Mosques under Attack, and Worship Denied (2015 – 2016)

Mosques under attack, and worship denied

2016

Sealing of still another Ahmadiyya mosque after an attack by a hostile mob.Riot took place due ineffective official intervention. Led to flight of the entire Ahmadi community from their village. 2 deaths in the incident.A massacre averted through firm official action after the miscreants’ occupation and arson in the mosque

 The mob attack on the Ahmadiyya mosque in District Chakwal was another major event in the highly deplorable history of defiling Ahmadiyya places of worship in Pakistan, that has reached unbelievable figures in the past three decades. It is surprising that a state and society can tolerate all that in the 20th and 21st century. The attack on the mosque was mounted by the mullas after prior warning to the authorities. The latter knew the date and time of the assembly of the crowd. Despite that, they used no tear gas, no water hoses, nothing to deter the procession from deviating off the authorized route. Ahmadis, though less than 5% of the attackers, had assembled to defend their mosque. It is sheer luck and coincidence that the event did not end up as a massacre, despite shoddy and cursory attitude of the authorities.

            The mosque was sealed, nevertheless. Ahmadis have no place to worship. That is what the mulla desired in the first instance. The authorities have delivered that.

Dulmial, District Chakwal, Punjab; December 2016:                      A hostile procession taken out on the felicitous occasion of the birthday of the Holy Prophet on 12 December 2016 altered its authorized route and went for the Ahmadiyya mosque in the village with declared intention to occupy it. A major clash at the site was avoided through police intervention however the miscreants succeeded in occupying the mosque and then setting its furnishings etc. on fire in police presence. Eventually Rangers and army units had to be deployed to restore peace. The authorities decided to seal the Ahmadiyya mosque. Two persons, one Ahmadi and one non-Ahmadi died in the event. Essential details follow.

This mosque was originally built in 1860. In those days there were no Ahmadis and no Non-Ahmadis, as Ahmadiyya Movement did not come into being till near the end of the 19th century. When Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declared his divine mission, a number of influential, literate and land-owing elders of this village accepted his claim and became members

of the Ahmadiyya denomination. They maintained their ownership, control and care of this mosque. There was no objection to non-Ahmadis praying there as communal tolerance prevailed in plenty. Later Non-Ahmadis built their own mosques; there are now ten of these. Land for some of these was provided gratis by Ahmadis as a sign of good-will and
service to God.

The control of the Ahmadiyya mosque was not exercised by non-Ahmadis ever. Even after 1974, when Ahmadis were declared Not-Muslims in the constitution, the other Muslims raised no objection to Ahmadis’ mosque – it was their place of worship. Decades later, in 1997, Non-Ahmadis approached the courts to claim its ownership; however, having no case, they could make no headway with their demand in the Lahore High Court. So they stopped pursuing the case. It was revived among the public only a few weeks ago by local mullas and by a mulla based in Canada, Malik Rashid Ahmad who had enough time, money and motivation to make big mischief, as Pakistan is amply susceptible to religious extremism and sectarianism. Assistance of Islamist organizations like Khatme Nabuwwat, Tehrik-i-Labaik Ya Rasool ul Alllah, Tajdar Khatme Nabuwwat etc was readily available.

In a Friday congregation, the leading visiting mulla at the local mosque Lal Shah incited the worshippers to violence and their commitment to forcibly take over the Ahmadiyya mosque on the birthday of the Holy Prophet. He asked them to respond to his call by standing up. Ahmadis learnt of their plans and informed the district administration of this, requesting security measures to protect the life and properties and worship places of Ahmadiyya Community. This letter was written on December 5, 2016, one week before the happening. Its copy was sent to the chief minister of Punjab.

Ahmadi-bashers made no effort to hide their intentions. They too sent a letter to the DCO, with copies to 10 authorities from the President of Pakistan down to the Punjab Home Minister. The letter spread over 27 pages, carried endorsement of 580 individuals (as claimed) but primarily of Sibt ul Hasan, Muhammad Hussain, Tauqir ul Hasan, Malik Rashid Ahmad and Mueed Shah. The letter plainly demanded help in “freeing the mosque, safeguarding the joint interest of Muslims, from the grip of Kufr; otherwise we might be forced into taking the most extreme action to restore the great sanctity of this mosque.”

It appears that the district authorities did little in response to this serious threat except calling some mullas and accepting their assurance that the intended procession will go by the authorized route and will not turn to the Ahmadiyya mosque. On December 12, the police presence was augmented slightly to approximately 2 dozen – entirely inadequate to handle an extremist mob of more than a thousand. The police later told the press that the participants numbered 2800 to 3000.

On 12 December the procession made a forced alteration to its authorized route and headed for the Ahmadiyya mosque, in violation of the commitment given by their leaders to the district administration. Arguably the commitment given was meant to be broken. Ahmadis had foreseen this possibility and a few dozen of them had assembled in their mosque to defend it against the threatened occupation. The processionists were armed. On arrival at the gate of the mosque they indulged in extensive firing, stone throwing and slogan raising. Ahmadis resisted the entry of the mob.

