NGO’s and Foreign Reports-2015

NGO’s and Foreign reports

2015

 

USCIRF annual report on Ahmadis’ situation in Pakistan

Washington:   The USCIRF issued its Annual Report 2015. It has a chapter on Pakistan.

In its Key Findings section the report mentions: “… However, despite these efforts, Pakistan continued to experience chronic sectarian violence targeting Shi’a Muslims, Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, and Hindus. Despite positive rulings by the Supreme Court, the government failed to provide adequate protection to targeted groups or to prosecute perpetrators and those calling for violence. Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws and anti-Ahmadi laws continue to violate religious freedoms and foster a climate of impunity.”

In sub-section titled Targeted Sectarian Violence the report mentions:

The Pakistani government failure to effectively intervene against violence targeting the Shia minority community, as well as against Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis, continued during the reporting period.

Its sub-section titled Ahmadis contains the following:

During 2014, individual Ahmadis continued to be murdered in religiously motivated attacks. In May 2014, a Canadian American Ahmadi doctor visiting Pakistan to do relief work was murdered in front of his family. In July, three Ahmadis – a grandmother and her two grandchildren – were killed in an arson attack by a mob. In December, a major Pakistani television station aired an interview with religious scholars who referred to Ahmadis as ‘enemies’. Days later, an Ahmadi was murdered; the community suspects motivation from the television broadcast. (See more about the unique legal repression of Ahmadis below). In addition, local police repeatedly forced Ahmadis to remove Qur’anic scripture from mosques and minarets.

And another sub-section:

Legal Restrictions on Ahmadis

Ahmadis are subject to severe legal restrictions, both in the constitution and criminal code, and suffer from officially sanctioned discrimination. 2014 was the 40th anniversary of Pakistan’s second amendment, which amended the constitution to declare Ahmadis to be “non-Muslim”. Other discriminatory penal code provisions make basic acts of Ahmadi worship and interaction criminal offenses. They also are prevented from voting.

The last section is Recommendations. It makes numerous recommendations to the US Government; two of these mention Ahmadis specifically:

  • Urge the Pakistani government and provincial governments to review all cases of individuals charged with blasphemy in order to release those subjected to abusive charges, as is underway in Punjab, while still also calling for the unconditional release and pardoning of all individuals sentenced to prison for blasphemy or for violating anti-Ahmadi law.
  • Call for the repeal of the blasphemy law and the rescinding of anti-Ahmadi provisions of law; until those steps can be accomplished, urge the Pakistani government to reform the blasphemy law by making blasphemy a bailable offense and/or by adding penalties for false accusations or enforcing such penalties found elsewhere in the penal code.

Khatme Nabuwwat organizations, Jihadis and terrorists share the same patrons

Washington:   This story is based on a report in a book titled PAKISTAN’S COUNTERTERRORISM CHALLENGE published by the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC. The book is edited by Moeed Yusaf and contains high quality research articles contributed by eminent scholars from Pakistan as well as abroad. Maulana Ahmad Sheraj (sic), a Khatme Nabuwwat activist and operative is mentioned therein in Chapter: Choking Financing for Militants in Pakistan. The text deserves attention and comment. The essayist mentions in the sub-section International Sources:

“The Pakistani madrassas and religious parties remain in contact with the scholars, who keep them on the list of the deserving and distribute the Zakat money among them. Scholars from these countries either visit these countries such as Pakistan themselves or send their representatives to investigate who is the most deserving of Zakat. Maulana Ahmad Sheraj, for example, a Pakistan-born religious scholar settled in Kuwait, visited Pakistan in September 2004. A religious scholar from Peshawar claims that Sheraj had brought with him Zakat money for Pakistani madrassas and organizations. Jihadi sources say an administration of leading madrassas, jihadi organizations, and religious parties sought to arrange meetings with Sheraj.

Militant groups and religious seminaries also send their representatives abroad to raise funds, especially in the month of Ramadan. They send their designated members not only to Gulf states but also to Africa and Europe …” p.159 of the First South Asia edition, 2014 of Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Challenge

Mulla Ahmad Ali Siraj of Kuwait, mentioned above is a regular visitor to Pakistan. He operates in Pakistan as the Secretary General of International Khatme Nabuwwat (End of Prophethood) Movement (IKNM) in league with mulla Abdul Hafeez Makki (of Makka, Saudi Arabia) who is its Amir. This organization is a sister organization of the purely Pakistani Aalami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat (AMTKN). It was explained through vernacular press that these two organizations are in fact only named differently for the purpose of administration (read funding).

Extremist mullas from other organizations, including the banned one, are routinely invited to speak from the platform of Siraj Kuwaiti’s IKNM. Some of the speakers come from religious organizations that are tolerated, even supported by the government. Other invitees are those who are unabashedly sectarian and entertain foreign loyalties and prejudices. All these get together to promote a common agenda (End of Prophethood dogma is only the façade) and avail funds doled out by Al-Kuwaiti and Makki.

