonsense against the Ahmadiyya Founder.

It is amazing that this and a lot more happened in the provincial capital. It is obvious that the provincial authorities take the National Action Plan lightly and make Ahmadis a visible exception to the Plan. How can it succeed with such attitude to its implementation? The Supreme Court remarked, sometimes back: There is hardly any progress in implementation of the National Action Plan (Takay ka bhi kam nahin ho raha) the daily Mashriq, Lahore, July 4, 2015. As a consequence, it was not surprising that the Army voiced its concern over NAP’s poor enforcement. (The daily Dawn; November 11, 2015). And the COAS issued the statement: Laxity on NAP affecting Zarb-e-Azab (The daily The News; Lahore, August 13, 2016). Whither ‘War on Terror’!

 Rabwah: As every year, this time also the Ahmadiyya central office wrote well in advance to all the concerned authorities over the intended program of Khatme Nabuwwat organizations to come to Rabwah and take out processions. Under the extant circumstances when political and religious conditions are sensitive countrywide and the law and order situation is unsatisfactory, a little incitement can ignite a major event, warned the letter.

Despite the above, the authorities allowed the processions, and the mullas indulged in what they do every year. We shall, this year, not report the proceedings. Any report of previous years will give a fair idea of the hateful sectarian nature of this event.

 Dulmial:         Last but not least, the mullas of District Chakwal planned major mischief on this occasion to take over or have the Ahmadiyya mosque sealed in Dulmial. They wrote a letter candidly, to the district authorities threatening ‘extreme action’ if the mosque was not handed over to them. This is another story and is reported earlier in this document. Two persons died in the riot; and the Ahmadiyya mosque was sealed. Ahmadis of Dulmial now have no place of worship. The mulla succeeded as planned. To… with the NAP.

Here, one is reminded of a resolution moved in year 2011 in the UN Human Rights Council, Nr 16/18 by Pakistan in consultation with OIC and other member states. It was on the subject of Freedom of Religion or Belief. The resolution was adopted. Pakistan worked hard to achieve the unanimity. Here are extracts of this Resolution and its passage from the Wikipedia:

“Among its many specific points, Resolution 16/18 on Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief, highlights barriers to religiously tolerant societies and provides recommendations on how these barriers can be overcome. The resolution calls upon all member states to foster religious freedom and pluralism, to ensure religious minorities are properly represented, and to consider adopting measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief. Other recommendations include creating government programs to promote inter-religious tolerance and dialogue, training government employees to be sensitive towards religious sensitivities, and engaging in outreach initiatives.

“At a meeting on July 15, 2011, hosted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the OIC/IRCICA premises in the historic Yildiz Palace in Istanbul and co-chaired by the OIC Secretary-General H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and U.S. Secretary of State H.E. Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Secretary of State of the United States, the Secretary General of the organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, together with foreign ministers and officials from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Sudan, United Kingdom, the Vatican (Holy See), UN OHCHR, Arab League, African Union, gave a united impetus to the implementation of UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 with the release of a Joint Statement. The text includes the following:

“They called upon all relevant stakeholders throughout the world to take seriously the call for action set forth in resolution 16/18, which contributes to strengthening the foundations of tolerance and respect for religious diversity as well as enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world.

“Participants, resolved to go beyond mere rhetoric, and to reaffirm their commitment to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression by urging States to take effective measures, as set forth in Resolution 16/18, consistent with their obligations under international human rights law, to address and combat intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief. The co-chairs of the meeting committed to working together with other interested countries and actors on follow up and implementation of resolution 16/18 and to conduct further events and activities to discuss and assess implementation of the resolution.

“In July, 2011, the UN Human Rights Committee adopted a 52-paragraph statement, General Comment 34 on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) 1976, concerning freedoms of opinion and expression. Paragraph 48 states:

“Prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with the covenant, except in the specific circumstances envisaged in article 20, paragraph 2, of the Covenant. Such prohibitions must also comply with the strict requirements of article 19, paragraph 3, as well as such articles as 2, 5, 17, 18 and 26. Thus, for instance, it would be impermissible for any such laws to discriminate in favor of or against one or certain religions or belief systems, or their adherents over another or religious believers over non-believers. Nor would it be permissible for such prohibitions to be used to prevent or punish criticism of religious leaders or commentary on religious doctrine and tenets of faith.

“Article 20, paragraph 2 of the Covenant states: Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

“The ICCPR (51) binds all signatory countries. Consequently, countries with blasphemy laws in any form that have signed the ICCPR are in breach of their obligations under the ICCPR.

“On 19 December 2011, the UN General Assembly endorsed Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 with the adoption of Resolution 66/167. The resolution was sponsored by the OIC after consultations with the United States and the European Union and co-sponsored by Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Uruguay, Thailand and the Dominican Republic. With longer preamble statements, resolution 66/167 repeats the language and substantive paragraphs of resolution 16/18.”