The small contingent of police was present and in contact with the two parties. The siege went on for hours. One Ahmadi defender, a senior citizen, died of cardiac arrest on account of the stress of the happenings. Senior police and district administration officials had arrived by then at the scene. The police eventually persuaded Ahmadis to depart from a back door, and guaranteed safety of the mosque and made the promise that the rioters would not be allowed to take its possession. However, immediately after the Ahmadis left, the mob stormed in and the police did little to stop them. Once inside, they defiled the mosque, piled up its sacred scripts, furniture, carpets etc. and set them on fire.

Then came the Rangers, even Army units. The miscreants fled. The mosque was sealed by the authorities.

During the siege, one of the processionists was hit by a shot, he died subsequently. In a previous report we mentioned that Ahmadis insist they did not kill him; now we know better that the senior Ahmadis did not have the time and opportunity to interview all the Ahmadi defenders, so who shot at him will have to be assessed through professional investigation.

The police registered one (not two) FIR against the rioters as also against Ahmadis; it was entered in the name of local SHO. Its wording is not far from what happened. It is registered as Nr. 214/16 in P.S. Choa Saidan Shah on December 12, 2016 under PPCs 302/324, 153A/186, 353/295, 295-A/436, 148/149, 147 and 7ATA. It names 36 non-Ahmadis and 36 Ahmadis. The numbers seem to imply a balanced approach. However, how a few defenders of their own property, a place of worship, could be treated at par with a violent mob assembled at the targeted site, with commitment to occupy the place. A simple mathematical calculation will show that while 60% of the defenders have been named in the FIR, the aggressors number a little more than 1 percent.

After the riot, the situation was very tense in the village. Ahmadis felt very unsafe. They left with their families for safe locations, to wait for the situation to become clearer. However, such a flight is a very severe hardship in village life.

The ‘tweet’ made by the provincial government during the riot is worth quoting. “Punjab Home Department is following up Chakwal incident. The local admin and police are at the spot and handling the situation. As per details, a misunderstanding developed between the two groups. The police and administration are making all out efforts to resolve the issue amicably,” they wrote. To call the pre-planned assault undertaken by a mob comprising thousands ‘a misunderstanding’ is indeed cool – to a low degree. The tweeted amicable resolution resulted in sealing the Ahmadiyya mosque and flight of the entire Ahmadiyya community from the village – tyranny of the majority!

A day after the mob stoned the Ahmadiyya mosque, Rana Sanaullah, the provincial minister appeared on program Newswise on Dawn TV and made some quotable remarks:

  • At present, everything is under control there (in Dulmial). Majority of people there are peaceful. There was no sectarian tension there, however… .
  • Responsible officials had got the issue resolved through mutual consultation; they (mullas) had assured (us) that they will not undertake any such action at the time of the rally… .
  • (Ahmadi) guards at the scene should not have hurried to react; the police were there. … Had the guards not opened fire, the police would have negotiated an understanding and the procession would have passed, as it always did in the past (sic).
  • See how we defend them (Ahmadis). We saved these people in Jhelum too. I am sorry to notice Ahmadis’ campaign in the social media. If you do that, you are fanning the fire that we want to curb. You expose it further…..Don’t do that….I reassure them that they should entertain no fear.

(Note: Ahmadis’ experience in Lahore, Jhelum, Gujranwala, Chak Sikandar, Jhando Sahi, Tando Allah Yar, etc was quite different to what Minister Rana suggested.)

At present four Ahmadis are under arrest. They are Malik Riaz Ahmad, Mr. Muhammad Anwar, Mr. Naveed Ahmad and Mr. Khurram Akbar. By the end of the month 68 Ahmadis including women and children had gone back to home.

In a recent report in the daily Dawn, Chairman National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR) Justice (r) Ali Nawaz Chohan informed the Senate Committee that the key culprit behind the incident was Abdul Rasheed (sic); accused (Rasheed) had a history of propagating extremism and creating troubles in the name of religion; the chairman NCHR said Rasheed had absconded from the scene and was still at large; We (NCHR) blame the police and the administration for failing to stop the act of violence; the senators blamed the police and the administration for the failure to prevent the act of arson,…Senator Nisar Khan said there had been reports on social media that the police did not act to prevent the violence which continued for around five hours; the (Senate) Committee decided to write to the Punjab government to pay compensation to the victims. (Dawn, January 3, 2017)

The Punjab government has reportedly asked the federal government to put Rasheed and Hafeez ur Rehman, the leaders of miscreants on the Exit Control List.

It is also relevant to mention that an overwhelming majority of the miscreants in the procession came from adjoining villages. The one who died that day was also not a local resident.

The Punjab government has formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate and report on the incident. It is headed by an I.G. Police and its members are officials from police and other security agencies.

Meanwhile, some religious leaders like Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali and Pir Afzal Qadri of Tehrik-i-Labaik Ya Rasoolullah, Mulla Khadim Hussain Rizvi of Tajdar Khatme Nabuwwat and the leaderships of Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat issued a call for observing the next Friday, 16 December as a ‘Day of Protests’, deliver sermons in mosques on the issue, take out processions etc. In fact it was recipe for countrywide unrest. It was announced that ‘two Muslims had been killed by Qadianis, while not a single Qadiani got a bruise.’ The government did not wish the agitation to grow, and issued orders to the administration and police to restrict the mullas effectively. This was done and there were no mentionable incidents, proving that the authorities can be effective if they decide to be so.

