Mosques under Attack, and Worship Denied (2005 – 2010)

2010

 

Ahmadiyya mosque handed over to adversaries by executive order

Ahmad Nagar; January 14, 2010: At the orders of the District Co-ordination Officer (DCO) Chiniot, Punjab, an Ahmadiyya mosque in Ahmad Nagar (near Rabwah) was handed over to non-Ahmadis on January 14, 2010 upon the baseless grounds of “pre-empting the extreme law and order disturbance”.

The mosque had been sealed by the police in 2003 on similar grounds, and Ahmadis have remained deprived of their place of worship ever since. Ahmadis reported the matter to the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court in August 2009. While an action by the honorable court was awaited, the mullas approached the provincial and district administrations, and coerced a decision in their favour that seriously violates the legal and human rights of Ahmadis. It is a deliberate and gross infringement of Ahmadis’ freedom of religion and worship.

This mosque was built by an Ahmadi, Mr. Wali Muhammad, at his own expense and on his personal land, between 1982-1983. The management and upkeep of the mosque were undertaken by the community. Ahmadis routinely allow other Muslims to use their mosques; in fact they allow anyone who worships one God. As such, on occasions, non-Ahmadis also used this mosque for worship.

In 2003, Ahmadis undertook repairs to the building. When the repairs were nearing completion, a cleric, by the name of Ghulam Mustafa who lives in Muslim Colony (Chenab Nagar), approached the police and claimed the mosque on the grounds that it had been used by Muslims. As is the wont of extremist clerics, he threatened violence. The police, under pressure, found it convenient to lock the mosque, with the promise to look into the rival claims.

Ahmadis presented the police with irrefutable evidence and documents of Mr. Wali Muhammad’s ownership of the land and property. The police SHO therefore categorically wrote in his report, on December 18, 2003: “In my opinion it is clear and there is no doubt that this mosque was built 18 or 20 years ago by Wali Muhammad Qadiani on his own land in his personal capacity. Muslims had no claim or role in it.”

Still the authorities did not restore the mosque back to Ahmadis. In June 2007, the District Police Officer asked for a report from the DSP along with documentary evidence. This was provided by the official who concluded: “… As for this mosque/Bait uz Zikr, Ahmad Nagar, it is, according to the evidence, the property of Jamaat Ahmadiyya.”

Despite such conclusive findings, the mosque was not unsealed. In 2009, the extremist religious elements initiated a drive threatening to take over the mosque, by force if necessary. Upon this, Ahmadis complained to the Chief Justice LHC. His decision is awaited.

The mullas however decided not to wait for a judicial verdict. They issued threats to the administration, and have succeeded in obtaining a decision in their favour by unlawful means. It is a victory for blind religious extremism over fair and good governance.

The DCO’s Order and the justification given therein are typical of bureaucratic circumvention. It is reasonable to assume that he had orders from Lahore to act in the mulla’s favour. He did not fail to send a copy of his Order direct to the (PS to) Chief Secretary in the provincial capital. In view of what happened in Gojra last year and to the Ahmadi school children of Layyah, the policy of the Punjab Government is there for all to see. The chief minister’s statement, after the Gojra tragedy, is, however, worth quoting here: “We do not have the right to rule if we cannot protect and provide justice to minorities”. (The Daily Times, Lahore; August 8, 2009) In view of the DCO’s Order and the chief minister’s statement one is reminded of a statement by Dr Israr Ahmad, a well-known Pakistani cleric: “Pakistanis as a people are the greatest hypocrites in the world.” (The daily Pakistan, Lahore; January 5, 2009)

The DCO quoted the anti-Ahmadiyya constitutional amendment and Ordinance XX to justify his unsupportable action. He has used unjust and unfair laws improperly to allow a gross violation of the fundamental human rights of a marginalized community.

In case the government differs with our above assessment of the DCO’s Order, it should commission an independent inquiry on the issue by an impartial NGO or judicial panel.

According to the daily Khabrain of January 15, 2010, “At this Maulanas Allah Yar Arshad, Muhammad Hussain Chinioti, Ghulam Mustafa, Deputy Amir JI Syed Nurul Hassan Shah, Qari Muhammad Ayub Chinioti and Ilyas Chinioti paid tribute to the DCO Chiniot for his bold action.” According to another press report, a delegation of Ulama later called on the DCO to convey to him their greetings and appreciation ‘for fulfilling his earlier promise’.

This wrong must be put right, otherwise the mulla will push for further victories, as he did in Swat.

 

ALSO AT AHMAD NAGAR. It is appropriate to mention here the situation regarding another Ahmadiyya place of worship in Ahmad Nagar.

Ahmadis’ need for their mosques has increased over time. So an Ahmadi, Mr. Muhammad Arshad A‘wan offered a plot of his land at a local crossing for building a place of worship.

