Mosques under attack, and worship denied
Minarets of two Ahmadiyya mosques razed by police
Basti Baba Jhanda, Basti Baba Rahmat, District Rahim Yar Khan; February 18, 2014: Mullas held an anti-Ahmadiyya conference in Basti Baba Jhanda. Thereafter on February 18, 2014, 15 policemen came from the nearby police station and conveyed the orders of the DPO that the minarets of the Ahmadiyya mosques in Basti Baba Jhanda and Basti Baba Rahmat be demolished. They did not listen to the pleas of local Ahmadis and demolished the minarets of both Ahmadiyya mosques.
This criminal act was committed by the police in clear violation of this country’s law PPC 295 and PPC 153-A.
If the authorities in Pakistan do not respect their own laws, why does the state expect the Taliban to respect the country’s constitution and laws? A moot question.
Construction of Ahmadiyya mosque barred
Narowal; June 2014: Ahmadis of village Ramra were building their place of worship. They had raised the walls and had undertaken the shuttering for making the roof.
As usual, anti-Ahmadi elements opposed the construction and used the state power in their support. They made the situation volatile by the middle of this month, and assured the police of riots in case Ahmadis succeeded in having a place to worship.
The police willingly accepted the argument of ‘threat to peace’ and told the Ahmadis to stop the construction. Ahmadis met the District Police Officer (DPO) Narowal and explained him their position. The DPO expressed a few words of sympathy but took no concrete action to ensure that Ahmadis would have their place of worship.
In the meantime the local court became handy to the religious bigots; it issued a “Stay Order” against Ahmadis. The construction came to a stop.
It is decades since the authorities allowed Ahmadis to build a place of worship anywhere in Pakistan.
Since the promulgation of Ordinance XX in 1984, 27 Ahmadiyya mosques have been demolished, 18 set on fire or damaged, 31 sealed by the authorities and 16 forcibly occupied by non-Ahmadis with official support.
The daily Mashriq, Lahore reported the following on June 18, 2014: Pak Army to protect all 7 Gurdawaras of Sikhs in Nankana Sahib
The discrimination is striking.
No place to worship
Masroor Abad, District DG Khan; June 2014: In Pakistan, permission was never required in the past to build a place of worship in rural areas. Tens of thousands of mosques have been built all over the country without any permission whatsoever.
Since the promulgation of the anti-Ahmadi Ordinance in 1984, a campaign has been going on by the state and the society against Ahmadiyya mosques. It is note-worthy that no permission has been granted to Ahmadis to build a place of worship in any city or town where the rules require an administrative permission.
Masroor Abad is located approximately 40 kilometers away from DG Khan. It is a village by the river side. Ahmadis decided to build there a place of worship. They had raised the walls and were going to put up a roof when the mullas took notice and decided to agitate against this exercise of freedom of worship.
The mullas decided to demolish the half-built structure. They arrived at about 9 p.m. along with approximately 200 men. The police DSP, SHO and some constables accompanied them.
The officials sent for Ahmadi elders, who came and explained their position to the police and assured them co-operation in their efforts to maintain peace.
The police permitted Ahmadis to complete the building for ‘residential purposes’ only. To achieve this they told Ahmadis to put up a wall in the middle of the hall. Ahmadis agreed to do that.
The above met the approval of the clerics who made Ahmadis sign a document. This was done and the roof was installed. The police were informed. A police ASI and 5 mullas inspected the building on June 22, 2014.
Thereafter, a mulla who is a prayer-leader in a mosque in far off Lahore arrived, and in league with the local mulla held an open air conference and made hate speeches against Ahmadis. The mulla from Lahore urged the locals to drive Ahmadis out of the village. “Otherwise I shall return after Ramadan 20 in company of a score of young men and we shall jointly dump the Qadianis in the river,” he said. The police were there and are a witness to this threatening speech.
Later, two mullas arrived at the new building in company of the SHO and demanded a visit to the interior. Inside, they noticed two steel almirahs. “These almirahs are normally used for storing the Quran and religious publications; these should be removed forthwith,” they demanded. The SHO agreed, and the Ahmadis had to remove the almirahs.
Worship curbed in Faisalabad
Faisalabad; July 26, 2014: Ahmadi worshippers in their prayer centre Baitul Aman had an awful experience at the time of Isha (night) prayers, on account of intervention by religious bullies supported by police unsympathetic to Ahmadis.
At about 9 p.m. when worshippers were busy praying in this prayer centre, a score of locals led by Qari Habibur Rehman of Masjid Khatme Nabuwwat, Khyban Colony and some mullas came to the front door and knocked vigorously. The guard opened the door to see who was there, and the intruders forced their way in. They entered the hall, opened the almirahs, tore up some religious texts and took possession of some others. They acted aggressive and unruly. The worshippers moved to the first floor to avoid a quarrel.
The Ahmadi guard informed the police at 15. At this, the intruders hurled a few threats and departed. They called bad names to the leaders of the Ahmadi community, shouted insults in general and told Ahmadis to close down this centre for worship.
Thereafter the police arrived. A local political leader took the SHO and a few Ahmadis to his residence. He invited there a few mullas too. During the talks the mullas used profane language against Ahmadi leaders. They took the line that Ahmadis may live in the neighbourhood but not use the prayer centre for worship.
The SHO supported the mullas. He told Ahmadis not to worship in the centre, otherwise their centre would be sealed and a guard would be placed there to ensure no worship.