The news of this vicious assault on a house of worship spread fast worldwide. The UN Country Team expressed its shock at the brutality of this mob attack on Ahmadi place of worship in Chakwal. The New York Times gave it the headline: Pakistanis attack mosque of religious minority. Lantos Foundation in Washington and England-based International Human Rights Committee jointly condemned the attack on Chakwal mosque as also the police raid on Ahmadiyya headquarters in Pakistan. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan issued a wholesome staff report on December 15 expressing grave concern over the treatment being meted out to Ahmadi citizens both at the hands of those tasked with security as well as the zealots. The commission said that it was hugely distressing that the police were not able to protect the worship place. ‘Both incidents constitute a failure on part of the authorities to ensure protection of citizens’ rights enshrined in the Constitution and under international human rights law,’ it said. The Commission demanded a probe to determine “what could have led to a conclusion that would not have deprived the Ahmadis of one more of their place of worship.”

The local, national and international press reported the loathsome attack, and made editorial comments. The Associated Press reported, “The mob hurled stones and bricks at the mosque before storming the building, said Mahmood Javed Bhatti, Deputy Commissioners of the Chakwal district outside Islamabad, adding that gunmen opened fire on Ahmadis during the melee.” The weekly Newsweek Pakistan issued its report under the forthright headline ‘Islamabad has a shameful habit of forgetting its past’. The weekly concluded its report by comment that, Ahmadis – ‘manufactured’ as a minority in 1974 – are not Pakistan’s only embattled minority community. Christians too are attacked routinely, resulting in deaths and loss of property, as in 2009 at Gojra and in 2013 and 2014 across Pakistan while the state concocted ways of forgetting that it was moving towards its terminal crises.’

The dailies The Express Tribune, The Nation, The News made apt editorial comments on this monstrous and unsupportable assault on a place of worship. The daily Dawn undertook detailed credible reporting of the incident, prepared by its local correspondent in Chakwal.

The local weekly Asaar, published from Chakwal, Chief Editor Yunus Awan, candidly, truthfully and boldly reported the incident in the following bold headlines on December 15, 2016:

Assault on Qadianis’ place of worship in Dulmial. 2 dead, …

Some participants of the 12 Rabi ul Awal procession deviated from the authorized route and headed for Qadianis’ worship place.

They shouted slogans vigorously; broke open the gate and entered; threw out the furnishings and books and set them on fire.

Those inside the worship place saved their lives by escaping from back door. The furious mob persisted in rioting and kept shouting loud slogans.

During the rioting, Khalid son of Ayub died of cardiac arrest in the worship place while Naeem Shafiq was shot dead.

The administration called the Rangers and the Army. The angry mob was driven out of worship place which was then sealed. Funeral rites of Naeem Shafiq were performed on Tuesday.

Weekly Asar, Chakwal, December 15, 2016

The weekly offered the following opinions too in bold headlines:

The DCO and DPO are responsible for the tragedy in Dulmial

The state is duty bound to protect lives and properties of its citizens. The DCO and the DPO failed to take action on the two parties’ representations.

The DCO and the DPO displayed routine lethargy and took no effective action despite the prevailing tension.

The DCO and DPO are also accountable to someone. Those responsible should be punished after due inquiry.

Kunwar Khuldun Shahid, a renowned op-ed writer wrote on December 15 a hard hitting readable article for the blog ‘The diplomat’ and gave it the title of his concluding recommendation: To win its war on terror, Pakistan must accept Ahmadis as Muslims.

Shan Taseer, worthy son of a worthy father, martyred Governor Salman Taseer, wrote, fit for archives, an article in Urdu, for www.humsub; extracts:

“…Tomorrow, if India’s parliament, through a unanimous act, declares, 250 million Indian Muslims to be Non-Muslims, and then persecutes them, and the world raises the issue, would it be disregarded declaring it to be India’s internal problem.”…

“Through this (Second Amendment) that is unconstitutional, non-political and inhuman, Pakistan has become the only country in the world, to use the democratic tool to deliver its people from the bondage of imperialism and dictators and passed them to the bloody claws of Mullaism. This bondage is more disappointing and dangerous as it derives the justification for its tyranny and brutality from religion. Through such legislation we have handed over a gun to a monkey, while we seem satisfied that he will shoot only Ahmadi or Shia citizens.

Fellows… he’ll shoot anyone. For God’s sake, take the gun back from this monkey, otherwise even your future generations are not safe.

            http:www.humsuh.com.pk/36737/shan-taseer

In the meantime the mulla did not rest on his oars. He availed of the vernacular press and the electronic media to justify his excesses and consolidate his success. In this effort, he, as always, distorted the truth and indulged in vicious rhetoric. He conveyed to the common man, inter alia;

  • Ahmadis posted their men; this incited the processionists.
  • Qadianis took away a Muslim, killed him and threw away his dead body.
  • Two Muslims were killed.
  • Qadianis are committed to spread disorder and provocation in Pakistan.
  • Qadiani bureaucrats are playing a dangerous game to derail CPEC.

