Mullah and police co-ordinate outrage in Rabwah
Rabwah: The mullah had been making persistent efforts in the first few weeks of the year 2003 to precipitate some incident at Rabwah. The police, perhaps unwittingly, but deliberately became a willing tool in the hands of clerics to mount an unjustified and cruel punch on the Ahmadi population of Rabwah. The two got their act together to register a criminal case under the anti-Ahmadiyya law against an Ahmadi shopkeeper. It caused more than a wave of concern among the citizens of Rabwah.
Mr. Nazir Ahmad, Ahmadi, owns a shop Ahmadiyya Glass Store at Aqsa Road, where he also undertakes manufacture of frames for photos and pictures. He had displayed there a large size photo of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. On March 12, 2003 at about 1730 the Officer Incharge of the local police post visited the Store accompanied by Mullah Allah Yar Arshad, the station chief of anti-Ahmadiyya activities, and three constables. The police took away the photo and registered a criminal case F.I.R. 50/2003 at the complaint of the mullah, under the anti-Ahmadiyya sections PPC 298B and 298C. Under these laws the Ahmadi accused could be imprisoned for three years and made to pay a fine.
Another fabricated case against five Ahmadis at Rabwah
Rabwah; January 12, 2003: On the accusation of a non-Ahmadi, the police registered a criminal case against five Ahmadi youth under PPC 342 and PPC 355 in FIR No 9/2003 at Police Station Rabwah. The accused are liable to two years’ imprisonment. They were falsely charged of assault and wrongful confinement.
The truth is otherwise. Residents of Rabwah have suffered in the past thefts, armed robberies and even murders committed by anti-social elements and criminals. Therefore, in consultation with the police, the local community had organized a volunteer task group to promote security, on the basis of self-help. This arrangement had the desired result in reduction of crime. On January 9, these volunteers, while on a mobile patrol, came across a person whose movements were rather suspicious. The guards asked him about his identity. The man took offense to the questioning and proceeded to get hold of a stick as if to fight with. The volunteers retreated. A few days later, the police registered a criminal case against five Ahmadis although the guards had not even touched the complainant.
Subsequently, the police detained one of the accused on February 5, and the other four on February 18.
This case was part of the multifarious plan of the mullahs to disturb peace in Rabwah. The administration and the police become willing tools in their hands in anti-Ahmadiyya moves.
Prosecution en masse
Sixty-eight Ahmadis of Rabwah are facing different charges in 84 cases at courts in nearby Chiniot. Most of them have to present themselves there regularly every month. Normally, no proceedings take place, but they have to face the fabricated cases and bad laws.
Unfolding of a conspiracy
Rabwah: During December 2002 Mullah Allah Yar Arshad, the local station-manager of mischief at Rabwah, precipitated four incidents in quick succession. First he intercepted and insulted an Ahmadi youth on December 19. The next day, he manhandled a teen-ager in the forenoon. The mullah subjected another lad to physical injury later in the day. In the evening the mullah accompanied by a few gangsters from nearby town of Chiniot was seen probing near an Ahmadi’s residence. These gangsters are known to be implicated in anti-Ahmadiyya criminal activities. The following day on December 21, some people vandalized an Ahmadiyya graveyard from the adjacent Bokhari mosque where this mullah is the prayer-leader. Ahmadiyya Community was quick to sense that some conspiracy was in the offing whereby mullahs were making deliberate efforts to precipitate something at Rabwah, that would give them an excuse to launch some ugly movement all over the country.
Ahmadis’ concern was not misplaced. The mullahs in local mosques at Rabwah further raised the level of slander and abuse in their sermons. One after another, they precipitated incidents and tried to blow them out of proportion. Ahmadis made deliberate efforts to minimize the likely damage. In one of the Friday sermons, the entire Ahmadiyya population of Rabwah was advised by the Ahmadi Imam to remain on guard against any provocation from the clerics and their associates, and not to repay vulgarity and provocation in the same coin. Mullahs however fanned the fire of discord and tried to impose their will on the local and higher administration. They succeeded in getting two criminal cases registered against a dozen Ahmadis on fabricated grounds.
In their Friday sermons of January 17, various mullahs used very derogatory language against Ahmadis and their leadership. One of these rabble-rousers had come all the way from Sargodha for this occasion. This mullah threatened a countrywide movement. The authorities responded by registration of cases against Ahmadis, hoping that thereby the mullah will perhaps calm down. Mullah Manzur Chinioti, the Secretary General of the International Khatame Nabuwwat Movement also jumped into the bandwagon. In a press statement (the daily JANG, Lahore; January 22, 2003) he made the ridiculous accusation that Ahmadis had attempted abduction and murder of Maulana Ghulam Mustafa. He asserted that abduction of Muslims by Qadianis is a Jewish conspiracy. He threatened to launch a movement in which Qadianis would find it difficult to protect their lives. The Urdu press provided the required media support. The daily JANG of January 19, 2003 reported that the International Majlis Tahaffuz Khatame Nabuwwat had issued a countrywide call to agitate against the excesses of Qadianis. It reported that Mullah Toofani had summoned an emergency press conference wherein he accused Mr Hameedullah Qureshi, an Ahmadi and a retired DSP, that he gets hold of every Muslim who protests against his illegal activities and locks him up in his private torture cell. It is amazing that these newspapers that enjoy large circulation indulge in major disinformation against Ahmadis.