Ahmadis knew that mullas and authorities will not let them build minarets and niches in their mosque, although there is no law prohibiting them, they only built a hall and offered their congregational prayers in it. The simple place was well-frequented by Ahmadis and was a convenient facility for worship. The mulla did not like that.

In 2006, anti-Ahmadi faction applied to the authorities that the place of worship should be closed down. They had already succeeded in 2003 in getting the Ahmadiyya mosque sealed in the Noorpur area of Ahmad Nagar. The police, as usual, expressed helplessness in supporting Ahmadis. They advised Ahmadis to stop offering prayers at the location.

Ahmadis had no option but to yield to police pressure, otherwise they risked sealing of this building. An agreement under duress was thus arranged under police supervision that Ahmadis will not use the place for worship. Mulla Allah Yar Arshad and Ghulam Mustafa who are not residents of Ahmad Nagar signed the agreement on behalf of ‘Muslims’. It is now over four years that no prayers, nor any worship of Allah has been held at the site. In December 2010, mulla Shafiq ur Rehman wrote a column in the daily Din, Lahore and gave it the title: Pakistan – a paradise for religious minorities.

 

Attack on an Ahmadiyya mosque

Moghalpura, Lahore; November 18, 2010: A few unidentified persons randomly fired at the Ahmadiyya mosque in Ganj Bazar in Moghalpura Lahore at about 10:00 p.m. Some Ahmadi guards and youth were on duty inside the mosque. One of them fired back in the air. At this the attackers retreated and fled.

The police were informed and arrived on the scene. They were provided CCTV footage. The police recognized one of the men, Zaheer Fauji who is a local. They arrested him and an FIR was registered.

The electronic media and the press reported the story the next day. Some of them presented it as a fire-fight between two private rival groups. The police initially supported the same version but are investigating further.

The Moghalpura Ahmadiyya community has faced opposition and aggression from the local mullas in the past. They perhaps want to convey that Ahmadis remain their targets.

The police took special note of the incident and directed all units in various districts of the Punjab to remain vigilant and alert.

 

Ahmadis denied the right to worship

Kalowal, Chiniot; March 25, 2010: An Ahmadi family that resides in Kalowal for the last 80 years had constructed a mosque on their own land for worship. This mosque needed repair and maintenance work. The Ahmadis of the town decided to rebuild it. As they were demolishing the old building, a number of people gathered there and interfered in the proceedings. They stopped the Ahmadis from reconstructing the mosque, and informed the police. The police arrived at the location on 26th March, ordered a stop to the work and told both parties to appear at the police station the following day. The Ahmadis arrived on time, but the other party failed to show up. After a long wait, the SHO told the Ahmadiyya delegation to approach the DCO Chiniot and seek permission. This was highly improper, even unlawful. Also, how could Ahmadis expect justice from the DCO who had handed over only a few weeks earlier an Ahmadiyya mosque in Nur Pur, Ahmad Nagar to non-Ahmadis in a most unjust manner?

 

Agitation in Khanewal

Khanewal; September 2, 2010: Opponents of Ahmadis pelted stones at an Ahmadiyya mosque in Khanewal. These miscreants could not be identified. They also wrote abuses and foul language against the Ahmadiyya community and its holy founder during the dark hours. The mosque continued to be pelted with stones for days.

A Khatme Nabuwwat conference was also held in Madrassa Deoband, Tariqabad. A mulla, Ataul Mun‘am Naeem, spoke against the Ahmadiyya community. He told the audience that the growth of Ahmadis must be stopped as it was proving harmful for the Muslim Umma. A number of mullas participated in this conference. Anti-Ahmadiyya activities of the mullas are on the increase in this area.

 

An Ahmadiyya mosque at risk

Chak No. 20/NP, District Rahim Yar Khan: The local Ahmadi community has a mosque which they built in 1970. Like all other Ahmadiyya mosques it has minarets and a niche that is orientated towards Ka‘aba. Mulla Rashid Madni is provoking the local population for removal of the minarets. The mulla is a member of the Majlis Tahaffuz-e-Khatme Nabuwwat and has distributed a pamphlet containing hatred material against Ahmadis in the village.

The administration is of the opinion that the constitution forbids Ahmadi worship places to look like mosques. It does not. The mulla is violating the law of the land, PPC 153-A and 295-A, by promoting enmity and hatred between religious groups and indulging in deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of Ahmadis.

 

Predicament of an Ahmadiyya place of worship

Kohat, an important district town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had a sizeable Ahmadiyya community in 1980s and before. But then, Islamists and religious extremists became powerful, and flourished greatly during the regime of General Zia and afterwards. Ahmadis felt pushed to the wall and unsafe.