In the light of above, one wonders if it is the same country that sponsored Resolution 16/18 and where all is happening that is reported in this story and in this entire monthly report. The Joint Statement mentioned specifically that ‘Participants, resolved to go beyond mere rhetoric, and… committed to work together with other interested countries and actors to follow up and implementation of resolution 16/18. Apparently the pitfall and shortcomings for the signatory countries were well-known. It seems that in the Ahmadiyya context, Pak governments and officials are perhaps not even aware of Resolution 16/18 which the state of Pakistan had the honour of sponsoring in the UN.

Recently, Mr. Trump the president-elect of the United States expressed his opinion in a tweet that UN is: just a club where people meet, entertain and enjoy themselves. It’s so unfortunate. It seems that he may not be far-out in his assessment.

Duplicitous modus operandi of the mulla under the cover of the End of Prophethood

August 2016:  Since long, mullas of the Khatme Nabuwwat (KN), End of Prophethood factions have craftily taken the line with the authorities that they are a group (or groups) who uphold a most noble and important dogma in Islam and have nothing to do with politics, sectarianism, extremism or terrorism. Under this fake presumption they demand and are granted all the space they need to indulge in all sorts of most objectionable activities against Ahmadis (who also believe in the End of Prophethood, with a slightly different explanation).

Pakistan: USCIRF Calls for the Immediate Release of Abdul Shakoor and the Dropping of all Charges

Washington; February 1, 2016:  The American commission for international religious freedom issued the following statement with the headline given above. Its text is produced below:

FOR IMMEDAITE RELEASE

February 1, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns the arrest, detention and sentencing of Abdul Shakoor, an 80-year-old optician, for propagating the Ahmadiyya Muslim faith, which is banned in Pakistan.

On December 2, 2015, Mr. Shakoor was charged with propagating the Ahmadiyya Muslim faith, a crime under the Pakistani Penal Code, and stirring up “religious hatred” and “sectarianism”, a crime under the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act. Mr. Shakoor was arrested in his optical store after he was falsely accused of selling an Ahmadiyya commentary on the Holy Quran, among other publications, to an undercover police officer. On January 2, 2016, he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment under Penal Code Section 298C and three years under the Anti-Terrorism Act, with the sentences to run concurrently. His store manager Mazhar Sipra, a Shi‘a, also was arrested and sentenced to five years under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

USCIRF Chairman Robert P George said, “USCIRF calls on the Pakistani government to immediately release Mr. Shakoor and drop all charges against him. His arrest and sentencing are outrageous enough, but more egregious is the fact that Pakistani constitutional and penal code provisions prevent Ahmadis from exercising their faith and even calling themselves Muslim, and that the country uses anti-terrorism laws as pretexts for denying peaceful citizens the fundamental human right to religious freedom.

Ahmadis in Pakistan are subject to severe legal restrictions, both in the constitution and criminal code, and suffer from officially-sanctioned discrimination. Ahmadis also continue to be murdered in religiously motivated attacks that take place with impunity. Pakistan’s constitution declares Ahmadis to be “non-Muslims,” and the penal code make it criminal for Ahmadis to refer to themselves as Muslims; preach, propagate, or disseminate materials on their faith; or refer to their houses of worship as mosques.

“The arrest and sentencing of Mr. Shakoor is another example of Pakistan’s systematic, on-going, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief”, said Chairman George. “Both Mr. Shakoor and Mr. Sipra should be released immediately and all charges dropped. Furthermore, it is the duty of the Pakistani government to ensure the safety of both men. Members of Pakistan’s Ahmadiyya community, as well as Shi’a Muslims, Christians, Hindus and others, deserve to have their basic human right to religious freedom both respected and protected by their government.”

Letter of U.S. Congressmen to the Secretary of State

Washington DC; February 26, 2016:            At the end of last month, more than half a dozen U.S. members of the Ahmadiyya Caucus in the Congress wrote a letter to Secretary John Kerry on the situation of Ahmadis in Pakistan. It is reproduced below.

Congress of the United States

Washington, DC 20515

February 26, 2016

The Honorable John Kerry

Secretary of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We, the members of the Ahmadiyya Caucus in the United States Congress, write to seek your urgent action in support of two Ahmadi Muslims – 80-year old optician Abdul Shakoor and newspaper editor Tahir Mehdi – who remain in a Pakistani prison after being convicted on baseless charges of terrorism and blasphemy. These cases demonstrate that Pakistan’s current government, even as it is vowing to crack down on the Taliban and other militants, is in fact furthering the ideology of hatred through its persecution of Ahmadi Muslims and other minority groups.