The Ahmadis later informed senior officials in writing of what happened.
Ahmadiyya mosques on terrorists’ hit-list
Lahore: It was learnt from reliable sources that a number of terror-suspects were arrested in Lahore in November. They were interrogated at length. They disclosed, inter alia, that Qadiani places of worship were on their hit-list and an attack on worshippers there was a part of their plans.
The arrested disclosed that they had resided there for some time, were members of the Taliban group and were supported by individuals belonging to the well-known religious parties like SSP and Jamaat Islami.
An attempt to set Ahmadiyya mosque ablaze
Hyderabad; January 23, 2014: Unidentified persons tried to set the Ahmadiyya mosque in Goth Lashari on fire. They jumped over the northern wall which had barbed wire over it, during the dark hours. They had brought petrol with them; they spilled it and set it alight. The nearby door got burnt a bit, while the mosque remained safe miraculously. The police were informed the next morning. A threatening note was found in the mosque after the incident. It conveyed:
“Curse on the Qadiani dog. We have tolerated a lot, but not anymore. Be good enough to kill yourself, otherwise you will be killed like a dog. Today, we have undertaken arson, tomorrow we could do much more. Cursed be your life and the life of Mirza Qadiani. You are all progeny of infidels. Perish or flee away. We are warning you for the last time: Embrace Islam, or have a coffin ready at home.”
Ahmadis improved their security arrangements subsequently.
Violation of Freedom of Religion
Bhera, District Sargodha; February 2014: The mullas and the authorities imposed here unlawful restrictions on Ahmadis that were in violation of their freedom of religion.
Bhera is a historical town for Ahmadis as the first successor of their founder hailed from there, and his residence and mosque are still there. These buildings have grown old and Ahmadis proceeded to repair and update them. But the mullas intervened and agitated the issue maliciously and approached the authorities.
The police, responding to the protest, appointed a four-member committee to look into the case and propose a solution. Three of the four members of this committee comprised: 1. the Imam of the Jame Masjid 2. The Amir Jamaat Islami 3.A mulla of the Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat.
The Committee, despite its unfair composition, could find no fair reason to object to the planned repair and renovation, and made recommendations accordingly.
However, a few mullas from district Sargodha who belonged to a Khatme Nabuwwat organisation came over and strongly protested against the intended repairs. They demanded that minarets be demolished, the niche be closed, the repairs stopped and Ahmadis supervising the repairs be taken to task. This heightened the tension in the town.
In view of this extremist reaction, the Committee revised its recommendations, and proposed:
- The internal niche should be closed down.
- The high-rising wall should be restricted to only 5 feet height, etc.
Although these restrictions were unjustified and obstructive to Ahmadis’ right to build their place of worship to meet their religious and security requirements, these were approved and implemented by the authorities who, rather than upholding the national law and constitutional rights of Ahmadis, upheld mullas’ insistence on religious prejudice and bigotry.
Evil eyes on another Ahmadiyya mosque
Raipur, District Sialkot: Here is story of an Ahmadiyya mosque that illustrates the nature of threat posed to Ahmadiyya places of worship by the society and the state.
Ahmadiyya mosque in Raipur is located in a 6-acre farm where there are approximately 100 mango trees. One Muhammad Afzal coveted this property and fraudulently got the land transferred to his name. In year 2007, he sought police support and went to a court to claim possession of this property. The judge rejected his plea. Thereafter, Afzal had a police case registered against the village folk to maintain his bogus claim controversial.
Afzal solicited support of an influential Rana ShafiqPasruri, agitated the issue again and put up posters in neighbouring villages, titled: “Let’s go to Raipur and take possession of the Muslims’ mosque held by Qadianis.” The police intervened and referred the case to a magistrate.
Afzal had been pushing the courts to decide in his favour. On May 28, a magistrate ordered sealing of the mosque on the absurd plea of ‘threat to peace’. Ahmadis appealed against this decision. The judge cancelled the magistrate’s orders. The police wrongfully approached the judge to revise his order in view of ‘law and order’. This non-issue became hot and simmering – as desired by the unscrupulous land grabber.
Ahmadi worship center raided and sealed – 7 arrested
Gulshan-e-Ravi, Lahore; April – May 2013: A group of miscreants, led by the brother of a top mulla who is influential in official circles, and police raided an Ahmadiyya prayer centre in Gulshan-e-Ravi, detained nine, including a women and her son, and booked 8 men on charges of blasphemy and terrorism. The woman and the boy were released very late at night. The Ahmadiyya community issued the following press release, (translation from Urdu):
“Raid on an Ahmadiyya prayer center in Lahore and then to book worshippers on terrorism charge is extreme tyranny. Anti-Ahmadi activists, under official patronage violate Ahmadis’ human rights: Spokesperson
“Press release dated 30.4.2013
“In Lahore, Anti-Ahmadiyya hate campaign is still active and soaring even after the attack on two worship centers on 28th May 2010. Recently, an attack was conducted on a prayer center of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, and a case was registered against the Jamaat; this shows the recent level of extreme cruelty. Anti-Ahmadiyya elements with the help of government officials are violating human rights of Ahmadis.