In 1988, the authorities sealed the Ahmadiyya mosque in Kohat. This mosque was built on a spacious plot. The Imam’s residence was part of the complex. The property was owned by the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya. After their mosque was sealed, Ahmadis offered their prayers in a temporary prayer centre in a private home. As the situation became unbearable with the passage of time, Ahmadis left the city one by one. Now there is no Ahmadiyya presence in Kohat.

Recently on December 19, 2010, activists of Khatme Nabuwwat organization broke open the lock of the sealed Ahmadiyya mosque and held their religious service inside the stolen property. The miscreants were supported by Mr. Javed Ibrahim Piracha, a former MNA of JUI (F).

The Amir of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat Peshawar wrote to the police authorities in Kohat that the property belonged to Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian, as such it is indivisible and non-transferable; its care in the sealed state is responsibility of the administration and the police.

The police acted and recovered the mosque from the miscreants, and sealed it once again. The Ahmadiyya property, however, remains denied to Ahmadis.

 

Freedom of worship restricted

Rabwah; August 12, 2010: The daily Pakistan published the following story on August 12, 2010 (Translation):

Chenab Nagar: Jamaat Ahmadiyya decides to worship at home in the face of terrorism

Chenab Nagar (Staff reporter): Thousands of Ahmadis will undertake worship at home, rather than their places of worship at Isha time during Ramadan on account of the threat of terrorist attacks and non-availability of security by the state agencies. The senior leadership of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan has directed all its members in Rabwah to offer their evening (Isha) prayers at home rather than nearby mosques. However, the community spokesman has not issued any press release or made a statement on this subject.

The above report is correct to the extent that Ahmadis could not offer their traditional Taraveeh prayers in congregation in their mosques in Rabwah for security concerns. This situation is the result of the unbridled hate campaign undertaken by the mulla and permitted by the authorities.

 

In district Sargodha, Punjab

Chak Mangla, District Sargodha; May 15, 2010: The police removed the plate carrying Kalima (Islamic creed) on it from an Ahmadiyya mosque. Ahmadis wrote the Kalima again. The police visited again and intended to remove the Kalima. Ahmadis told them that only uniformed police would be allowed to do that. They went back without erasing the Kalima.

 

 

2009

Grenade attack on an Ahmadiyya mosque

Sialkot; February 11, 2009: Some miscreant threw a grenade inside the Ahmadiyya mosque in Sialkot. Fortunately there were only a few worshipers in the mosque at the time as this was not the regular time of a congregational prayer, so only one elderly man was injured. The noise of the explosion spread far. The police arrived and cordoned off the area.

Ahmadis were lucky to get away lightly this time. The attack could have resulted in numerous casualties in different circumstances. Similar attacks on Ahmadis in previous years resulted in loss of many lives and injuries to dozens.

 

Destruction of an Ahmadiyya mosque

Klaswala, district Sialkot; October 27, 2009: A gang of religious extremists, comprising approximately 50 men attacked an Ahmadiyya mosque in the village of Kalaswala at 11p.m. on October 27 and destroyed it. The mosque was not in use and was kept locked.

The attack was reported to the DSP in writing who marked it to the SHO for a follow-up.

The incident is indicative of the freedoms such people continue to enjoy in the Punjab.

 

No freedom of worship for Ahmadis

Kot Muhammad Yar, District Chiniot: Ahmadis were using a room in this village for prayers and Friday congregations. As and when their women joined in the worship, they would hang a curtain for partition. As the space was getting short for the worshippers, Ahmadis decided to build another room in the prayer center.

As the walls of the new room reached waist high, the police arrived. They told Ahmadis to stop the construction and report to the police station in the evening.

When the Ahmadis arrived at the police station they found the mullas already seated there. There, the SHO asked Ahmadis the purpose of their construction. The Ahmadi delegation told him frankly that if Muslims had a right to build a mosque, Christians their church and Sikhs their Gurdawara, Ahmadis also had a right to build a place of worship for themselves. The SHO did not agree, and told them to seek governmental approval for it. He knew that it was not needed, and if they ask for it Ahmadis will not get it.

Later the SHO told Ahmadis that the mulla will not let them build a room for worship. He volunteered to have the construction material removed under his own supervision. He told Ahmadis to stop praying altogether in the room as before. That was the end of even the minimal possibility of worship that existed before.

The vernacular press joined the monkey chorus, as usual.

 

Denial of freedom of worship in district Khanewal

Mian Channu, District Khanewal: The police intervened blatantly to deny freedom of worship to Ahmadis in Chak No. 128/15-L.

As mullas agitate over construction of Ahmadiyya mosques and are always supported by the authorities in their unworthy acts, Ahmadis tend to build their mosques sans minarets, or they assemble in halls and enclosed spaces for worship. Ahmadis of the above mentioned village accordingly decided to build a house for their religious teacher next to a hall where they could gather for religious get-togethers. In these villages, there is no legal requirement to have the construction plans approved by the authorities.