Pakistan has a dismal record on religious freedom, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in particular suffers some of the worst forms of persecution. Under the 1974 Constitution, Ahmadi Muslims are considered non-Muslim. In 1984, then-military ruler Zia ul Haq enacted the so-called “blasphemy laws,” two of which are known as the anti-Ahmadi criminal codes because of their specific targeting of Ahmadi Muslims. Ahmadis account for almost 40% of all arrests under the blasphemy laws. By an Executive Order, Ahmadis are disenfranchised: in order to vote, they must either declare that they are non-Muslim or sign a statement denouncing Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Community, as a false prophet. In Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, the legislature banned Ahmadi books and newspapers (including the daily newspaper Al-Fazl, where Mr. Mehdi is the editor), banned Ahmadis from holding any public meetings (even as militant clerics are given free rein to preach hatred against Ahmadis) and changed the name of Rabwah, a town that is home to tens of thousands of Ahmadis.

Unsurprisingly, this regime of systematic legal discrimination against Ahmadi Muslims has fueled brutal attacks against the Ahmadi community. Just last November, after a worker in an Ahmadi-owned factory in Jhelum, Punjab, made a false allegation of blasphemy against the owners, a mob of militant religious extremists proceeded to set both the factory and a local Ahmadi mosque on fire. In 2010, after months of hateful propaganda against Ahmadi Muslims by the Punjab government (including billboards stating that friendship with Ahmadis amounted to treason against the Prophet Muhammad), the Pakistan Taliban carried out simultaneous attacks against two Ahmadi mosques, brutally murdering more than 80 Ahmadis and wounding scores more.

Even as Pakistan’s government has amassed new powers purportedly in a bid to eradicate militancy, it is using that authority to further persecute Ahmadi Muslims. Pakistan’s National Action Plan (NAP) was intended to crack down on hate speech and literature intended to provoke sectarian violence. Ironically, it is the literature of the victims of sectarian violence that Pakistan authorities are targeting, and instead of protecting the victims, they are prosecuting them for seditious and treasonous activities. It’s hard to comprehend how an 80-year-old optician like Mr. Shakoor could be tried as a terrorist.

The trumped-up charges against Mr. Shakoor and Mr. Mehdi are cases in point. Shakoor was arrested last November on charges that he had sold Ahmadi publications. By selling these books (which reflect the peaceful teachings of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and denounce any form of violence in the name of religion) the government alleged he was guilty of stirring “religious hatred” and “sectarianism” from his optical store. Mr Shakoor was tried and convicted in an anti-terrorism court after a trial of less than three weeks. He was sentenced to five years of imprisonment under the anti-Ahmadi laws and anti-terrorism legislation. Similarly, blasphemy and terrorism charges have been brought against Tahir Mehdi, the editor of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s daily newspaper Al-Fazl, a 102-year old publication. Mr. Mehdi, charged on the basis that he was publishing and circulating a banned newspaper, has been denied bail and faces a three-year prison sentence.

As these tragic cases demonstrate, Pakistan commitment to eradicating terrorism is seriously in doubt. We urge you, Mr. Secretary, to use your office to place additional pressure on Pakistan to effectuate the National Action Plan in a manner that protects, not prosecutes, vulnerable religious minorities. Only when Pakistan ceases persecution of its citizens on account of their faith, and restores religious freedom for all Pakistanis, will it be able to effectively combat the ideology that fans the Taliban and other militants.

Signed by seven Congressmen:

Jackie Speier               Ted Poe                                   Gerald E. Connolly

Anna G. Eshoo           Eddie Bernice Johnson           Zoe Lofgren       Peter King

Media responsibility in fight against extremism 

London; March 19, 2016:      The World Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivered the keynote address at the 13th National Peace Symposium hosted by the Ahmadiyya Community UK. He presented Ms Hadeel Qassim with the Ahmadiyya Prize for the Advancement of Peace in recognition of her outstanding personal efforts to alleviate the suffering of thousands of refugee children stranded in dangerous and inhospitable camps in the Middle East.

At this major event, according to the press-release (extracts):

“He called on the media to use its influence ‘as a force for good and a force for peace’ by publicizing the positive activities of the majority of Muslims across the world as opposed to the ‘tiny minority’ who were perpetuating mass cruelties falsely in the name of Islam.” His Holiness also stated that there was no punishment for apostasy in Islam and that the Holy Quran was the standard bearer for universal religious freedom. His Holiness reiterated the need to cut the supply lines and funding of all terrorists and extremist groups worldwide.

“There is no doubt that the media plays a great role influencing public opinion and so the media should use this power responsibly – as a force for good and as a force for peace.

“It should show the world what true Islam represents, rather than focusing on the merciless acts of the tiny minority.”

Some MPs, a Minister and a Secretary of State also addressed the Symposium attended by 900 people from 26 countries.

Evil in the name of religion – sans frontieˋre

Ahmadi murdered by Pakistan-origin Khatme Nabuwwat activist in Glasgow, UK

Glasgow/Muzaffarabad AJK/Lahore:           It is learnt that Mr Asad Shah, a Pakistan origin Ahmadi living in Glasgow was stabbed to death on March 24, 2016. The police arrested one Mr. Tanweer Ahmad of Bradford who admitted to having committed the murder.