Issued by Action Committee Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat (Pakistan)

From an op-ed in a vernacular daily:

  • It was the Qadianis who attacked the Holy Birthday procession.
  • In Dulmial Qadianis abducted a Muslim youth and killed him.
  • There are many mosques in the Punjab that are under the Qadiani grip (Qabza) and their aggressive posture can lead to a massacre.
  • The Dulmial mosque, Qadianis had converted it into a Dur uz Zikr, and they even switched on Qadiani TV transmissions therein.
  • Muslims appealed to the president and the prime Minister to hand over this mosque to Muslims, or it should be sealed in the first instance, but none took any notice.
  • Muslims did not set fire to mosque, they only took out Qadianis’ apostatical literature, dish antenna, TV, and other furnishings and set these on fire. They took possession of the mosque and thereafter offered Asr prayers therein. Etc.

(Mulla) Naveed Masood Hashmi in the daily Ausaf; Lahore, December 16, 2016

The mullas have demanded that the original FIR registered by the police should be discarded and a fresh one be entered. Obviously they would like to fabricate the new one to absolve themselves and add hostile and incorrect information in the amended document.

According to a press report the DCO visited the family of the deceased Muslim to offer condolences. He paid them a sum of Rs. 100,000 at the occasion.

In our opinion, while it is courteous to offer condolences to a bereaved family, it is highly improper for the state to send its functionary to a family whose member was involved in a criminal activity which could have blown up into a massacre. This visit conveys the message: “Do what you like in the name of Islam; if you come to grief, the state will be sympathetic to your family and will support them financially.” If this is not terrorism in the name of religion, what else is?

It is almost three weeks that this worship place is locked, and Ahmadis have no place to worship. This is what the mulla wanted. The authorities have delivered that. Mulla is the winner – thanks to his supporters.

‘Ahmadi place of worship may see court case following mob attack’ reported the Dawn on December 19. This is ominous. The mosque should be unsealed first and Ahmadis should be facilitated to pray there as they have been doing since Pakistan came into being. If the mulla wants to go to the court, he may do so; he attempted that in 1997 and quit finding it a hopeless exercise. He may try again.

The government of Punjab might object to being blamed of lethargy, inaction and indirect complicity; after all ‘we succeeded in averting a massacre, with only two dead and the mosque still intact.’ But it ignores that it had to seal the only place of worship with Ahmadis; it remains sealed weeks later to-date. Where should Ahmadis go to offer their obligatory prayers? Is it not its duty and raison d’etre according to the Constitution to facilitate citizens’ right to freedom of worship? The government has a huge store of tear gas shells and water cannons to deter a mob from taking an unauthorized route. Why were the police not directed to take these items to Dulmial on 12th morning? Why the worship place has not been unsealed yet, even if a judicial decision is to be sought eventually? Was sealing not the option the mulla demanded in the first place? The charge of indirect complicity of the government will stick as long as the Ahmadiyya mosque remains sealed.

Last but not least, some statistics concerning Ahmadiyya mosques, from the day a dictator promulgated anti-Ahmadi ordinance in 1984, till now:

Number of Ahmadiyya mosques demolished                                : 27
Number of Ahmadiyya mosque set on fire or damaged              : 21
Number of Ahmadiyya mosques forcibly occupied                      : 17
Number of Ahmadiyya mosques construction of which was
barred by authorities                                                                          : 53
Number of Ahmadiyya mosques sealed by authorities               : 32

Unbelievable – but true

No state that treats some of its citizens in this manner treads a path of bliss, felicity and peace. History has its own way of retribution and the consequences of past policies and actions are fairly visible even to the dense.

Ahmadiyya mosque handed over to opponents; missionary house sealed

Chak 2/TDA, District Khushab; March 2016:          The District Coordination Officer of District Khushab handed over the local Ahmadiyya mosque to an anti-Ahmadiyya group. This mosque was previously sealed by the administration on October 28, 2015.

Opponents of the Ahmadiyya community not only took control of the Ahmadiyya mosque but also occupied the adjacent missionary house. Ahmadis applied to the SHO of police station Mitha Tiwana to revert the missionary house to Ahmadis. The District Police Officer and Assistant Commissioner also came to the spot. A contingent of mullas was also present there. After an hour’s discussion the three officers decided to seal the missionary house instead of restoring it to Ahmadis.

A brief resume of the case is worth mentioning. On November 10, 2000 a violent mob led by mullah Athar Hussain Shah killed five Ahmadis and destroyed the Ahmadiyya mosque in Takht Hazara, District Sargodha. Instead of convicting Athar Shah, the riot leader, the judge sentenced four Ahmadis to five-year imprisonment. Later this mulla settled in Qaidabad, District Khushab. He continues to foment anti-Ahmadi agitation in his parish.

In October 2010 Shah got a petition registered in the sessions court Khushab that the Ahmadi mosque in Chak 2/TDA, District Khushab is a property of ‘Muslims’. It should be confiscated and handed over to Muslims. On November 29, 2012 the judge dismissed the petition and held that the complainant was not a local citizen, so his demand was baseless. He also accepted the Ahmadiyya claim to the mosque.

Shah challenged this decision in Lahore High Court. He said that a masjid could belong only to Muslims. As a matter of fact, Ahmadis had got the title changed from Masjid to Bait uz Zikr in revenue records. Despite recognizing the fact that the mosque was built in 1955 by Ahmadis and was in their possession since then, the court overruled the decision of the sessions court and decided in favour of the mulla. The High Court observed that a Masjid is of Muslims, and ordered the DCO to hear both the parties and give a decision.