Local Ahmadis proceeded with the purchase of the construction material. In response to an unjustified complaint by a few religious bigots, the police SHO sent for the Ahmadis and accused them of building a Masjid (mosque). They showed him the construction plan and explained that they were not constructing a Masjid. The next day again they were told to report to the police station.

Eventually the SHO agreed to let the Ahmadis proceed with the construction work. In fact, no permission was needed, but the Pakistani police tend to use the law to suit their whims. But there was more to follow.

The next day a sub-inspector of police arrived early in the day and ordered that the construction work be stopped, and the management should report to the DSP. When they met him, the DSP told them that they may not undertake any construction without the permission of the authorities. He told them, in violation of the law, to stop the work. He was told that the plot of land belonged to an Ahmadi, the construction plan was not that of a mosque, so the objection was not valid. The DSP was harsh with them, accused them of lying – and sent them away.

The next day the DSP sent for them again and directed the SHO to obtain a written undertaking from Ahmadis that they will refrain from construction. Ahmadis told him that as they had stopped the work there was no need to give written statements. The DSP told them that they may not leave the place unless they make the required statement in writing.

Faced with this ugly situation, Ahmadis gave in writing that they would continue construction work only with the authorities’ permission.

What does a citizen do when those who are supposed to uphold the law, insist on violating it? Whither human rights and freedom of religion!

 

Extremist mullas disturb peace near Rabwah over Ahmadiyya mosque

Ahmad Nagar, District Chiniot: Mullas, based in Rabwah and Chiniot, whose sole duty is to target Ahmadis in Rabwah and its environs have targeted an Ahmadiyya mosque in nearby Ahmad Nagar to disturb the peace of the area. This mosque has a background history that also reflects very negatively on the human rights situation of Ahmadis in Pakistan.

Almost a quarter of a century ago an Ahmadi, Rana Vali Muhammad, built a one-room mosque in his own land in sector Nurpur of Ahmad Nagar. The mosque served as a place of worship for approximately two dozen Ahmadis of the neighborhood. As the facility was located near a public route, occasionally a non-Ahmadi would also come and offer his prayers there. To this, Ahmadis never objected; they do not object to anyone who uses an Ahmadiyya mosque for worship of one God.

In 2003, the mosque needed essential repairs and improvements. Ahmadis undertook that. At that occasion mulla Ghulam Mustafa who is an agitator based in Muslim Colony, four kilometers away, arrived and claimed the mosque on the grounds that as Muslim travelers and locals have also used the mosque, it now belonged to them. He sought police intervention, as he was sure of state support in a religious issue, however unworthy.

The police official asked for the land deed. The Ahmadi owner showed it to him, and proved to him that the location and the building had always belonged to him and still belonged to him in official papers and in fact. At this, most unjustly, the police official ordered the mosque to be sealed ‘temporarily on account of law and order problem’. The mosque has remained locked for the last six years, and Ahmadis of the neighborhood have remained deprived of their place of worship. Now the mulla is agitating to have the mosque reopened for only Non-Ahmadis.

The mullas hoisted banners with demands to that effect. They scheduled a conference in Ahmad Nagar on July 22, 2009 to agitate for that. The vernacular press as usual gave the helping hand (the daily Jang, Lahore of July 19, 2009). Mullas of the Khatme Nabuwwat organization, Allah Yar Arshad, Yamin Gauhar, Mugheerah, Ghulam Mustafa, Masood Sarwari etc led this agitation. Ahmadis reported the situation to the police.

Mulla Allah Yar Arshad is in the IVth Schedule and a ‘history sheeter’ in police record for his criminal conduct. He arrived in Ahmad Nagar on July 22 accompanied by half a dozen of his own type, and attempted to precipitate a brawl. The police arrived at the scene to maintain order.

As their agitation increased, the Ahmadiyya Headquarters at Rabwah had to consequently issue a general letter informing the relevant authorities of the issue and the situation. Having explained the background of this gross violation of Ahmadis’ freedom of faith, the letter mentioned:

“… Brutishly, the opponents have given a call to all the locals to come forth on 14th August, proceed to Mohallah Nurpur (in Ahmad Nagar) and occupy the mosque. (Their poster is attached). Earlier they had given a similar call for July 22, 2009, which was aborted on account of timely action by the administration.

There is risk of great provocation and violence in the present circumstances. The opposition’s activities expose their plan to achieve their objectives through sectarian riots in the area. In our opinion, this plan is a link in the chain of incidents of Gojra and Gujranwala etc that has resulted in extreme violence and loss of life. This issue deserves immediate attention and action; otherwise we might have a great catastrophe on our hands. We hope that you will uphold justice. I shall be greatly obliged.

This report is forwarded to you for urgent action to uphold the law.