Later, in a statement released by his attorney, Tanweer stated that he had killed Asad Shah for his claim to be a prophet and for being a blasphemer. A false accusation, of course.

Mr Shah was an Ahmadi, much-loved in his community and liked greatly by his customers and contacts. Every year he would print out his own Christmas cards with personal messages for customers and neighbors.

The daily Adalat, published from Muzaffarabad, London and Islamabad, carried the following in its issues of April 6 and 7, 2016 (extracts):

My life be a sacrifice for the honour of the Prophet: A lover of the Prophet (pbuh) from Mirpur dispatched to hell in Scotland a claimant to prophecy.

The cursed (maloon) Asad Qadiani was a news agent. Ghazi Tanweer Qadri killed the cursed man in his store by stabbing him 30 times…. The admired (killer) hails from village Pothi in Mirpur (AJK).

Mirpur (Staff Reporter): A lover of the Prophet, the lion-hearted youth, resident of Saint (sharif) Pothi Khari in the suburbs of Mirpur, Tanweer Qadri dispatched to hell in Scotland a claimant to prophethood, cursed Christian (sic) after entering his shop by stabbing him 30 times. The cursed Qadiani had claimed to be a prophet…. The cursed believed and practiced Christian heretic (mushrikanah) beliefs. British establishment accorded him great protocol…. However, the British police arrested this lover of the Prophet and put him in a lock-up…. April 6, 2016

On April 7, 2016, the same daily Adalat published the following news under three column headlines (extracts):

The cursed Asad Qadiani was a blasphemer. I am neither sorry nor ashamed over the murder: Ghazi (warrior) Tanweer Qadri’s statement in the court.

            The cursed Asad Qadiani was a false claimant to prophecy and a blasphemer; his murder was perfectly licit and rewarding (ain thawab).

            That is the normal end of blasphemers. We’ll continue to dispatch such blasphemers.

            Campaign against me in the English media is entirely improper; Ghazi Tanweer Atari Qadri’s statement in the court.

Mirpur (Staff Reporter): The pride of the Umma and the lover of the Prophet, Ghazi Tanweer Atari Qadri who dispatched the cursed Asad Qadiani to hell, put forth in a statement that he murdered the blasphemer Asad Shah, deliberately and knowingly (hosh o hawas mein)….

Surely there are laws in the UK and in Pakistan to discipline such newspapers who bend backward to support and promote heinous crimes.

Khatme Nabuwwat Academy in the UK and this Khatme Nabuwwat (KN) group is known to have promoted extremism and even violence on the issue in that country. Soon after the incident, hateful anti-Ahmadi pamphlets were recovered from the Stockwell Green Mosque in south London. They were placed in the open so as to make it convenient for the visitors to take one or many.

The UK Khatme Nabuwwat organization routinely invites mullas from Pakistan to address their annual conventions. Mulla Ilyas Chinioti and mulla Allah Wasaya who are reputed to be rabidly anti-Ahmadi were among the invitees. The Khatme Nabuwwat parent organizations in Pakistan, the MTKN and IMTK have constantly propagated, in speech and print, that Ahmadis are Wajib ul qatl (must be killed) as per Sharia (their version).

Face book profile of Tanweer Qadri places him in the same category as Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of Governor Salman Taseer. Both have now been given the title of being a Ghazi (holy warrior). Dawat-e-Islami appears to be the favorite organization of these two killers. Tanweer liked the Madani Chanel TV that is run by Dawat-e-Islami in the UK. Dawat-e-Islami believes that punishment for Blasphemy is death.

It is learnt that the murder of Mr. Shah has sent shockwaves across Britain. Extremism and terrorism seem to have been successfully exported from Pakistan to northern latitudes.

In Pakistan, some decent and discerning intellectuals have taken due notice of this ghastly crime and made an arguable assessment of its nature and consequences. Syed Mujahid Ali wrote an op-ed in the daily Mashriq of April 14, 2016 and expressed the following opinion (translation of extracts):

Op-ed:              Are we really like that!

There is concern and unrest in the UK and all over the world over the murder of an Ahmadi in Glasgow by a Muslim activist. The murderer Tanweer Ahmad’s statement has added to the unrest. He claims to have killed Asad Shah for his faith. Soon afterwards, recovery of anti-Ahmadi pamphlets from a South London mosque was reported in the press worldwide. This pamphlet exhorted that an Ahmadi who does not revert to Islam within three days should be given death punishment. Although the pamphlets does not exhort one to murder, but it is reasonable to assume that when sentiments and feelings are agitated to that level on the basis of religion, some people, like Tanweer Ahmad, will surely take law in their hand after a group is declared Wajib ul Qatl (worthy of death), as a result of prejudice and hate against its belief system.

This situation is serious and difficult as this issue has spilled over from Pakistan to Britain where a large number of Pakistani Muslims and Ahmadis reside….