The DCO Khushab, Mr. Zia-ur-Rehman is a brother of Maulvi Fazal-ur-Rehman of Jamiat Ulama Islam (F). He is biased against Ahmadis. He ordered a Tehsildar on September 23, 2015 to investigate and report.

The Tehsildar did not call any Ahmadi to hear the Ahmadiyya plea. He heard only the mulla’s party and compiled his report in favour of the ‘Muslims’. The DCO thereafter issued orders that the mosque and the living quarters of the Imam should be gotten vacated from the Ahmadis and the complex be handed over to Muslims.

Ahmadis hurriedly filed an appeal in the court of Additional Commissioner Revenue Sargodha against the DCO’s orders. The Commissioner issued a stay order on the matter and asked both parties to appear in his court on November 21, 2015.

On October 28, 2015 an Assistant Commissioner accompanied by policemen came to the village. He said that he had orders from the DCO to seal the mosque. Stay order was shown to him at which he consulted the DCO. The DCO asked him to seal the mosque anyway. The AC complied and sealed the Ahmadiyya mosque despite the stay order.

Now Ahmadis of the village have no place of worship as the mosque has been handed over to the opponent party and Ahmadiyya missionary house has also been sealed.

 Condemnable action of Sargodha Police

Sargodha, Punjab; July 28, 2016:     The police destroyed the Kalima and other sacred writings from the Ahmadiyya mosque in Chak No. 32 South of District Sargodha.

On July 27, the SHO, a sub-inspector and a few constables came to the village and told Ahmadis to remove the writings. Ahmadis refused to comply and told the police that they would not defile the sacred writings, however if the police did it, they are the servants of the rulers.

All the sacred writings in the worship place were inscribed on china plates. The police acquired a ladder and sent a man up to do the destruction. The policemen stated that they had been ordered by the DPO to do that.

Even before this date, the police had visited a number of times with intentions to do  the same ignoble task, but the village folk supported the Ahmadis and took the position that they had no objection to the writings. However, it is learnt that this time a delegation of mullas called on the DPO, and the careerist decided to do as demanded of him.

Obstruction in maintenance of a place of worship

Ghatialian Kalan, District Sialkot:    The Ahmadiyya mosque here needs extensive repairs and since long the work had been stopped in the face of opposition from the main stream clergy.

The wooden planks placed high above to facilitate construction of roofing years ago had nearly crumbled, so a prayer center was constructed in the vicinity. When earth was being deposited at the location, the police arrived accompanied by the objectors. The police ordered Ahmadis to stop the work and left a message that the president of the local Ahmadi community report to the police station.

It is learnt that a political figure intervened on behalf of the Ahmadis and told the police to calm down – and they did.

 Construction of an Ahmadiyya mosque barred by authorities

Chak 278-HR, District Bahalwalnagar:        Ahmadis were constructing their place of worship and house for missionary when some opponents of the village opposed it. Intelligent agencies came to the village and cleared it after inspection. Later the police told Ahmadis to stop the construction, on the pressure of the mullas.

 Ahmadis manage to save their mosque – a close shave

Daska; Punjab:          The mulla doesn’t tire of scheming against Ahmadis. He wants to exploit the anti-Ahmadi laws to the maximum, well beyond the purport of these laws. He succeeds often. But he failed in Daska, District Sialkot – thanks to the worthy judge.

One, Muhammad Bilal of Moti Masjid, Daska approached the SHO of P.S. City to register a criminal case against leaders of the local Ahmadi community for building minarets on the Ahmadiyya mosque. He demanded that the minarets be demolished.

After due inquiry the SHO did not entertain the request for registration of the FIR.

The petitioner was displeased and he approached the Additional Sessions Judge to order the SHO to register the case. In support of his plea against the Ahmadiyya structure he quoted Section 154 Cr. P.C; Art 4 of the Constitution, the anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298-C etc, unreasonably and without justification. Even PPC 298-C does not forbid Ahmadis to have minarets in their places of worship.

The petitioner went to the extent to claim that he ‘shall suffer an irreparable loss and injury’ if ‘a criminal case against the culprits’ was not registered. He demanded more; “It is further prayed that any other adequate relief which this Hon’ble Court may deem just, fit and proper may also be ordered.”

This posed a serious threat to the sanctity and security of the Ahmadiyya mosque. The community leaders therefore decided to confront the bigot head-on and decided to defend the SHO’s decision themselves in the court.

Ahmadis provided documentation in the court that the mosque had been built 70 years ago and they had added nothing to the structure.

The worthy judge dismissed the petition of the mulla.

It is appropriate to place on record the stress, worry, even mental torture that the Ahmadis had to go through for months when their sacred place of worship was gravely threatened by the extremist elements who wanted to achieve their ignoble ends with the help of the authorities and the judiciary. Ahmadis had to first deal with the police to convince them of the invalidity of the mullas’ demand; thereafter they had to face the petition in the court, for which they had to seek and hire legal aid. This went on for more than five months.

The minarets were saved, thanks to the police and judicial officials for their decency and fairness. They were saved for having been built 70 years ago. Had they been built recently, the story might have been different, although there is no such restriction in law, nor minarets are specific to Muslims’ architecture alone. Also, it is historically acknowledged that the first mosque of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) initially had no minarets, no dome.