Yours sincerely,

Saleem ud Din

Director of Public Affairs

Rabwah (Chenab Nagar), District Jhang”

 

The daily Pakistan of August 21, 2009 published a news item regarding the mosque whose essential elements are translated below:

The DPO should fulfill his promise to hand over the Muslim mosque of Noor Colony Ahmad Nagar. Demand the Ulama of Chiniot.

……

The Ulama Karam and local elders had waged a long and persistent drive to acquire the mosque, and had finally called a protest on Friday, the 14th August. However, the district authorities, like the DCO held negotiations with Ulama Karam and asked them to cancel the protest in return for promises and assurances that the mosque would be released before Ramadan.

The mulla is not always truthful, and the administration often looks for an easy way out that may not be fair. What is really happening, we do not know.

Ahmadis are maintaining their calm, even though extremist mullas are indulging in provocations. The authorities are shy to deliver the justice, ‘in the interest of law and order’.

 

A mulla and the Prime Minister

The daily Ausaf, Lahore of July 29, 2009 printed a story whose translation is rendered below. Ausaf’s reporter has quoted mulla Allah Yar Arshad in his report; however, as both this mulla and this newspaper are not known for high morals, the level of authenticity of the published report remains at best uncertain. The press report:

Qadiani place of worship: The Prime Minister orders a report on the sealed mosque belonging to Muslims.

The Prime Minister appreciated Maulana Arshad’s act of bringing the issue to his notice and said that this proved the Maulana’s loyalty to Islam.

Chiniot (Tehsil correspondent): Mr. Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has taken notice of the issue of the construction of a Qadiani place of worship in Nazabad, Chiniot, and the sealing of a Muslim mosque in Nurpur Colony, Ahmad Nagar, and has asked for a report. He mentioned this in an official meeting with Maulana Allah Yar Arshad, leader of the Tehrik Khatme Nabuwwat. The Prime Minister appreciated Maulana Arshad for pointing out this issue and stated that by this timely action of informing him about this case the Maulana has proved his loyalty to Islam and Pakistan. The Prime Minister will have a joint meeting with Maulana Arshad in Islamabad at his first convenience (sic).

Perhaps the PM is unaware that this mulla is registered in the IVth Schedule and is a ‘history sheeter’ in police record for his criminal conduct over a long period.

 

Gross violation of Ahmadis’ freedom of religious practice

The daily Ummat, Karachi of April 20, 2009 published two news items describing the mullas’ demand to close down Ahmadiyya prayer centers in Mirpur Khas, Sindh. Headlines:

Preaching of Qadianiat undertaken openly in Mirpur Khas. Innocent people are invited to homes, dined and then turned into apostates. Religious groups demand immediate action.

It was learnt that some individuals of Mirpur Khas, urged by mullas, submitted an application to the DPO demanding closure of all the prayer centers of Ahmadis in Mirpur Khas. Mullas threatened that if those centers were not closed down unpleasant incidents might happen, and they would themselves undertake the duty of shutting them down. Owners of the two houses which were used as prayer centers were called to the police station in Satellite Town on April 25, 2009, and were compelled to give in writing that no Ahmadi would come to their houses to observe prayer.

Pakistan is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but the state permits even its low-level officials to violate the basic right of freedom of religion of its Ahmadi citizens.

 

Restoration of an Ahmadiyya mosque

Chak 5, District Badin, Sindh: In May 2008, a magistrate ordered the sealing of an Ahmadiyya mosque in this village in pursuance of a demand from sectarian mullas of the Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat. The magistrate apparently acted as an agent of the clerics rather than an official of a state that is signatory to international covenants on human rights. His action was most unjust.

Four months ago the Ilaqa Magistrate told Ahmadis that if they cover up the minaret and the niche, he will allow the mosque to be opened.

Accordingly, the magistrate ordered the opening of the mosque on November 19, 2009. Ahmadis offered their congregational Friday prayers in that mosque the next day.

This mosque remained sealed for one year, five months and 22 days. All this time the Ahmadis of the village were denied their place of worship. Is it why Pakistan was created? The founding father is reported to have said on August 11, 1947:

“You are free, free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan…”

The question is, if the mosque can be open now, why was it sealed in the first instance – why could it not be opened within one week of the decision? The administration and the government of Sindh should think about this. No one, more so in Pakistan, has ever missed being accountable; history takes its own course and its roller-coaster flattens repeatedly all the pitfalls of wrongdoings.

It should be placed on record that the magistrate’s revised decision is also arbitrary and unjust in that the law does not specify that Ahmadiyya places of worship should not have a minaret and a niche. All over the country there are hundreds of Ahmadiyya mosques that have minarets and niches.