We ought to accept that Tanweer Ahmad and Mumtaz Qadri are not to be blamed (entirely); it is the religious leaders and missionaries who lead them to this are responsible. Muslims, as a group, should understand that if they tolerate such leaders they will continue to be condemned worldwide, and their problems will grow and become complex. The right wing elements that were only a few racist youth, have become a political force on account of Muslims’ imprudence. Their presence has grown by 10 – 20% in the parliaments of Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Australia etc….

Hateful anti-Ahmadi pamphlets have been recovered in hundreds in the UK from South London’s Stockwell Green Mosque. These were placed openly for easy access. Mr Taha Qureshi, the mosque spokesman denied having ever seen those pamphlets and also denied any link with Khatme Nabuwwat organization. He said that someone maliciously put these pamphlets there. Journalists soon discovered that Khatme Nabuwwat is a registered organization with the Charity Commission, whose office is shown as in this very mosque. Not only this, four men of this organization are in the management team of trustees of the Stockwell Green Mosque. As such the management of this mosque knows that they indulge in illegal activities by distribution of these hateful pamphlets. After the exposure, now they seek support in lies and falsehood. These lies not only blacken the face of managers of this mosque but also of all the Muslims worldwide. It was binding on Taha Qureshi, as a trustee or spokesman of this mosque, to admit his wrong-doing as a good Muslim and announce repentance and promise never to do it again. But these people have gotten used to hypocrisy, although no religion teaches this nor any law permits this, nor such a person can be called civilized or decent.

Some groups of Muslims in Britain are under the influence of Khatme Nabuwwat organization. They remain ever active in promoting hatred against Ahmadis. The pamphlets that were recovered from the (Stockwell Green) mosque are reported to have been distributed among Muslims in universities, shops and restaurants.

There are numerous terrorist groups in the world who justify killing and violence through a particular interpretation of Islam. But their aims are political. However these types of campaigns against minorities like Ahmadis create conditions that have a wider impact on social environment. Simpletons like Mumtaz Qadri and Tanweer Ahmad get misguided and commit heinous crimes like murder. Thus spreading hate against other beliefs and groups becomes as serious a crime as terrorism – its effect is deeper and more dangerous.

 A Report from the weekly Economist of London, from Bradford

London:          A Muslim extremist committed to his version of the Khatme Nabuwwat (end of prophethood) travelled to Glasgow on March 24, 2016 and stabbed to death an Ahmadi shop-keeper there in broad daylight.

Subsequent investigations and follow-up resulted in recovery of anti-Ahmadi hate literature compiled by a self-styled Khatme Nabuwwat activist mulla, from the Stockwell Green mosque in south London.

The weekly The Economist published a report on this incident on May 21, 2016, (extracts):

The murder of an Ahmadi – Preparing for the worst

THERE are few signs of life at the Stockwell Green mosque in south London at the moment. The gates are padlocked and the telephones have been disconnected. And some hope it will stay that way.

The weeks since have led to some self-examination among Muslims. But to prevent another atrocity, outsiders say the bigotry that might have contributed to it now has to be tackled head-on, beginning with the Stockwell mosque.

Yet it is now clear that the sectarianism of Pakistan has pursued them to Britain, particularly in the form of the Khatme Nubuwwat movement, with which the Stockwell Green mosque is associated. The purpose of the movement (meaning “finality of the Prophethood”), which one official says started in Britain in 1983, is to refute the claims of the Ahmadiya, and to inform all Muslims that they are in fact “traitors to Islam”, as the Khatme Nubuwwat Academy’s website reminds everyone. The same website helpfully lists all the fatwas against the Ahmadi in Urdu, English and Arabic. Readers learn that the “dangerous” Ahmadiya (called by a derogatory term) are a “destructive” sect with a “filthy agenda” that helps Zionism. Muslims are urged not to have anything to do with them.

… To this end, it has suspended the Stockwell Green mosque’s membership of the MCB and has set up a panel to investigate whether it was inciting hatred. …

This response is too lame for some, however. One activist, Sadaf Ahmed, has launched a petition for the government to conduct an official investigation into the activities of Khatme Nubuwwat. She points out that the group’s speakers travel freely to Britain to vilify the Ahmadis. Qari Hanif Qureshi, a hate preacher who called for the death of Salmaan Taseer, an ex-governor of Punjab who challenged Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and was murdered for it in 2011, spoke on May 4th at Luton mosque. Ms Ahmed argues that “If we replace the word Ahmadi in any of the Khatme Nubuwwat’s speeches or literature with Jew or Muslim or Hindu, we’d be disgusted at their hateful rhetoric.”

The fact that the Muslims have voluntarily padlocked this mosque also shows how effective the British police are. It also betrays the guilt and crime of the Khatme Nabuwwat linked board members of this mosque. If the authorities in Pakistan were half as efficient, serious about their responsibilities and effective as their British peers, the mullas will rush for their holes and never dare came out to threaten the society.