“On 28th April, 2013 the enemies of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya attacked a prayer center in Gulshan-e-Ravi, Lahore. Rather than helping (the victims), the police registered a terrorist report and arrested innocent Ahmadis. As per details, when an Ahmadi person reached the prayer center he noticed a mob of mullas standing outside. He entered the center and shut the door but they tried to open it by force. Meanwhile someone from the mob called the police and stated that an unknown person broke into his house, and later ran away and hid in the prayer center. In the meantime, the miscreants unlawfully barged to the center. Later they ransacked the whole place even in the presence of the police. The police bagged the library books and arrested seven persons, including a woman and a twelve-year old child, and took them to Gulshan-e-Ravi Police Station. They set free the woman and the child at 3 a.m. However, they registered a report against the arrested persons on the basis of false accusations.
“The spokesperson of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Mr. Saleemuddin said that planned hostile activities have been conducted against the Jamaat in Lahore. At places, the Kalima has been effaced from Jamaat’s prayer centers,while tombstones in graveyards have been destroyed. In this regard he also mentioned the seizure of Ahmadi-owned Black Arrow Printing press and the case against Pakistan’s oldest newspaper “Al-Fazl”. He said that in all these incidents Hasan Muawiya and BadarAalam are involved. He further added that aforementioned persons pressurize the local authorities to move unlawfully against Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya. He protested that while Ahmadis were targeted in the attack, it is they against whom the case is registered. When high officials were approached they assured us that justice will be done to Ahmadis, but now it seems that even the interim government feels helpless to confront anti-Ahmadiyya elements. He demanded that note be taken of the illegal and immoral conduct of the police; the authorities should ensure religious freedom of Ahmadis.
Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya
Rabwah, District Chiniot”
Following points of detail are relevant to this case:
The case was registered against the following 8 Ahmadis under section 295-B blasphemy caluse, and ATA 11W in P.S. Gulshan-e-Ravi in FIR 385/13 on April 29, 2013:
- Naseer A.Qureshi
- Khawja Muhammad Irshad
- Naeem A. Khan
- Abdul Rahim
- Ata Muhammad
- Ahmad Mahmood
- Saqib Mahmood
- Luqman Mehdi Virk
Of the above the first seven were put behind bars. Mr. Naseer A. Qureshiis an old man; he is 70 years old. Khawja Muhammad Irshadis the president of the local Ahmadi community. Mr. Ata Muhammad was performing security duty for the worshippers, as per general official instructions.
It is obvious that the entire event was pre-planned. It is a fabrication that some (Ahmadi) intruder entered the neighbor’s house, and on being challenged ran outside with an Ahmadiyya book in hand which he dropped outside (for the complainant to grab) before taking refuge in the prayer center from where the worshippers facilitated his escape, according to the FIR. (It is strange that they let the intruder slip away, but stayed back to get themselvesarrested). To what extent the police were involved in the conspiracy is not difficult to ascertain, but it is odd that on arrival of the police and their entry in the worship place, they allowed the crowd to enter as well. Thereafter, the police, the mullas, the miscreants (some of them armed with firearms) jointly explored the worship center for almost 1 ½ hours, bagged all the books from the library and detained 7 worshippers. It is noteworthy that the police took no action against the miscreants who indulged in a riot and obstructed Ahmadis’ right to worship; on the other hand the police registered a criminal case against the victims of the outrage.
The leaders of the rioters were two men, Hasan Muawiya(aka Tooti) and BadrAlam. These two are responsible for implicating Ahmadis in Lahore in a number of criminal cases under religion-based penal clauses and the anti-Ahmadi laws. They are linked to the Khatme Nabuwwat Lawyers Forum. A brief note on Hasan Muawiya is included in this report(Chapter 6). The miscreants pressed home their demand that the worshippers be charged under Blasphemy laws and anti-terrorism laws. The police obliged them.
It is relevant to mention that a mulla, Abdul Aziz is the complainant in this case. In his complaint, at the outset he states, “I, the complainant, am a Muslim of correct belief (Sahih ul Aqeedah) who has unwavering faith in the End of Prophethood, came to know… .” This shows that the entire incident was motivated by sectarian prejudice. The story of an ‘intruder etc.’ was an obvious fabrication.
Three days later, the daily The Express Tribune reported on May 1, that the complainant Abdul Aziz was Joint Secretary of the PML-(Nawaz) Ulema and Mashaikh Wing. Aziz said, he would pressure the police into arresting 15 other Ahmadis who had been present at the place of worship… .“We carried weapons in… Police took away two of our pistols even though we had licenses for them,” said Muawiya.
The next day, May 2, 2013 The Express Tribune made an editorial comment, titled: Putting an end to bigotry. Incidents of harassment against Ahmadis have increased manyfold, particularly in Punjab.
The concluding remark of this editorial was:
“The Ahmadis have traditionally been a peaceful lot and have shown great restraint despite consistent persecution and targeted attacks. As citizens of Pakistan, we must not forget that the white portion in our national flag represents the minorities. Now, the very same white portion has been tainted with the blood of the minorities. We must end this dangerous trend before the entire flag turns red due to intolerance and bigotry.”
The arrested Ahmadis were not granted bail initially, and remained in lock-up. A higher court finally accepted their bail applications. The mullas thereafter lodged an application in a higher court to cancel this bail. The court summoned all the record of the case from the police.
Mr. NomanVirk’s plea for bail before arrest in this case was also confirmed by an ATC court.
The worship center was sealed by the police and has remained closed ever since. Ahmadis of Gulshan-e-Ravi have a problem to congregate for worship in the capital of the largest province of the Land of the Pure.