Freedom of worship curbed in Lahore

Township; October 2016:      Ahmadis are facing a great deal of difficulty in gathering for worship at the local centre here. Some Pathans live nearby. They stop and harass Ahmadis from worship for the past two months. The worship place had to be closed for more than a month. Ahmadis resumed their worship there after a month, in small numbers. A few days ago caretaker of the worship place went out where a Pathan neighbour along with two others stopped him and said, “We will not let a church or temple exist here; Mirzais gather here, we will not let them to do so. Your unlawful activities will not be allowed here.” They also used foul language and threatened him. He returned to the worship centre avoiding confrontation.

Ahmadis informed the administration of this incident.

A complaint with police

Sargodha; August 11, 2016:              Encouraged by police support to opponents of Ahmadis, they filed an application with police in PS Satellite Town against 9 Ahmadi elders of Chak 46 North accusing Ahmadis of having built a niche and minarets in their place of worship.

In fact, the law forbids no such construction. PPC 298-B, as regards Ahmadiyya places of worship, only forbids calling them, a Masjid. Thus the plea is legally baseless and is nothing more than harassment of peaceful Ahmadis and an effort to deny them freedom of religion in collusion with authorities.

An Ahmadi delegation went to the police station to explain but the SHO was not available.

2015

Mosques under Attack; Worship Denied

 The state and the society did not relent this year as well in targeting Ahmadiyya places of worship. This is very hurtful to the religious sentiments of the community. The authorities refuse permission to Ahmadis to build mosques. They are quick to yield to mullas to destroy their minarets and niches. The judges look for an excuse to hand over Ahmadi mosques to their opponents. The bigots use force to occupy them and put them to torch. Samples of such enormities are available below. 

 Authorities demolish parts of Ahmadiyya mosque

Pachnand, District Chakwal; May 4, 2015:              A bailiff of the district court got razed the minarets and the arch (mehrab) of the local Ahmadiyya mosque. Four police vans arrived and blocked the streets leading to the mosque before the policemen and members of the Elite Force set off a one-and-a-half hour raid to demolish and defile the structures.

Policemen forced Ahmadis to vacate the worship place before razing the structures and told them to stay well clear when the grievous desecration was underway.

A court order had granted Ahmadis 10 days’ period for legal remedy prior to action by a bailiff. There were seven days still available to Ahmadis, but the bailiff was sent along with police to raze the minarets. The razing order was issued on May 3, a Sunday. This is indicative of the nature of state tyranny against this small marginalized segment of the society.

The mosque was constructed by Ahmadis on Ahmadis’ owned land in 1962, twenty-two years before the infamous anti-Ahmadi Ordinance XX was promulgated by dictator Zia-ul-Haq. It is relevant to mention that this ordinance nor any other law prohibits Ahmadis to have minarets on their places of worship.

While involved in this unholy operation, the police personnel roughed up copies of the Holy Quran and other religious texts present there, dropped them on floor and left them defiled on departure. The state operation violated Pakistan Penal Code 295 and 295-A in addition to Article 20 of the Constitution.

The SHO told the daily The Express Tribune that it was imperative to make Ahmadis vacate the spot to prevent any untoward incident. The procedure however requires that the complainant and the affected party should be present at the occasion.

The fact that the judge told the police on a weekend to undertake the gross demolition the very next day was proof that they were in cahoots with the complainant mulla in this abominable act.

The daily The Express Tribune reported the story on May 8 under the headline: Beleaguered denomination: Structure at worship place ‘looking like a mosque’ razed. Two photos of the damage and desecration are reproduced below:

 

 

Pachnand, District Chakwal is located in the province of the Punjab where Mian Shahbaz Sharif is the chief minister.

To date, since the promulgation of anti-Ahmadi laws in Pakistan, 27 Ahmadiyya mosques have been demolished, 32 sealed by authorities, 20 set on fire or damaged, 16 forcibly occupied and construction of 52 barred by authorities. This perhaps could find a place in Guinness World Records.

Ahmadiyya mosque sealed in Khushab

Chak 2/TDA, District Khushab; October 28, 2015:              On the orders of the District Coordination Officer, an Ahmadiyya mosque was sealed in this village of District Khushab.

On November 10, 2000 a violent mob led by mullah Athar Hussain Shah killed five Ahmadis and destroyed the Ahmadiyya mosque in Takht Hazara, District Sargodha. Instead of convicting Athar Shah, the riot leader, the judge sentenced four Ahmadis to five year imprisonment. Later this mulla settled in Qaidabad, District Khushab. He continues to foment anti-Ahmadi agitation in his parish.

In October 2010 Shah got a petition registered in the sessions court Khushab that the Ahmadi mosque in Chak 2/TDA, District Khushab is a property of ‘Muslims’. It should be confiscated and handed over to Muslims. On November 29, 2012 the judge dismissed the petition and held that complainant was not a local citizen, so his demand was baseless. He also accepted the Ahmadiyya claim to the mosque.

Shah challenged this decision in Lahore High Court. He said that a masjid could belong only to Muslims. As a matter of fact, Ahmadis had got the title changed from Masjid to Bait uz Zikr in revenue records. Despite recognizing the fact that the mosque was built in 1955 by Ahmadis and was in their possession since then, the court overruled the decision of the sessions court and decided in favour of the mulla. The High Court observed that a Masjid is of Muslims, and ordered the DCO to hear both the parties and give a decision.