Vernacular press in Pakistan mentions Siraj Kuwaiti’s regular visits to Pakistan. He was in Pakistan in January and February this year (2015) and attended a Khatme Nabuwwat conference, a Khatme Nabuwwat course and a similar Ahrar Conference held in Ahmadiyya town of Rabwah on January 4, 2015. The daily Pakistan of January 16, 2015 mentioned in its report that therein a mulla Syed Kafil Bokhari said: The imperialist America and its allies have crossed the limit of transgression against Muslims; the Qadiani group is part of them attacking the beliefs of Muslims.

Thereafter, on February 26, 2015 a conference was held in Lahore which was presided over by mulla Ilyas Chinioti (MPA of PML-N) who thundered, “They (Ahmadis) must give up their faith and become Muslims or face consequences.”  Ameer Hamza, a ferocious mulla said, “One of the reasons why they (Jihadists) wanted to wage Jihad against India was to demolish the graves of Ahmadi leaders in Qadian,” reported The Express Tribune. On that occasion also spoke Justice ® Nazir Akhtar who is the defense counsel of Mumtaz Qadri, in whose defense Akhtar insisted before the Supreme Court that “his client had no option but to kill Governor Taseer as a right and duty assigned by Sharia.” This conference was organized by Siraj Kuwaiti’s IKNM and was addressed by him and Hafeez Makki. That discloses the prime-movers and financiers of this event which unabashedly promoted hate and violence at a choice location in Lahore, the provincial capital.

A similar Khatme Nabuwwat Conference was also held in Chiniot, next to Rabwah. Last year also, these two foreign-based VIP mullas visited Chiniot and Rabwah and were shown the seminary, the head office, the mosque etc (apparently to show that the petro-dollars were being well-spent). At night these guests were feted at a ‘sumptuous dinner’. It was said in Chiniot that “Qadianiyyat is a major cancer; the entire ummah will have to make a joint effort to crush this mischief.” The daily Pakistan 27.2.2014

Two weeks later Ahmad Ali Siraj attended and addressed a clerics’ conference in Lahore. The daily Jang of March 10, 2014 reported this rally with the following 3-column headline:

“The US is promoting sectarianism. To crush Qadianiyat is the responsibility of the entire Ummah: Ulama Karam.” Hafiz Hussain Ahmad said that the U.S. was not spending thousands but millions of dollars to carry out terrorism in Pakistan.

The daily Mashriq, Lahore reported on January 17, 2014. “Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s (JUI-F) meeting with Maulana Abdul Hafeez Makki the Chief Amir of International Khatme Nabuwwat Movement, in Makka”. The question arises: For what?

It is also relevant to mention that Ahmad Siraj was present in a Khatme Nabuwwat conference held in Cape Town, South Africa in December 2013. This event was attended by a contingent of mullas from Pakistan and India, and the three day get-together was organized jointly by the local Muslim Judicial Council and Siraj’s IKNM. Those who attended included mullas like Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianwi (of ASWJ of Pakistan, formerly SSP, banned for terrorism).

Activities of mullas Siraj Kuwaiti and Hafeez Makki warrant constant scrutiny under the National Action Plan.

Minister says Saudi funds destabilized country

The daily Dawn, Lahore published the following news with the above title in its issue of January 21, 2015 (extracts):

ISLAMABAD:   A member of the federal cabinet caused a small uproar on Tuesday when he stated publically that Saudi money had a destructive effect on Pakistan and that the promotion of ideology of Wahabism had destabilized the country.

Riaz Ahmad Peerzada, who is Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC), minced no words during his talk at the Jinnah Institute’s Ideals Conclave 2015 and also took his own party to task.

…when asked by a reporter to repeat his remarks regarding the Saudi influence in Pakistan, he got riled up and said, “You know very well where the funding comes from. Why do you need me to say it?”

HRCP alarmed by Pak opposition to UN resolution for rights defenders

Lahore, December 1, 2015: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed its alarm and serious dismay over Pakistan voting last week against a United Nations General Assembly resolution that called for recognizing the role of human rights defenders (HRDs) and the need for their protection.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Commission said: “HRCP welcomes the passing of the UN General Assembly resolution, titled ‘Recognizing the role of human rights defenders and the need for their protection’, by 117 votes on November 25. It is unfortunate that the resolution had to be put to vote this year and could not be adopted by consensus as had been the norm in the past.

“At the same time, HRCP must express alarm and great disappointment that Pakistan chose to be one of the 14 nations that voted against the resolution.

“It is ominous that all 14 countries opposing the resolution are from the Afro-Asian region, as is the predominant majority of the 40 states that abstained from voting. The HRDs in the region work in such perilous circumstances that the hope was for the states to be more enthusiastic about protecting them and facilitating their work. It seems that the rights defenders are going to have a rough time in Asia and Africa in the coming days.