Punjab Police desecrates another Ahmadiyya mosque
Sheikhupura; June 26, 2013: Two policemen and one man in civvies came to the main Ahmadiyya mosque and told the management that Maulvi ManzoorVattoo had filed an application against the Kalima (Islamic creed) written outside the Ahmadiyya mosque and demanded its removal.
The management told the visitors that it was not Ahmadiyya practice to remove the Kalima nor would they allow private parties do so.
Thereafter four officials of the CID department visited the site in the evening and repeated the mulla’s demand. They were given the same reply.
Desecration of Ahmadiyya mosques by state authorities – a press report
… It is the will of the people of Pakistan to establish an order … wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality
Constitution of Pakistan, Preamble
The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or faith includes the following:
- To worship or assemble in accordance with a religion and belief and to establish and maintain places for these purposes.
Article 6 of the United Nations Resolution 365/55 of 25 November, 1981
Sialkot: The police moved in shameless compliance mode to the demand of extremist mullas, against the peaceful Ahmadiyya community in this city. The daily The Express Tribune published the following detailed report on this subject in its issue of September 23, 2013:
Ahmadi Persecution: Police bow to clerics to tear down minarets
Group demands further demolitions at Ahmadi places of worship
By Rana Tanveer Published: September 23, 2013
Lahore: Police demolished minarets at an Ahmadi place of worship in Sialkot on Saturday, after a group of protesters threatened to do so themselves, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The police approached the community on Friday after a local cleric complained that three worship places for Ahmadis had features that resembled mosques, namely minarets and verses from the Quran written on the walls.
The minarets and verses were covered up, apparently to the police’s satisfaction, but a baying mob gathered at one worship place the next day and demanded that the minarets be torn down. The police did so. The group of protesters is now demanding that similar action be taken against two other worship places within a couple of days.
The cleric whose complaint led to the action told The Express Tribune that he had approached the police after he attended a Khatm-i-Nabuwwat Conference on September 7, marking the anniversary of the passage of anti-Ahmadi laws, where a speaker said that Ahmadis were not allowed to build minarets or use verses from the Quran at their places of worship.
Sections 298-B and 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code outlaw Ahmadis from calling their place of worship a masjid, claiming to be Muslims or preaching their faith to others.
Sialkot City Circle DSP Hamid Mukhtar, who led the police operation, said that the complaint had been filed by Abdul HameedChishti, a local cleric belonging to Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Pakistan, who had demanded the removal of the minarets, verses and Kalima at three worship places.
Advocate ParvaizCheema, spokesman for the Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya Sialkot, said that they met with several police officers and district government officials and discussed the matter. They then visited the three worship places on Friday evening.
At the BaitulZikr Ahmadiyya in Sialkot Cantt, two two-foot high minarets at the entrance were hidden from view through the erection of a wall around them. At the main Ahmadi worship place in Sialkot, known as KabutranwaliIbadatgah, the police were shown where Quranic verses and the name of the place – containing the term ‘masjid’ – had been painted over in the 1980s. The police, said Cheema, had objected that the paint was wearing off, so a fresh coat of white cement was applied. Two small minarets were also covered with cement.
At the BaitulZikrMubarik, they also covered the Kalima and Quranic verses with white cement. Cheema said that the police and district government officials had expressed satisfaction that the complaint had been addressed.
But on Saturday, a rally led by former Azad Jammu and Kashmir minister of religious affairs Sahibzada Hamid Raza stopped at KabutranwaliIbadatgah and demanded that the minarets, covered by cement, be razed. They warned that they would do so themselves if they had to. The police complied with their demand.
DSP Mukhtar said that Hamid Raza and Chishti had led the rally at which hateful and provocative speeches against Ahmadis were delivered. He said that a report had been sent to high-ups and they would decide whether to take any action in this regard.
Cheema said that the protesters had been highly abusive of Ahmadis and their faith and this constituted hate speech. He said Sialkot was one of the biggest cities in the country for the Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya, which had 100 administrative units and a similar number of worship places in the district. He expressed concern that these other places of worship would also come under attack.
Fear and loathing
Chishti, the complainant in the case, told The Express Tribune that they had identified minarets at two other Ahmadi worship places in Sialkot that must be demolished. He said that they had set a deadline of Tuesday for the demolition, failing which they would take matters into their own hands. He said Ahmadis should be grateful that Muslims were allowing them to live in their country, so they should live their lives as Muslims wanted.
He said that local Muslims had known that the minarets and verses at Ahmadi worship places were many years old, but at a Khatm-i-Nabuwwat conference in Sialkot on September 7, they had learned that this was illegal. That was why they had acted, he said.
Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesman Saleemuddin said that the action in Sialkot was a direct result of the anti-Ahmadi conferences that were held in September. “The police have a responsibility to protect Ahmadis instead of subjecting them to discrimination to appease clerics and bow to their demands,” he said.
The police that is employed and paid to enforce the law, instead acted blatantly to violate the law; in this they, of course, enjoyed full support of their departmental and political superiors at the highest level who were also guilty under the provisions of the following clause of the Pakistan Penal Code:
PPC-295. Injuring or defiling places of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class. Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion or any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Hameedabad, District Bahawalpur; September 2013: Ahmadiyya mosque here was in a dilapidated state and needed extensive repairs. The president of the Ahmadiyya community thought it appropriate to build a new mosque on his own land to avoid any trouble.