 

Attack through state on freedom of worship

Raipur, District Sialkot: Drafters of the Ordinance XX, law specific to Ahmadis, targeted Ahmadiyya mosques in particular. They were of the opinion that an attack on Ahmadis’ places of worship would be one of the most effective ways to repress Ahmadiyyat. Accordingly, since the promulgation of the said ordinance, miscreants, with the support of authorities, have demolished 21 Ahmadi mosques, set 11 on fire, forcibly occupied 14 and barred construction of forty more. By hook or by crook the system deprives Ahmadis of their places of worship. In village Raipur, the Ahmadiyya mosque is built on a community plot designated as Shamlat Deh. The adjacent plot is used as a graveyard for non-Ahmadis. The care-taker of the graveyard applied to the Revenue Department to claim the plot of the Ahmadiyya mosque. The department conveniently granted him the claim. So, Ahmadis appealed to the court, who issued a stay order.

The care-taker thereafter had a criminal case registered against 7 Ahmadis. The defendants hurriedly approached a magistrate to seek bail before arrest, which was granted.

There is no shortage of officials who seek an easy entry into paradise by serving the cause of their religion. The staff of Police Station Sabz Pir acted accordingly. They moved Article 145 to have the mosque sealed under the pretext that it was a ‘risk to law and order’.

Freedom of religion has strange interpretation in the land of the pure. The police consider it their right to close down the places of worship of ‘others’.

 

2008

Blatant and serious violation of Ahmadis’ human and fundamental rights

Place of worship sealed by order. 12 Ahmadis booked, 2 arrested without charge.

Chak No.5, District Badin, Sindh: In order to settle a dispute of a personal and social nature, the Muhajirs of the locality decided to invoke anti-Ahmadiyya prejudice and intervention by clerics. They telephoned Muhammad Yaqub the mulla of Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat. He took some people along with him and raided the Ahmadiyya mosque at Chak 5, which was open at the time. They stole a few copies of the Quran, Hadith and other books, went back and reported to the police.

The police should have charged the mullas for theft, but strange as their ways are, they decided to carry out raids at Ahmadi homes at night and make arrests.

At the application of mulla Muhammad Yaqub, the ‘resident activist of Jamaat Khatme Nabuwwat, Badin Office’ the police registered an FIR dated May 21, 2008 against 12 Ahmadis under sections PPC 298-C, 295-A, 147 and 149. The Ahmadis are: Messrs Bashir Ahmad, Basharat, Mushtaq, Riaz, Saeed Ahmad, Tahir, Mansur Jat, Nasrulla Jat, Waseem, Alam Jat, Asaf Arain and Ghazi Jat. They accused them of:

  1. 1. Offering prayers after making the call
  2. 2. Making speeches concerning their faith
  3. 3. Keeping books and literature of their belief; ‘we have brought these along’.
  4. 4. Thus these Qadianis blaspheme the Quran and Deen Islam, and hurt the feelings of Muslims.

Based on the ridiculous accusations, which are mostly fabricated, the police earned the shame of registration of a criminal case under which the victims could be imprisoned for ten years. The police arrested two Ahmadis, Mr. Saeed Ahmad and Mr. Basharat Ahmad.

The worse was still to come. The District Co-ordination Officer, Mr. Agha Wasif Abbas thereafter ordered the sealing of the Ahmadiyya place of worship. Civil servants of the elite service used to take pride in their high education and understanding of social issues. This incident in Badin is indicative of the sharp decline in the quality of these officials.

Bail before arrest for the remaining accused was arranged with the sessions court. It was due for confirmation on June 3; however, a large number of miscreants assembled at the court on that day, so the court postponed the confirmation proceedings to June 28, 2008. The bail was eventually granted to all.

 

9 Ahmadis booked under Ahmadi-specific law

Thekrianwala, District Faisalabad: Field-report of this case was late in dispatch; it was received in April, so it is included in this year’s report. The incident happened in December 2007. Ahmadis of village Chak Nr. 89/GB were in the process of constructing their house of worship in the village. Their opponents invoked the anti-Ahmadiyya law to get a criminal case registered against them with the police. They pointed to the niche, the Kalima etc in the mosque and pretended ‘hurt feelings’, although the law does not specify that Ahmadiyya places of worship may not have a niche, Kalima etc. The complainants, who in fact are miscreants, pointed to the dome and stated that as it resembled the Prophet’s tomb, Ahmadis had thereby committed blasphemy, so they should be charged under the PPC 295-C. They named nine Ahmadis for the FIR. The police registered the case, but made no arrests.

The case was registered in FIR 1024/2007 at Police Station Thekarianwala on December 15, 2007 under PPCs 298-C and 298-B.

The accused Ahmadis are: Mukhtar, Amin, Aslam, Nasir, Dr Ali Ahmad, Yunus, Akram, Navid and Waseem. They face three years’ imprisonment if declared ‘guilty’.