 Declaration of Nizam-e-Mustafa Conference of Islamist political parties

Lahore; April 3, 2016:            The daily Ausaf reported a conference in Lahore in which religious parties decided to launch once again Nizam Mustafa campaign. They issued a joint declaration including the following, inter alia (extracts):

  • Muslim women, Millat Islamia Pakistan and religious leadership, in view of the federation and Punjab government’s activities intended to liberalize the society to the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, the martyr and the lover of the Prophet, condemn strongly once again all these actions.
  • Nizame Mustafa Conference shall not permit the government to make any amendments to the blasphemy laws nor shall allow any Qadiani conspiracies to succeed against the dogma of End of Prophethood (Khatme Nabuwwat)
  • Operation against madrassas, in the guise of war on terror, should cease.
  • This conference condemns judicial murders in Bangladesh of Jamaat Islami leaders and also condemns government of Pakistan’s questionable silence.
  • Nizame Mustafa campaign shall be launched in Rawalpindi. Conferences will be held in Rawalpindi, Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore and Gilgit. A million-march to Islamabad will follow.

The Ausaf reported participation of the following leaders, among others in this conference held at Mansura, the JI headquarters:

Siraj ul Haq (JI), Liaquat Baloch (JI), Fazlur Rehman (JUI), Hafiz Saeed (JuD), Samiul Haq (JUI-S), Qari Yaqub (JUI-S), Abul Khair, etc

 A (Shia) lady shows the way in moral courage

Lahore; May 20, 2016:           The daily The Express Tribune covered the proceedings of the two-day consultations of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on the issue of Faith-Based Violence, Illegal Occupation and Destruction of Places of Worship, and published a report, (extracts):

“Minority communities are marginalized by masquerading personal matters as religious issues,” said Jalila Haider, a representative of We the Human….

“Haider was representing the Hazara Community from Quetta. She discussed faith-based discrimination in Baluchistan. …

“She said every society should take responsibility for mistakes made in the past. “Hazaras sided with the state when Ahmadis were declared non-Muslim. On behalf of my community, I would like to apologize to representatives of Jamaat Ahmadiyya present at the conference for this mistake,” she said. …”

When contacted, Ms Haider corrected the above report in that it were not ‘Hazaras’ who sided with the state, but ‘Shias’ on whose behalf she apologized.

Bravo.

Reconfirmation of an earlier official divulgence

Karachi; the Dawn report on August 12, 2016:        In this report the daily Dawn’s Shiza Malik quoted from London that Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali stated that the authorities in Pakistan had allayed his concerns and told him ‘the (Blasphemy) law was made to target another community.’

It is on record that Maulvi Abdus Sattar Niazi, a former federal minister told an audience that minorities need not worry over the Blasphemy law as it was promulgated (by the Zia regime) to target another community (Ahmadis).

In a recent report Ms. Shiza Malik in London met Bishop Nazir-Ali “in his office overlooking the famous Wimple Street in Westminster, who in 1994 became the first non-white diocesan bishop at the Church of England and was among the final two candidates to become the Archbishop of Canterbury….”

Among many other comments and remarks, Bishop Nazir-Ali came forth with a comment on Pakistan’s blasphemy law. According to the Dawn:

“Asked about the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, Bishop Michael says that the law not only exacerbates the sense of insecurity for many communities, but also contributes to an atmosphere of mistrust and hatred.” Initially, when Christians expressed concerns about the blasphemy law, they were told that the law was made to target a certain other community. I warned a presidential advisor that no matter who the law is intended for, it would affect justice and freedom and no one would be exempt. And this is what happened,” he said.”

General Zia and his coterie knew very well that Ahmadis believed in Muhammad (PBUH) as the Messenger of Allah and held him in the highest esteem, yet he targeted Ahmadis through this law in the highest degree of dishonesty, moral corruption and treachery.

Tribunal recommends revisiting blasphemy law (including anti-Ahmadi clauses)

Lahore; August 10, 2016:      The Express Tribune in its issue of August 10 printed a report on recommendations made by one-man tribunal, comprising a then-judge of the Lahore High Court on Gojra riots Inquiry in which 7 Christians died. Excerpts:

“Pakistan needs to revisit certain provisions in the blasphemy law to bring it in line with Article 25 of the Constitution in addition to ensuring the law is not misused.

“The recommendations…proposed that five provisions of law should be reviewed after ‘achieving consensus of Mujtahideen of all Muslim schools of thought and after due consultation with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

“…It calls for amendments to its provisions of 295-B (defiling of Quran), 295-C (defamatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), 298-A (derogatory remarks against holy personalities of Islam), (Anti-Ahmadiyya) 298-B (misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles reserved for certain personages or places of Muslims), and 298-C (Ahmadi calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith).