The activists of Jamaat Islami in collaboration with the Khatme Nabuwwat organization saw in this an opportunity for mischief. They filed an application in the local police station against the construction of the new Ahmadiyya mosque. The administration was prompt in its response to bigots. A team of security and intelligence personnel visited the site on September 6. Thereafter the police gave orders to stop the construction. The SHO came to the site the next day and expressed his resolve to support the mullas in demolishing the Ahmadiyya mosque. He came again and ordered accordingly. Ahmadis tried hard to save their mosque and contacted higher officials.
Ahmadis could not succeed in saving their mosque. The SHO, DSP and the local revenue official came to the site with their team on September 24 and demolished the niche and doors of the mosque under construction. This was entirely illegal as the law does not prohibit Ahmadis having minarets and niches in their places of worship.
The police visited again on November 10 and demolished the niche of the old Ahmadiyya mosque as well. As the inferno of bigots’ desires ever demands more, they demanded that a criminal case should also be registered against Ahmadi elders under Ahmadi-specific laws. Ahmadis approached local political leaders and succeeded in getting the mullas’ sham application thrown in dust bin.
Serious threat to Ahmadis’ Freedom of Faith in AJK
Mirpur, Azad Kashmir; November 2013: An Ahmadiyya mosque was under construction here in the New City area. The structure was almost complete; finishing was underway.
At this stage, mullas called on the Deputy Commissioner (DC) and objected to the construction of Ahmadis’ place of worship. They also got a few rabid statements published in the local press.
Thereafter the SHO sent for the Ahmadi elders and conveyed them the clerics’ objections. Ahmadis explained their position to his apparent satisfaction. An Ahmadi delegation called on the DC who looked rather disturbed over mullas’ agitation.
The DC, then, sent a letter to SDM telling him of the ‘hurt to Muslims’ sentiments over the Qadiani place of worship’ and told him to report on the issue within two days. Ahmadis met the DC again, but he was not sympathetic.
Ahmadis had to raise the level to avoid this serious threat to their basic human right of Freedom to Practice their Faith. At their request, a senior official of the AJK government visited the site and ‘advised’ Ahmadis to not construct a niche for the Imam and also stop building an additional room for the time being. Although the law does not disallow Ahmadis to build a niche in their place of worship, Ahmadis were left with no option but to yield to the demand of the administration(read demand of the mullas).
The Prime Minister of Pakistan thus concluded his recent statement in Lahore: “Pakistan has no option but to put an end to terrorism, extremism and sectarianism.”The daily Mashriq; November 24, 2013
Statements and actions are two different territories, obviously.
Desecration of Islamic creed by the police
JalyaWala, 367 JB, District Toba Tek Singh; March 9, 2013: Some men came to the local Ahmadiyya mosque and demanded removal of the Kalima written on the mosque. Ahmadis refused to comply. Later they arrived in company of a constable who directed Ahmadis to remove the Kalima. Afterwards the same constable telephoned and told Ahmadis to report to the police station on 25 February. There the Ahmadi delegation explained their position to the SHO and persuaded him not to remove the Kalima. A few days later the mullas used their old but effective tactic and took out a procession and put pressure on the police to remove the Kalima from the Ahmadiyya mosque. The police yielded to their pressure and covered the Kalima written in the courtyard and on the outer wall of the Ahmadiyya mosque with black paint.
Barred from congregational prayers
Pasroor, District Sialkot; May 31, 2013: Ahmadis offer their congregational Friday prayers at the residence of the local missionary as they do not have their own mosque. A police inspector arrived there when Ahmadis were offering their Friday prayers. He told Ahmadis not to offer their prayers there. Ahmadis explained him their position. At this the inspector demanded an NOC for offering Friday prayers there. He was told that there is no need of an NOC for offering Friday prayers; others are also offering their Friday prayers without obtaining any permission. The inspector said, “They are offering the prayers in the mosques and you are offering it in a house, so you need permission. I am constrained to convey this in view of the law and order situation.”
Ahmadis met the higher police official to help, but he told Ahmadis not to say their Friday prayers until he had spoken to the mullas.
The authorities do not allow Ahmadis to build a place for worship, nor do they allow them to pray at home. This is the freedom of worship – Punjab style. The Punjab is ruled by Mian Brothers who now complain of terrorism.
Sectarian outrage against Ahmadiyya mosque
Orangi Town, Karachi; January 13, 2013: Three unknown men came to the Ahmadiyya mosque here and started writing provocative phrases against the Ahmadiyya community on its outer wall. They wrote, “From: Tahrike Khatme Nabuwwat” at the end. Some Ahmadi boys were on duty inside the mosque. They did not open the mosque’s gate when the miscreants knocked at it. They instead informed the police by phone. The police arrived there shortly afterwards. The miscreants had fled in the meantime. The police were busy investigating when Dr. Fayyaz, the incharge of SipaheSahaba (an organizationbanned for its terrorist activities) came to the site in his car. He expressed his ignorance about the men who had undertaken the writings there. His behaviour was suspicious; it could be he who had organised the insult.
After overwhelming the civil administration, the mullas now find it easy to frighten the soldiers – in District Rawalpindi
WahCantt: Last year, the mullas in Rawalpindi managed to seize the administration’s support to deny Ahmadis the right of congregational worship in the Ahmadiyya Ewan-i-Tauheed in Rawalpindi. Encouraged by their success, they turned on the heat against the Ahmadiyya mosque in the nearby Wah Cantonment where the town is under the control of army authorities.
The mullas demanded that the niche in the Ahmadiyya worship place be demolished. They approached the local station commander (a brigadier) and found it easy to convince him of their position. It can be assumed that a copy of their written application was sent to even a higher local authority.
