11- Ban on Sports

Ban on sports

Sports are a favorite recreational activity with Ahmadi youth. The community encourages them to undertake sports in their free time. The mulla, in his holistic anti-Ahmadiyya plan, has decided to deprive them of even that. Compliant and supportive officials team up with him and violate this most basic of human rights.

No major sports events are allowed in Rabwah. Annual events like Nasir Basketball Tournament, Tahir Kabaddi Tournament and competitions in the local Rowing Club remain forbidden. Rallies and conventions of even women and children are banned.

2015

No major sports tournaments etc. could be organised this year as well, in view of the past experience.

 

2012

No major sports tournaments etc. could be organised this year as well, in view of the past experience.

2011

No major sports tournaments etc. could be organised this year as well in view of the past experience. 

2008

Fundamental rights made subservient to administrative and political exigencies

Rabwah: Here is yet another case of how expedient politics and administration in Pakistan encourage clerics to gain power and clout that give rise eventually to monstrous situations like that of the Red Mosque of Islamabad.

Pakistan Amateur Basketball Federation announced holding an Under-19 Junior National Championship at Rabwah (Chenab Nagar) on 26 – 28 April, 2008. Teams from all the four provinces of the country, FATA and Azad Kashmir were expected to participate. Programming and conduct of this tournament was the responsibility of the Federation. There is some history behind this tournament, in that Rabwah has produced a number of well-known basketball players in the past, and the town is known by this identity as well.

Ninety-nine percent of the residents of Rabwah are Ahmadis, yet mullas of the Khatme Nabuwwat (End of Prophethood) faction, representing an insignificant minority here, objected to the holding of the sports fixture. The administration that beats the drum of human rights decided to do the mulla’s bid when it faced protest from a few mullas (10 or 12, according to the intelligence reports) and saw a few statements in the vernacular press. The jittery Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) sent for the officials of the Ahmadiyya community as a party. He was told that: The community is not directly related to the tournament; the said Federation has arranged it. The players shall be our guests at Rabwah and we are simply their hosts here.

However, the DSP Chenab Nagar had already decided conveniently (evidently in consultation with his superiors) to placate the mulla by trampling upon the civil rights of 99% of Rabwah’s population, who are Ahmadis. He proceeded to issue his ‘Circular’ based on a fabrication. He stated therein that in pursuance of the ‘agreement between the Ulama and the Ahmadiyya Jamaat’, it is decided not to hold the tournament as per previous practice.

Ahmadis protested against this Circular to the DSP Chenab Nagar Circle, and pointed to the mis-statement therein. “Ahmadiyya Community had made no agreement with mullas. The tournament had been scheduled by the Federation and the teams are associated with it. If you want to disallow the tournament, ask the Federation not to hold it. However, if you want to forbid us to play host or not offer our grounds, you should order us in writing,” conveyed the community officials.

In view of the above, the DSP issued a fresh circular on April 25 stating, “You are requested, in view of the prevailing law and order situation, not to allow the tournament on the grounds of Chenab Nagar and ask the Federation to hold the tournament elsewhere. In order to ensure strict surveillance, duty personnel are being posted at the grounds.”

The Federation officials also met the DSP on their own, and told him that this sports tournament was not a religious event and the players’ faith was not at risk as suggested by the mulla. However, the DSP decided to go along with the clerics. In pursuance of the administration orders, the Federation decided to postpone the tournament. A few teams that had already arrived were well-received by locals, but they had to go back without playing.

It is also worth a mention that even after the administration had assured the mullas that the tournament will be disallowed, they went ahead with their protest congregation at the Jame Masjid at the local railway station on April 25, 2008. They lashed out there at the Ahmadiyya community and the administration. They spared the short-sighted political potentates – for the time being.

Discriminatory treatment of Ahmadis by the administration on behest of clerics has gone on for decades, but one should ask a few questions from the establishment and the civil society of Pakistan:

1.             Whether Ahmadi citizens of Pakistan have any fundamental rights? On what basis have they been deprived of playing host to the visiting sports teams?

2.             This deprivation was through an official order that was based on a false and fabricated assumption. How come?

3.             A basket ball team has only ten members. The DSP accepted it as a ‘law and order problem’ simply because a few mullas objected to it. However, despite this unjustifiable ban, the mulla still agitated his flock against the Ahmadiyya community. Do the 99% Ahmadiyya population of this town have no sentiments? The DSP was presented to get intimidated by the few mullas; but he was encouraged to send a police force to the empty playing fields. Is that how good administrations go about their functions?

For how long the administration will remain in league with the mulla and stay proactive in denying fundamental rights to thousands of Ahmadi residents of Rabwah? One should not forget that for many years since Pakistan came into being, federations have been holding basketball tournaments in Rabwah (Chenab Nagar). This town produced a number of renowned basketball players; some of these represented this country on many occasions, and there was never a complaint about any sectarian problem from any team or the Federation. Now, this sport is banned on baseless accusation of clerics who have given it a religious colour in bad faith.

This incident is indicative of the discriminatory treatment meted out to the residents of Rabwah by the administration who finds it convenient to play subservient to unscrupulous clerics. The mulla had a big laugh, and felt encouraged to take on the state and society on some bigger issue at some future date.

The incident is particularly noteworthy as it was the first one of its kind in the initial days of the new democratic dispensation. An elected government is in place at Lahore and Islamabad.

2014

No major sports tournaments etc. could be organised this year as well, in view of the past experience.

2013

No major sports tournaments etc. could be organised this year as well, in view of the past experience.