“The judge also pointed out that the law is often misused for ulterior motives. He referred to the rising number of blasphemy cases registered in the country, though conviction rate remains low and none of the sentences awarded have been fully executed. He suggested that misuse can be easily avoided by introducing another provision in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) prescribing the same punishment for false complaints. The amendment, however, will have to be approved by parliament.”

A bizarre league of 7 religious parties in Baluchistan

Quetta; August 1, 2016:         The daily Insaf Lahore reported the following (extracts):

7 religious parties in Baluchistan from a new league, IMAM

Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani will be head of the Ittehad Millat Islamia Mahaz while Maulana M Abu Turab of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith its general secretary.

….As per sources, the IMAM shall comprise JUI, JI, Majlis Wahdat ul Muslimeen, JUP, JUI(S), M JAH and Tehrik Khatme Nabuwwat. The decision was taken in a joint session presided by Maulana MK Sheerani, Chairman CII of JUI-F. The general secretary Maulana Ali Muhammad Abu Turab, of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith was also taken from the CII. The next meeting of the IMAM is scheduled on August 25, when the aims and objects of the IMAM will be discussed.

It is well known that all these parties have no love lost among themselves. Each one has its own political aim that clashes with those of others. Their alliance is often temporary and always a convenience for specific objectives. Sharing of funds becomes easy this way. Ahle Hadith are ideologically close to the Salafi and Wahhabi movement strong in the oil kingdom. The formation of IMAM, under the presidency of official CII will serve the interest of all the seven parties formed by clerics of different sects.

Tehrik Khatme Nabuwwat always claims special privileges for posing as a non-political body, however participation in a group composed of parties fully committed to politics, amply betrays political content of the TKN.

Saudi scholars beat a commendable retreat

Riyadh; September 29, 2016:  Following was reported in the daily The News International, Lahore by the News Desk:

Takfir decision rests with Allah: Saudi scholars

RIYADH: The Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia has stressed the fact that takfir is a serious issue as it will legalize bloodshed, prevent inheritance and annul marriages, reports Arab News. Declaring rulers and governments out of the fold of Islam is even more harmful as it constitutes incitement to violence, use of weapons, encouraging chaos, bloodshed and corruption of people, the council said, The council said Islam rejects extremism and terrorism, and that this deviant belief has no place in Islam. The scholars said the decision on takfir does not rest with humans, but Allah and His messenger and that takfir needs clear evidence from the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

The above is not only relevant in the context of a recent statement by the top Saudi cleric declaring Iranians as Not Muslims, but is most relevant to Ahmadis who were  declared  Not-Muslim by the Bhutto regime in 1974 on desire and instigation of Shah Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Having mutually decided to act, the first step taken in public was at the Saudi-funded Rabita Aalam-e-Islami meeting in March 1974 wherein a resolution was adopted that Ahmadis are not accepted as Muslims and governments should be urged to legislate accordingly. Pakistan, in need of oil and petro-dollars, complied.

Now, more than 40 years later, the Saudi scholars, having suffered from the consequences of sectarianism, extremism and terrorism, have decided to recant. However, their retraction will not undo the damage done through past blunders to Ahmadis and Saudis themselves. It is relevant to mention that King Faisal was shot dead by his nephew in his palace, a year later, on March 25, 1975.

MPAs assured Ahmadis will not teach Arabic

Lahore; December 1, 2016:   The daily The Express Tribune reported at some length Punjab Assembly proceedings in which a Parliamentary Secretary assured MPAs that Ahmadi teachers will not teach Arabic and Islamic Studies to the students. Extracts:

“She assured the provincial assembly’s opposition and treasury on Wednesday that no Ahmadi teacher would be appointed to teach the subjects of Islamic studies or Arabic language.

“The assurance was given by Parliamentary Secretary for School Education Joice Rufan Julius after PTI leader Mehmoodur Rasheed got up from the proceedings and left the house in protest.

“…Jamaat-e-Islami parliamentary leader Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar stood up and pointed out that there was no legal provision to stop Ahmadis from being appointed as teachers for Arabic or Islamic Studies. (He wanted a law to enforce that. Ed.)… .

“PTI leader Mehmoodur Rasheed stood up and said the government must give assurances that no Ahmadi would teach Islamiat or Arabic. Julius assured that only Muslims taught Arabic and Islamiat… .

“Arif Abbasi, another opposition member, told the speaker that this important matter could not be “bulldozed”. He announced a boycott of proceedings and left the hall.

“Iqbal sent ministers Khawaja Salman Rafique and Sheikh Alaudin to convince the protesting members to come back to the house.”

 A (Shia) lady shows the way in moral courage

Lahore; May 20, 2016:           The daily The Express Tribune covered the proceedings of the two-day consultations of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on the issue of Faith-Based Violence, Illegal Occupation and Destruction of Places of Worship, and published a report, (extracts):

“Minority communities are marginalized by masquerading personal matters as religious issues,” said Jalila Haider, a representative of We the Human….