The station commander sent for the Ahmadis to explain. The Ahmadi delegation informed him that their mosque including its niche was constructed in 1976, much before the promulgation of the anti-Ahmadi Ordinance. They showed him the official documents of the lease of the land, the construction plan etc. The official, however, refused to show any inclination to uphold their right to religious freedom and told them to demolish the niche or be ready for the consequences.
The mullas turned to their routine tactics which are often successful. They indulged in hateful sectarian campaign and put up anti-Ahmadi banners in the townwith the following exhortations:
- O Qadianis: Do not injure Muslims’ feelings by building niches in your worship places – Khatme Nabuwwat: Long live.
- Muslims are ready to sacrifice all on the altar of Khatme Nabuwwat of the Holy Prophet.
- Qadianis are enemies of both Islam and Pakistan.
- The Mirzais in WahCantt have constructed a niche in their worship place; it is violation of Pakistani law.
Etc.In fact there is no law that forbids Ahmadis building a niche in their place of worship. Also, there is no mention in the Quran or Hadith that a mosque must have a niche, nor is there a commandment for Muslims to deny others building a niche. The mullas’ agitation over this issue is only a pressure tactic to assert their religious, social and political power. Having lost their battle in Swat, they are carrying out their campaign for supremacy by other means.The army authorities in WahCantt find it convenient to yield to the mulla on an issue that hurts only a small community. Khalid Ahmad of the daily the Express Tribune is perhaps right in concluding: “Only Muslims and men can live in this country.” (The Express Tribune, Lahore; February 13, 2012) This also reminds one of the Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan who said last year, “Bells of justice to ring without discrimination.” (The daily Dawn, Lahore; April 26, 2012)
Authorities target still another Ahmadiyya mosqueChak no. 107 RB Sharqi, District Faisalabad; June 14, 2013: The police came to this village and forbade local Ahmadis to proceed with the construction of their mosque. The mosque was being built inside an Ahmadi’s residence and was near completion. The president of the local Ahmadiyya community, Mr. Munawwar Ahmad was called to the police station. He went there along with a few Ahmadis. The DSP and the SHO were present at the police station. They pressurized Ahmadis and obtained an undertaking from them that they would demolish the mosque by June 16.Ahmadis tried to resolve this matter peacefully. It is noteworthy that the authorities do not allow Ahmadis to construct a place of worship. They order them to demolish the under construction mosques, and they help the miscreants to attack locations where Ahmadi assemble for worship, and book them en-masse for alleged violation of laws. This unfortunately is the reality of freedom of worship in Pakistan – for Ahmadis.
Another Ahmadiyya mosque sealed by the authorities
Fatehpur, District Gujrat; July 2013: An Ahmadiyya mosque has been sealed here by authorities. This is the 29th mosque in this series. This fact could perhaps go in the Guinness Book of World Records.The mosque is located in a farmland owned by Ahmadis for more than 20 years. Its management is with Ahmadis. Ahmadis allowed their non-Ahmadi kins to pray in the same mosque. So it was in common use.Recently, Ahmadis transferred the mosque’s ownership to Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya. The non-Ahmadis did not like that, although the transfer did not affect their practice of worship. They conspired to make it a big issue and resolved to take over the mosque by force. The Daulat Nagar police found an easy way out. They sealed the mosque.The Express Tribune, Lahore filed a detailed report on this issue on July 31, 2013 and gave it the headline:
Dispossession: Ahmedis banished from place of worshipExtracts:Lahore: Ahmadis in Fatehpur, Gujrat district, have been banished from their place of worship in Ramazan and fear that they will be deprived of the property by the local government and clerics.…The Ahmedis filed a complaint with the police for the registration of an FIR against the assailants. The police did not register a case, nor heeded their request for protection. Instead, they sealed the place of worship, which is located on a four-marla plot, “because of concerns of a clash,” Dolatnagar SHO RiazQadir told The Express Tribune. He said that previously, both Sunnis and Ahmedis had prayed there.…The SHO said that he had seen the Jamat-i-Ahmadiya’s ownership document for a four-marla property within that eight-kanal parcel, but the document did not specify where exactly within that eight kanals the four-marla property was located.…Asked why no assault case had been registered on the Ahmedis’ complaint after members of the community were beaten up and thrown out of the place of worship on the first day of Ramazan, the SHO said that since no blood had been spilt, there could be no FIR.…He (the vice president of the so-called Peace and Harmony Committee) said that the four-marla property appeared to have been transferred to the Jamat-i-Ahmadiya by the patwari “by mistake”. He added that he was hopeful the dispute would be resolved and the property “would be given to Muslims”.…“The Jamat-i-Ahmadiya has ownership documents for the property,” he (an Ahmadi) said. “It is the responsibility of the police and the state to follow the law in settling the matter.”
Freedom of worship denied
ShareefPura, District Lahore; July 2013: Ahmadis remained under pressure of local non-Ahmadis to stop praying in their own local place of worship. They approached the notables of the area to put pressure on Ahmadis. They planned to hold anti-Ahmadiyya conference and take out a procession thereafter.Deputy Superintendent Police of Baghbanpura came over to the Ahmadiyya centre on August 27, 2013 and arrested three Ahmadis there, Mr. Allah Rakha, Mr. Muhammad Asif Munir and Mr. Mir Ahmad. He locked the Ahmadiyya mosque and took the key with him to the police station. When Ahmadi delegation reached the police station, they found a number of non-Ahmadis and political workers gathered there. They were insisting that Ahmadis may use that building for residence but not for congregational prayers. The DSP parroted the same demand and told Ahmadis to comply. He made the parties sign an agreement, and then released the three detained Ahmadis.