The DCO Khushab, Mr. Zia-ur-Rehman is a brother of Maulvi Fazal-ur-Rehman of Jamiat Ulama Islam (F). He is biased against Ahmadis. He ordered a Tehsildar on September 23, 2015 to investigate and report.

The Tehsildar did not call any Ahmadi to hear the Ahmadiyya plea. He heard only the mulla’s party and compiled his report in favour of the ‘Muslims’. The DCO thereafter issued orders that the mosque and the living quarters of the Imam should be gotten vacated from the Ahmadis and the complex be handed over to Muslims.

Ahmadis hurriedly filed an appeal in the court of Additional Commissioner Revenue Sargodha against the DCO’s orders. The Commissioner issued a stay order on the matter and asked both parties to appear in his court on November 21, 2015.

On October 28, 2015 an Assistant Commissioner accompanied with policemen came to the village. He said that he had orders from the DCO to seal the mosque. Stay order was shown to him at which he consulted the DCO. The DCO asked him to seal the mosque anyway. The AC complied and sealed the Ahmadiyya mosque despite the stay order.

Now Ahmadis of the village have no place of worship.

Ahmadiyya mosque given to opponents

Goleki, District Gujrat; September 17, 2015:            Ahmadiyya mosque in Goleki was in Ahmadiyya custody and management since very long. In earlier times, when sectarian harmony and religious tolerance was the norm, non-Ahmadis would also occasionally come to this mosque to offer their prayers (Salat). The situation changed after Zia promulgated his infamous anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX.

Mulla Manzur Chinioti made repeated visits to Goleki and persuaded local non-Ahmadis to lay claim to the mosque. He successfully agitated the previously tolerant and peaceful villagers to pose a serious threat over the issue. They approached a magistrate and laid claim to the mosque. He ordered the mosque to be sealed. This happened in 1997.

Ahmadis took their case to the court. The case went on for years. Fifteen years later the court gave the verdict in Ahmadis’ favour and accepted their claim of ownership.

The police took the plea that ‘in view of threat to peace and law and order’, the mosque could not be handed over to Ahmadis; they would seek direction from their senior officers before de-sealing the mosque.

Later, opponents appealed to a higher court against the verdict. Three years later the Senior Civil Judge reversed the earlier decision. The mullas were overjoyed. “Muslims who heard the verdict were enraptured,” wrote Mulla Allah Wasaya in his op-ed in the daily Islam. They came leading a procession alongwith policemen, broke open the lock, entered the mosque, damaged some belongings and other items. The police were present in the mosque while this vandalism went on.

The Ahmadi community approached higher police officials in Gujrat and pointed out to them that the court had not yet authorized de-sealing of the mosque. Ahmadis intended to appeal against the decision. In view of the agitation, restoration of peace should be assured, they pleaded.

The police were thereafter directed by its superiors to restore the earlier status till the legal situation is finally settled.

The mosque remains sealed.

In a nutshell, the majority here enforces an unjust law in violation of constitutional guarantees; it then threatens law and order to impose its will; the police yields readily to the majority’s vile demands; the judges cater for the crowd in the gallery – net result: the marginalised sect is deprived of a place to worship, for years, decades. “Ahmadis will not get their mosque back,” opined one of their elders.

Kalima erased in Qutba Jora

Qutba Jora, District Kasur; September 14, 2015:     A non-Ahmadi lawyer named Salahuddin submitted an application to the DSP Circle that three Ahmadis, namely Amanullah Sial, Ziaullah Sial and Mujibullah Sial of Qutba Jora, District Kasur are Qadianis and were busy day and night in the propagation of Qadianiyat. The said lawyer also asked the authorities to demolish the minarets of the Ahmadiyya mosque and remove the Quranic verses from the Ahmadi homes and shops in the area. A delegation of the Jamaat, therefore, met the DSP who assured the delegation that he would not allow anyone act against the Jamaat.

However, on September 14, 2015 five policemen along with some men in plain clothes came up to the shop of Amanullah Sial situated at Adda Noorpur and removed Quranic verses from the shutter of his shop. Later, the police and the men went to the Ahmadiyya mosque and demolished the small minarets built over the entrance of the mosque. The said policemen and the plain-clothed men then went up to the house of Amanullah Sial and removed with axes and chisel the Kalima written on the water tank and the front of the house. They took away the broken pieces of the water tank and the front with them to the police station.

Ahmadiyya community land misappropriated

Qayampur Virkan, District Gujranwala; March 14, 2015:              Before 1974, father of Hafiz Jari Ahmad, an Ahmadi, allotted four acres of land for a mosque here. The mosque was shared by Ahmadis and the Ahle-Sunnat. After the 2nd Amendment to the constitution in 1974, Ahmadis were told to build their own separate mosque. The four acre land was divided evenly by mutual consent.

A miscreant, Waqas Ahmad started harassing members of the Ahmadiyya community. He invited mullas from elsewhere and held open-air meetings against the Ahmadiyya community. He distributed hate literature and anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlets in the village. On the morning of March 14, 2015 Ahmad illegally occupied the 2 acre of the community’s share of land.