 

Sealing of an Ahmadiyya mosque in District Badin, Sindh

Chak No. 5, District Badin: In May 2008 the district authorities of Badin committed on outrage against Ahmadiyya community by sealing their mosque as a result of a spurious complaint by opposition clerics. A copy of the magistrate’s order became available after a great deal of effort on part of the local Ahmadis. It may please be seen how facile and leisurely the administration finds the depravity of sealing an Ahmadiyya place of worship. It is not difficult at all any where in Pakistan to muster a few mullas or persons to object to the existence of an Ahmadiyya mosque, and even produce some witnesses who are always available on rent to support some false allegation. It may be seen that the Special Judicial Magistrate was prompt to order immediate ‘attachment of said prayer place’ and forbid the worship, but decided to examine the appeals/claims a month later. It is no wonder that a research organization “Foreign Policy and Fund for Peace” declared Pakistan to be among ten of the world’s ‘dysfunctional states’ among Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Chad etc (The Dawn; June 25, 2008). What a company to keep! One hopes that those who govern Sindh, Pakistan Peoples Party, read their daily newspapers, and have sense enough to feel the gravity of problems that need priority attention in their province.

In a high level meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by the Chief of the Army Staff among others, “The participants were unanimous in concluding that terrorism and extremism are the greatest challenge to Pakistan’s national security” (The Dawn; June 26, 2008). The functionaries of the government of Sindh remain either unaware of this, or they think otherwise.

 

2007

Story of just one of the many Ahmadiyya places of worship transgressed by the mulla and the state

Sahiwal: The daily ‘Waqt’ Lahore splashed the following headline in its issue of October 13, 2007:

Qadianis forcibly open their place of worship sealed 23 years ago

All the accused arrested

This place of worship at Sahiwal was sealed by the authorities 23 years ago after an incident in the hurtful days of Zia’s rule. Later the mullah went to the court to have it sealed by judicial order, however the court dismissed their petition. The authorities did not hand over the mosque back to Ahmadis, as they should have. Having waited for almost a quarter century, Ahmadis decided to use the residential quarters of the mosque and started offering their prayers in one of the rooms and the courtyard. The mullah who is ever on the lookout for mischief, reacted and commandeered the police. The SHO detained all the men present at the site who were busy cleaning up the place. Later, at the DPO’s orders, the detainees were released.

The question remains: when is the state going to unseal the Ahmadiyya place of worship and return it to Ahmadis? According to Art. 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan, …“(b) every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions”.

 

Police inquires into Ahmadis’ prayer service

Rawalpindi: October 10/11, 2007: During the month of Ramadan, the police arrived at the Ahmadiyya prayer center in Tench Bhata and interrogated Ahmadis who were congregating there for the Taraveeh (post-evening) prayers. The police told them that the neighborhood objected to the Ahmadis’ assembly for prayers at the place. Ahmadis told the police that no one had ever conveyed to them his/her complaint, and the police could verify the neighbors’ views by talking to them. They talked to them, and the neighbors confirmed that Ahmadis were a decent lot and gave them no cause for complaint. The policemen told the worshippers to send their senior to the police station the next day at 11 a.m., and departed.

The next day a man arrived at the dawn (Fajar) prayers and intimated that he was from the secret police, and repeated the same exercise as that of the preceding evening. Later in the forenoon, Mr. Rana, an Ahmadi elder reported to the police station as instructed, where he was told that it was the police duty to ensure peace and security; hence the inquiry. As a precautionary measure, Ahmadis told their women-folk to miss out the Friday congregation; however the Taraveeh service was not interrupted.

The incident was nothing but harassment of a peaceful community. If an inquiry was at all required the police should have undertaken it discreetly as done by police services in all the civilized countries of the world.

 

2006

Ahmadiyya mosque defiled by authorities

Chak 35 N, district Sargodha: Malik Saif ur Rahman, president of the local Ahmadiyya community has a mosque at his farm. Recently, he built the traditional niche, and put up small ready-made minarets at the mosque. The mullah objected strongly to this, even though the law does not forbid such construction. He reported against the Ahmadi to the police who were happy to oblige the extremists.

The SHO of police station Sadr, Sargodha sent for the two parties on September 28, 2006, and fully supported the mullah. He threatened the Ahmadi that not only the minarets and the niche will be undone by the police, but also he will be made to face a criminal charge. Obviously, the SHO gave no weight whatsoever to the news: “Nation urged to shun sectarianism  –   President and PM’s Ramazan greetings” (The daily Dawn; September 25, 2006). He acted as if he knows that such statements are nothing but empty rhetoric.

The next day, in broad daylight, the SHO sent his policemen in plain clothes to the village. They demolished the minarets and the niche.

If the government supports extremism in one part of the country, how can it credibly condemn the extremists in other parts. The policy needs a firm, pervasive and uniform implementation.