“Haider was representing the Hazara Community from Quetta. She discussed faith-based discrimination in Baluchistan. …

“She said every society should take responsibility for mistakes made in the past. “Hazaras sided with the state when Ahmadis were declared non-Muslim. On behalf of my community, I would like to apologize to representatives of Jamaat Ahmadiyya present at the conference for this mistake,” she said. …”

When contacted, Ms Haider corrected the above report in that it were not ‘Hazaras’ who sided with the state, but ‘Shias’ on whose behalf she apologized.

Bravo.

Reconfirmation of an earlier official divulgence

Karachi; the Dawn report on August 12, 2016:        In this report the daily Dawn’s Shiza Malik quoted from London that Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali stated that the authorities in Pakistan had allayed his concerns and told him ‘the (Blasphemy) law was made to target another community.’

It is on record that Maulvi Abdus Sattar Niazi, a former federal minister told an audience that minorities need not worry over the Blasphemy law as it was promulgated (by the Zia regime) to target another community (Ahmadis).

In a recent report Ms. Shiza Malik in London met Bishop Nazir-Ali “in his office overlooking the famous Wimple Street in Westminster, who in 1994 became the first non-white diocesan bishop at the Church of England and was among the final two candidates to become the Archbishop of Canterbury….”

Among many other comments and remarks, Bishop Nazir-Ali came forth with a comment on Pakistan’s blasphemy law. According to the Dawn:

“Asked about the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, Bishop Michael says that the law not only exacerbates the sense of insecurity for many communities, but also contributes to an atmosphere of mistrust and hatred.” Initially, when Christians expressed concerns about the blasphemy law, they were told that the law was made to target a certain other community. I warned a presidential advisor that no matter who the law is intended for, it would affect justice and freedom and no one would be exempt. And this is what happened,” he said.”

General Zia and his coterie knew very well that Ahmadis believed in Muhammad (PBUH) as the Messenger of Allah and held him in the highest esteem, yet he targeted Ahmadis through this law in the highest degree of dishonesty, moral corruption and treachery.

Tribunal recommends revisiting blasphemy law (including anti-Ahmadi clauses)

Lahore; August 10, 2016:      The Express Tribune in its issue of August 10 printed a report on recommendations made by one-man tribunal, comprising a then-judge of the Lahore High Court on Gojra riots Inquiry in which 7 Christians died. Excerpts:

“Pakistan needs to revisit certain provisions in the blasphemy law to bring it in line with Article 25 of the Constitution in addition to ensuring the law is not misused.

“The recommendations…proposed that five provisions of law should be reviewed after ‘achieving consensus of Mujtahideen of all Muslim schools of thought and after due consultation with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

“…It calls for amendments to its provisions of 295-B (defiling of Quran), 295-C (defamatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), 298-A (derogatory remarks against holy personalities of Islam), (Anti-Ahmadiyya) 298-B (misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles reserved for certain personages or places of Muslims), and 298-C (Ahmadi calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith).

“The judge also pointed out that the law is often misused for ulterior motives. He referred to the rising number of blasphemy cases registered in the country, though conviction rate remains low and none of the sentences awarded have been fully executed. He suggested that misuse can be easily avoided by introducing another provision in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) prescribing the same punishment for false complaints. The amendment, however, will have to be approved by parliament.”

Saudi scholars beat a commendable retreat

Riyadh; September 29, 2016:  Following was reported in the daily The News International, Lahore by the News Desk:

Takfir decision rests with Allah: Saudi scholars

RIYADH: The Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia has stressed the fact that takfir is a serious issue as it will legalize bloodshed, prevent inheritance and annul marriages, reports Arab News. Declaring rulers and governments out of the fold of Islam is even more harmful as it constitutes incitement to violence, use of weapons, encouraging chaos, bloodshed and corruption of people, the council said, The council said Islam rejects extremism and terrorism, and that this deviant belief has no place in Islam. The scholars said the decision on takfir does not rest with humans, but Allah and His messenger and that takfir needs clear evidence from the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

The above is not only relevant in the context of a recent statement by the top Saudi cleric declaring Iranians as Not Muslims, but is most relevant to Ahmadis who were  declared  Not-Muslim by the Bhutto regime in 1974 on desire and instigation of Shah Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Having mutually decided to act, the first step taken in public was at the Saudi-funded Rabita Aalam-e-Islami meeting in March 1974 wherein a resolution was adopted that Ahmadis are not accepted as Muslims and governments should be urged to legislate accordingly. Pakistan, in need of oil and petro-dollars, complied.

Now, more than 40 years later, the Saudi scholars, having suffered from the consequences of sectarianism, extremism and terrorism, have decided to recant. However, their retraction will not undo the damage done through past blunders to Ahmadis and Saudis themselves. It is relevant to mention that King Faisal was shot dead by his nephew in his palace, a year later, on March 25, 1975.