Agitation over minarets of an Ahmadiyya mosque
Village 312/JB, Tehsil Gojra, District Toba Tek Singh; July – September 2013:
Mullasled anti-Ahmadiyya agitation in Gojra. They demanded that the minarets of the Ahmadiyya mosque in the nearby village be demolished. The authorities found it convenient to appease them.The Assistant Commissioner (AC) ordered the minarets to be covered. A bizarre order, but it had to be obeyed. So the Ahmadis covered these and reported the fact to the AC on July 22. The DSP and SHO came to inspect them. However the mullas were not satisfied. They took out a procession two days later. The AC promised the miscreants something and they dispersed. Another meeting was called for July 25.At the meeting, on arrival, the Ahmadi delegation found 20 mullas packing the venue, while approximately 50 clerics had assembled outside as pressure group. The meeting was nothing but a one-way dialogue in which Ahmadis were told to do what the mullas wanted. The officials only echoed the mullas’ demands. Ahmadis attempted appropriately to say their bit but the AC was not prepared to listen to them, he seemed to care only for law and order (and his career). Human rights and Freedom of religious practice were no issues with him. He gave Ahmadis 15 days to demolish part of their place of worship.Later, an Ahmadi delegation called on the DCO. She heard the Ahmadiyya position patiently and conveyed that she would attempt a solution in consultation with Gojra administration.Later on, a few officials of the TMA, the police and two engineers visited the site and assessed the construction situation.In these circumstances Ahmadis could do little except pray. The mullas, supported by the Jamaat Islami, Jamaat Ahle Hadith and some business leaders etc declared a strike for August22, and threatened further action (The daily Aman; August 16, 2013).The administration imposed Section 144 in the village on August 21 and 22. This prevented the procession that could have precipitated trouble. Mr. Khalid JavedWaraich MNA intervened and asked for a statement from both parties to submit to laws. “The administration will hear both sides, and will then take further action,” he said.It is relevant to mention that this mosque was built in 1960s. It was reconstructed in 1996. It always had its minarets. No one objected to them till January this year. Even then the locals have no objection against them. The law says nothing about minarets on an Ahmadiyya place of worship. The agitation is baseless and a fabricated sectarian mischief.The local MNA, Mr. Khalid JavedWarraich decided to intervene and gave his verdict in favour of mullas. The Ahmadis protested and he threatened them with ‘consequences’.It is learnt that subsequently there was a meeting at provincial level between the Punjab law minister and high police and administration officials.The administration continued to press Ahmadis to destroy the minarets of their mosque. Ahmadis have declined to undertake this gross sacrilege.Eventually Ahmadis had to cover up fully the minarets with sheets. The village looks uglier but that is what the mullas and the administration are content with. And whither freedom of religion promised in the constitution of this Land of the Pure!
Ahmadis disallowed to congregate for Eid prayer in Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi: Ahmadis asked the administration’s permission to assemble for Eid congregational prayer in their center Aiwan-e-Tauheed in Rawalpindi. Unabashedly the administration denied once again the right of worship tothem. The daily The Express Tribune reported the following in its issue of August 12, 2013(extracts):
Offering Eid prayers; Not a given for everyone
Just a day before EidulFitr, the streets leading to Aiwan-e-Tawheed – the central place of worship of Ahmadis residing in Rawalpindi – in Satellite Town was once again filled with banners cautioning residents about ‘unconstitutional activities’ of members of the area’s Ahmadiyya community.The banners were placed following an attempt by the worship place’s administration to get permission from the city administration for offering Eid prayers at their worship centre, which has been closed for two years.Even though the city administration denied permission on the pretext of the move fomenting a law and order situation, it provided a local traders’ action committee – affiliated with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz – with an opportunity to launch a fresh wave of hatred against the community.This was the second year running that Ahmadis were barred from offering Eid prayers at their central worship place in the garrison city in the face of strong resentment and threats made by the action committee, which wants the site to be permanently closed down.Jama‘at Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesperson Saleem ud Din, while talking to The Express Tribune, deplored the incident, saying it was unfortunate for community members living in Rawalpindi.Din said the community members can’t fight with elements behind the hate campaign against them, adding that the community’s only other worship place in the city could only house around 200 people.A number of community members in Rawalpindi offered Eid prayers in Islamabad, while those who do not have transportation facilities available stayed at home, Din said. He condemned the slack response extended by the city administration towards the issue.By not granting permission, the administration violated Article 20 of the Constitution that ensures a right to worship for every citizen of Pakistan, he added.Oddly, three mosques of similar size in the same street have not drawn objections from the pressure groups.On January 29, 2012, around two thousand people including activists of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan – now Ahle-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat and JamatudDawa, alongwith students from religious seminaries around Rawalpindi carried out a massive rally near the worship place against what they termed “illegal and unconstitutional act” of the community.One of the worship place’s administration members told The Express Tribune that the local committee was not just causing a split between the Muslim and Ahmadiyya communities, but also between Muslims themselves.Across the world, it is common practice that the government takes stand for what is right but here the situation is complex. The hate-filled environment for our community has compelled the administration to back the wrong side, he deplored.