 

Firing at Ahmadiyya Mosque

Talwandi Musa Khan, District Gujranwala; January 31, 2006: Two armed miscreants arrived at the local Ahmadiyya mosque prior to the evening prayers and parked their motor cycle at a distance from the mosque gate. The guard noticed them and became vigilant. He shut the mosque gate.

When the congregational prayer started, the two intruders drove up to the mosque. On finding the gate shut and the duty personnel vigilant, they fired a few shots in the air and went away. As they had covered themselves adequately they could not be recognized.

The incident was reported to the police who arrived at the spot and made a few inquiries. The worshippers had to become more cautious. They felt very concerned.

 

Construction of Ahmadiyya mosque interrupted

Bada, Distt. Larkana; December 23, 2006: The under-construction Ahmadiyya mosque at Bada was half-built when the police told Ahmadis to stop further construction, and told the community president to see the DSP on December 26. On due date, when the president went to see him in his office, the official had proceeded on leave. The president was told to come again on January 4, 2007.

 

2005

15 Ahmadis of Khiva Bajwa, District Sialkot were booked in the Police Report No. 13 dated May 3, 2005 at Police Station Pasroor, under section 107/150, and faced legal action. This was undertaken subsequent to sealing by authorities of the Ahmadiyya mosque at Khiva Bajwa. Over there, now, Ahmadis have no place of worship.

 

No freedom of worship

Shahdabpur, District Sanghar: Mr. Khalil Ahmad, Ahmadi, established a cotton mills in 1994 in partnership with a non-Ahmadi, and named it Al-Rahman Cotton Factory.  He built therein a mosque for Ahmadi employees who used to offer their daily prayers in it.  This went on for a while, but then Ahmadis were barred from using their mosque.  Subsequently, the partnership broke up.  Ahmadiyya mosque and the factory are now under the control of the non-Ahmadi partner.

For one reason or another, Ahmadis continue to be denied the use of their places of worship.

 

Ahmadiyya place of worship at serious risk

Khiva Bajwa, District Sialkot: A large group of 50/60 miscreants from neighboring villages, led by Shafique Dogar, President of defunct Sipah Sahaba (SSP) banned for terrorism, arrived at the Ahmadiyya mosque at Khiva Bajwa on May 24, 2005 at about 5 pm. Four police men who were on duty at the mosque kept them at distance for about an hour. However, when the situation worsened, Ahmadis sought help through Rescue 15. In the meantime the police SHO Riaz Khan arrived at the scene. There were only three Ahmadis in the mosque that they had locked from inside.

The SHO attempted to break open the lock. Having failed in the attempt, the SHO allowed the miscreants to climb over the wall to enter the mosque. He remained standing outside and ordered the Ahmadis to keep the mosque open for anyone to enter and pray as the place was in dispute. The miscreants enjoy support of the SHO and perhaps that of his superior, the DSP.

On receiving the information of these developments, the president of the district Ahmadi community telephoned DSP Pasrur. The DSP asked him not to worry as his contingent had already arrived at the site, and he also was proceeding there. He assured the president that he will push out all the miscreants from the mosque that will remain in Ahmadis’ possession, and asked him to tell Ahmadis to remain calm and be patient.

Miscreants entered the mosque, made a call to prayers and offered prayers individually, and departed before sunset. The SHO Pasrur then directed Ahmadis to lock up the mosque door, although the door had been damaged by the visiting religious thugs. One of these vandals effaced the sign board of the mosque with blue ink, in the presence of the SHO. Later, Ahmadis offered in the mosque their congregational prayers at night and at dawn.

It appears that all this was being done to make the mosque a disputed place of worship. The conspiracy had the support of the police officials.

As planned they sent the case to the court. The state found it again convenient to have it ordered by one of its session judges that Ahmadiyya mosque at Khiva Bajwa be sealed temporarily; although that may mean years. The mullah was asked to appear in the court on June 6, but their attorney and the police failed to turn up. The next date given was June 12; nothing happened on that date either. Then on June 16, the judge heard both the parties and passed the case to a lower court on June 18, and ordered the parties to present themselves before the Civil Judge on June 22.

In the meantime, Ahmadis had no place to worship. That is the state of ‘Enlightened Moderation’ on the ground!

 

Permission to build a place of worship

Mauro, District Nowshero Feroz (Sindh): Ahmadis were building their mosque at Mauro when their opponents approached the administration who, responding to the agitators’ demand, told Ahmadis to stop the construction. After months of lobbying and efforts by members of the Ahmadi Community, the administration finally allowed them to construct their place of worship; however Ahmadis were ordered to build nothing that would give the building ‘looks of a mosque’. This order is illegal and unwarranted as the law has no such provisions in this regard. It is almost criminal on the part of officials to take law in their own hands and issue extra-legal orders to persecute a smaller community.

 

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