 

Attack on Ahmadiyya mosque

Taunsa Sharif, District DG Khan; July 11, 2015:    Two unidentified armed men attacked the local Ahmadiyya mosque at the time of morning prayers. At the time Ahmadis were coming to the mosque, approximately 10 Ahmadis were inside the mosque, and the gate was closed from inside for security reasons. A policeman and an Ahmadi were on security duty outside the mosque. The assailants opened fire at both of them. The Ahmadi remained safe while three shots hit the policeman. A month later an Ahmadi, a witness at the occasion, was murdered. Details are provided in Chapter 4.

Attempt to burn an Ahmadiyya mosque

Attock; January 2015:                       On the night of Eid Milad-un-Nabi at around 2:30 a.m. a miscreant set fire to the wooden door of a shop next to the Ahmadiyya mosque and also tried to set on fire the adjacent clinic of an Ahmadi doctor, Hameed Ahmad. On timely arrival of the watchman, rescue services were informed and the fire was extinguished.

Two days later, on January 06, 2015 the same miscreant again lit fire to that shop but was caught and handed over to the police by the watchman. The evil-doer said to the watchman, “This is a worship center of Qadianis and I have to burn it. I lit the fire the other day and you extinguished it. Today you have caught me; that is very bad of you.”

The police detained the miscreant and charged him under an anti-terrorism law.

 

Police made to search Ahmadiyya prayer center

Wahdat Colony, Lahore; March 7, 2015:                 The police arrived at the local prayer center on March 7, 2015 and knocked at the door, at which the local missionary came out. The police told him that they had received a call that suspicious activities were underway in this prayer center and it should be searched. They wanted some information from him. Meanwhile a person came there on a motorbike and pressurized the police by saying; “Do it right now” (search the center). The police officer calmed him and took him away. Some women also met the policemen in the street. A few other men moved about suspiciously in the vicinity. Thereafter the police departed. It was learnt later that some neighbors were involved in the conspiracy and two men of the neighborhood had asked the police to raid the place.

Ahmadis later contacted the administration and conveyed them their concern.

 Difficulties in worship

Tatle Aali, District Gujranwala; October 2015:        Opponents of the Ahmadiyya community lodged an application with the police against the local Ahmadis and named three Ahmadis specifically, Mr. Yaqoob Ahmad, Mr. Sabir Ahmad, and Mr. Awais Ahmad. They accused Ahmadis of using a house as worship centre. “According to the law they are non-Muslims, so they cannot follow rituals and practices of Islam,” they wrote. According to the complainant there was a risk that a Muslim would thereby get deceived and become a Qadiani. “Ahmadis should be stopped from activities which are against law and anti-Islam,” they demanded.

In fact, Ahmadis started building their mosque in 2004 which was blocked by the opponents and the authorities. To avoid its sealing Ahmadis converted it to a house for the local missionary and gave an undertaking that they would not use this house as a worship-place.

An Ahmadiyya delegation met the police authorities and informed them that they were abiding by their undertaking and did not use the house as place for worship.

Ahmadiyya centres on terrorists hit-list

Ahmadis have learnt from reliable sources that terrorists plan to hit Ahmadi personnel and centres in Rabwah, Lahore and Rawalpindi. The authorities know about this and were advised by agencies to take appropriate action to ensure security in this regard.

It appears that the logic behind such plans is the same as that in Peshawar school attack and bomb explosion in Shikarpur Imambargah.

Ahmadiyya community itself took whatever action was possible to prevent such an attack. The risk however is considerable, and it is cause for concern and anxiety.

Ahmadiyya mosque occupied in Jhelum

Kala Gujran, District Jhelum; November 21, 2015:                         Miscreants attacked an Ahmadi mosque here. They damaged the furnishings, took them out in the street, and set them on fire. After this, the bigots washed the mosque, a mulla called the Azaan, and they offered Asar prayer in the mosque.

 

Handu Gujjar, Lahore; September 14, 2015:                       A man was seen doing photography and videography of the local Ahmadiyya mosque. When pursued he fled from the scene.

 Attempt to defy court’s order

Gulshan Ravi, Lahore; March 2015:            The Ahmadiyya prayer centre here was sealed by the police, and the case is sub-judice. A lawyer, Shehzad had obtained stay order from the court on this case. Later Shehzad wrote a rental agreement for a person named Usman and tried to settle him in the centre, on rent. Shehzad broke into the centre and placed Usman’s luggage therein. Ahmadis informed the police and the SHO called upon both the parties to the police station. The SHO warned both parties that they would not enter the premises of the property and no one would take any luggage inside or outside the house. He warned that whosoever tried to trespass would be prosecuted. SHO allowed Ahmadis to appoint a watchman at the property.

Continued denial of this prayer centre to Ahmadis is noteworthy. Where should Ahmadis go to worship?

A suspicious visitor

Altaf Park, Lahore; March 15, 2015:            An unknown person came to the gate of the Ahmadiyya mosque here in the evening. The mosque was closed, however an Ahmadi youth was standing outside. The Ahmadi asked the stranger the reason of his visit, to which he replied, “I want to get your community’s card that would facilitate entry in your mosques.” When asked the reason, he replied, “I want information about the community; please arrange my meeting with your missionary.” The Ahmadi youth told him that he had been wrongly guided by someone; no cards were made there and no missionary resided there. At this the simpleton departed.