Ahmadiyya places of worship targeted
Faisalabad; October 3, 2013: A staff reporter filed the following story in the daily Dunya:Threat of attacks on minority’s places of worship; security measures ordered to be upgraded.Faisalabad (staff reporter): A plan has been unearthed that subsequent to the attack on the church in Peshawar, Qadiani places of worship will be subjected to terror attacks. All agencies including the police have been ordered to adapt strict security measures. According to sources in the Home Ministry of the Punjab, a secret report mentions that plans exist to attack Qadiani places of worship, so the police and other security agencies have been directed to tighten the security of these places.
An attempt to defile Ahmadiyya place of worship
Chak 307 JB; District Toba Tek Singh; October 2013: Muhammad Nasir Sultan Chatha, an opponent of the Ahmadiyya community, filed an application with the SHO police station Gojra to demolish the niche and minarets of the Ahmadiyya mosque in Chak no. 307 JB.Chatha fabricated a story that he accompanied by some friends saw two minarets of a mosque and went inside to offer their prayers, but it turned out to be an Ahmadiyya worship place. “We were thus deceived and felt very hurt for this jolt to our faith. We tried to find Ahmadis who had raised the construction similar to a Muslim mosque. We found some of them. We tried to convince them to destroy the minarets as they resemble those in Muslims’ mosques. They refused to do that. The accused have been declared infidels by law and the Sharia, as such they may not use any Islamic symbol like minarets in their mosque. Appropriate legal action should be taken against them, otherwise the administration and the Qadianis would be responsible for any clash and damage in the area,” he asserted.
Threat to Ahmadi worshipers in the capital
I-9, Islamabad; February 2013: The residence of Mr. Mansur Ahmad Tahir has been used as a centre of worship by local Ahmadis since long. An Assistant Sub Inspector of Police visited this house along with a local shopkeeper. They made enquiries about Ahmadis’ worship at the location. Later the ASI advised Mr. Tahir to tighten the security in view of the prevailing law and order situation.Ahmadis stopped using this place for prayers after this warning.
A suspect visit to Ahmadiyya mosque
Kharian, District Gujrat; February 10, 2013: An unknown man came to the Ahmadiyya mosque here and asked to see the Imam. He said that one of his friends wanted to become an Ahmadi. He was told that no such conversion was undertaken there. He departed and went to the main bazaar where another man met him. Thereafter he boarded a car in which two mullas were seated, and they headed towards Gujrat.The police were informed of this incident. The security has been beefed up in the mosque.
Agitation against Ahmadiyya worship place in Lahore
November/December, 2013: Advocate M BadrAlam, on the pay roll of the Khatme Nabuwwat organisation in Lahore, applied in May 2012 to the DCO that the minaret and the dome in the Ahmadiyya mosque be demolished. Later he asked for the intervention of Lahore High Court. The DCO told the court that these were constructed under the rules with the approval of the city government. The case rested there.This case was put up again in November this year before Justice Yasar Ali Khan. He read the earlier reports and said that as the DCO had changed, the new DCO should give his own report.At this, an Ahmadiyya delegation called on the DCO and defended its position. The Legal Advisor of the DCO however insisted that as per decision of another judge, Ahmadis are not to build the minarets, dome and niche in their place of worship. The delegation explained to him that the judge never ordered their demolition, and the two cases, the one before the judge and this one regarding Darul Zikr are different in nature, hence the judgment of one does not apply to the other.This case came up for hearing before Justice Khan again on December 2, 2013. The DCO’s legal advisor requested the judge to send the case to the provincial and federal governments for a solution. BadrAlam insisted thatthe judgment should be given there and then. The judge however sent the file to the Chief Justice to appoint another judge to hear the case.Some more details of this case can be seen in Chapter 6 of annual report 2013.
Pak media takes notice of desecration of mosques etc in Angola, and a point to ponder
In December 2013 Pakistani press reported news from Angola, where the religion of Islam is held in disfavor by the government, mosques have been demolished and Muslims are facing persecution. The print media reported the following news and opinions, inter alia:
- Municipal officials in Viyana (Angola) took to demolition of minarets of mosques without Muslims’ permission or any prior intimation of the intention to act.
- DaudJah, a Muslim leader, reported that a number of mosques have been sealed, and many demolished (shaheed).
- Demolition of minarets is considered acceptable in some western countries as these display Islamic identity.
- Angolan state authorities have put a ban on Islam and Muslims’ activities.
- Muslims have become suspects in the country.
- Islam is not rated as a faith (Mazhab) or religion (Deen) but merely a school of thought.
- Muslims are a small minority but they are facing great hardships at the hand of authorities.
- There are countless religious denominations in Angola who enjoy freedom of faith, but freedom is denied to Muslims.
- A minister stated that Angola is a Christian majority state, while Islam has no legal standing with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
- Angolan embassies avoid questions on this issue or pay no attention. They also take the position that the mosques have been built in Angola illegally. Anything constructed illegally will face demolition.
- The entire world denounces this policy of Angolan government.
Well, it all sounds familiar in the Ahmadiyya context in Pakistan – somewhat like a mirror image.As for Ahmadiyya mosques in Pakistan, following data should help understanding the similitude:
- Demolished 27
- Sealed by authorities 31
- Set on fire 13
- Forcibly occupied 16
- Construction barred by authorities 49
It is hoped that the mullas and authorities in Paksitan will understand the plight of Ahmadis and will see to it that Pakistan is different from Angola.