“While regretting Pakistan’s decision to oppose the resolution, the civil society is entitled to ask what rights defenders have done to deserve this step-motherly treatment. It is unfortunate that the government wishes to see civil society as an adversary. The civil society cannot, and must not, surrender its role as a watchdog for people’s rights because that constitutes an entitlement, by virtue of citizens’ social contract with the state, and not as a concession.

“HRCP also stresses people’s right to know through an explanation in parliament the reason why the government chose to deny the need for protection for HRDs, who include, besides human rights groups, journalists, lawyers, political and social activists.”

Zohra Yusuf

Chairperson

USCIRF condemns attack on Ahmadis in Pakistan

Washington: The USCIRF issued the following for IMMEDIATE RELEASE on November 30, 2015:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the heinous attack on an Ahmadi Muslim factory and mosque on November 21 and 22 in the Jhelum district located in the Punjab province.

USCIRF strongly condemns this attack against the Ahmadi Muslim community and is saddened by reports that people are fleeing their homes in fear for their lives,” said USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George. “While the Pakistani government reportedly has dispatched the army to restore peace and detained more than 40 suspects, the government needs to do much more to stem the climate of impunity that pervades Pakistan. To these ends and as a first step, the government should provide protection to the Ahmadi community and denounce language clerics use that incites hatred and violence.

The attacks on the factory and mosque reportedly occurred when an Ahmadi factory worker was accused of desecrating the Qur’an, an act that under Pakistani law is considered blasphemous and punishable by death (sic). A mob of several hundred people reportedly destroyed the factory by setting it ablaze. Additional reports indicate that inflammatory speech by religious clerics incited the additional violence that lead to the mosque attack.

http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases/pakistan-uscirf-condemns-attack-ahmadis

Minorities’ rights: HRCP meeting on Ahmadis

Karachi: The Express Tribune published the following story under the above heading on October 5, 2015:

KARACHI: The state is not a silent spectator, but an active participant in the persecution of Ahmadis, accused members of the Ahmadi community at a meeting organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The meeting was titled, ‘Ahmadi Citizens: dealing with discrimination, exclusion’ and was held at the Regent Plaza on Sunday.

“The persecution, these days, has taken a new trend as door-to-door conversions of people belonging to the faith are taking place where a cleric accompanies the area’s representatives  and threats are meted out to people who refuse to give in to their demands,” claimed one participant.

There has been a change of attitude – what is seen as a change in the strategy of religious parties. “Previously, there used to be an abundance of court notices against us,” said Mujeebur Rehman, a member of the community and a lawyer by profession. “Now, these people pressurise the administration, whereupon the police do not protect us but are themselves in denial,” he claimed. “Even in court cases, bails are not granted as previously the clerics made a hue and cry after a decision of the high court and the order was reversed.” The worst that can happen to any community is when the doors of justice are closed to them, he said.

“The tolerance level among madrassah teachers is four per cent, as compared to the students which is 13 per cent. In Urdu medium schools, the tolerance among teachers is 17 per cent while among students, it is 47 per cent,” he said, referring to a book, titled ‘Study of Education, Inequality and Polarisation in Pakistan.’ According to Rehman, the discrepancy in these statistics lies because of the legal sanctions in place against Ahmadis. “It also shows that madrassa students are greatly affected. Work needs to be done on madrassa curriculum,” he said.

“The condition is not as grave in Sindh as we see in Punjab,” said another member of the community.  Shahid Ataullah, another representative and an engineer by profession, remarked that this is also true because Punjab has a larger population of Ahmadis as compared to the rest of the country, but the state is indeed under pressure from clerics. “The general public is made to believe that we are traitors and are not reliable,” said Ataullah. “This paves the way to greater problems, which are escalating through individuals in the form of blasphemy charges,” said Ataullah.

Members of the community also narrated how three-day Qadyani courses were introduced that issued directives of killing them. Cursing Ahmadis within the premises of a mosque, as it doesn’t violate the sanctity of the mosque, is also part of these courses, said a member. Other than this, passport and CNIC issuance is yet another serious problem as the very mention of the word, Ahmadi, damages their case.

With regards to problems in the educational fraternity, Rehman said that Ahmadi children are discriminated against, despite scoring high in examinations, as faith has to be declared in admission forms. “We had to withdraw from the matric board and get affiliated with the Aga Khan Board. But children who are not part of the Rabwah [the official community group] continue to face problems,” he said. Ataullah pointed out how online applications for colleges only provide the option of Muslim and Non-Muslim. “An affidavit is then required to be produced in hard copy to prove your faith. This causes psychological problems among our kids,” he said.

The community is also of the belief that the removal of objectives resolution and discriminatory clauses from the Constitution are key measures that can end the marginalisation of the Ahmadi community.