It appears that some higher considerations made the mullah subsequently postpone his plans for the great agitation – for the time being.
Slander from a mosque
Leading mullahs of the anti-Ahmadiyya lobby at Rabwah and Chiniot assembled on May 30, 2003 in the Nurul-Islam mosque of Golbazar, Rabwah, and blared profuse slander, vulgarity and false allegations against Ahmadis, from this central location. Mullah Manzoor Chinioti, Shabbir Usmani and Allah Yar Arshad led this attack in profanity. They went on for hours. The police knew about their program, and had taken up positions at the Bus Stand and the Town Office building. The administration and the police did not charge this gang of mullahs for violating the law PPC 295A and 298 of which they were repeatedly guilty.
Ahmadi officials had forewarned the district and provincial administration of the mullahs’ plan, however, the authorities took no effective steps to restrict the mullahs to stay within the norms of decency and propriety.
Rabwah situation in August
This headquarters town of the Ahmadiyya Community remained in the cross wire of fundamentalist clerics and their sponsors. There was firm evidence of fresh planning for some ugly incident at Rabwah. A letter to that effect was written by the Central Office of the Community to the concerned police authority. Its copy was sent to the President and all the relevant ministers and officials of the province and the federation. English translation of this letter is placed here.
It is noteworthy that in addition to the surveillance and preparatory actions of the extremists, the local mullahs openly mixed politics with religion in their Friday sermons and made no secret of their intentions to achieve political goals through religion. During the month of August they not only repeated their slander and extremely provocative diatribes against Ahmadi holy personalities, they addressed directly the President and the Prime Minister on political issues. A few brief extracts from their speeches are given below:
Mullah Ghulam Mustafa said the following in his sermon of July 4 at the Muslim Colony mosque:
– Musharaf is an enemy of Islam and Pakistan.
– Pervez Musharaf has the same intentions as General Zia who died an ignoble death – Musharraf will meet the same end.
– If Musharraf and Jamali do not restrain themselves…………there will be no Musharraf, and no Jamali. They are agents of Israel. They are traitors of the country and enemies of Islam.
– Musharraf goes on foreign visits – to America, to France, to Germany and elsewhere. He, in fact, operates with the backing of white-skinned English (sic). The Americans say: Maulvis are fundamentalists. Well, OK; we are fundamentalists – we have a foundation, but the Americans, they have no foundation. Every child (there) has eighteen to twenty fathers (sic). What foundation do they have?
– If MMA gives a call, we shall take out processions against the government all over the country – in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and elsewhere – even here. Will you join us? (The congregation said: YES).
Mullah Allah Yar Arshad of Bokhari Mosque and Mullah Shabbir Usmani of the Muhammadiyya Mosque (at Rabwah railway station) used the same kind of language. Ahmadis sent a more detailed report to all the relevant authorities.
In the month of September there was a major conference at Rabwah of anti-Ahmadiyya mullahs. They made highly slanderous and provocative speeches at the occasion. Then, in less than a month, on 2, 3 October 2003 there was another major conference at Muslim Colony, Rabwah. It was attended by senior members of the MMA, including Maulvi Fazlur Rahman. What they say is amazing; it makes interesting reading for any body, but very hurtful for Ahmadis. They openly advocate mass murder of Ahmadis and destruction of Rabwah. The authorities get full information reports, but take no action against such calls to a civil war. Leave alone action against these standard-bearers of extremism and sectarianism, authorities join them in persecution of Ahmadis through implicating them in criminal cases of religious nature. A case under PPC 298C was registered against an Ahmadi on September 11, 2003 and another under the same clause against another Ahmadi on November 17, 2003, thus exposing them to three years of imprisonment each. The authorities also proceeded to seal an Ahmadiyya mosque at Ahmad Nagar, a village close to Rabwah. There is indeed no limit to the enormity committed by this alliance of the mullah and the establishment.
Further provocation by the mulla
Rabwah: It appears that mullahs are intent upon creating some ugly situation at Rabwah for their ulterior purposes which may be political. Mullah Allah Yar Arshad, the cleric at Masjid Bokhari at Rabwah is attempting higher provocation than rhetoric, to precipitate an incident. His persistence is noteworthy from the following attempts:
a. On December 19, the mulla, accompanied by some miscreants intercepted and insulted an Ahmadi youth in a street close to the Bahashti Maqbrah graveyard.
b. The next day, on December 20, at about 11.30 mullah Allah Yar Arshad manhandled an Ahmadi teenager, Manaf Ahmad son of Mr Jamil Ahmad.
c. The same day, on December 20, an Ahmadi youth, Manzur Ahmad Butt was intercepted by the mullah in Mohallah Darul Fazl. The mullah asked him if he was an Ahmadi. On receiving a reply in the positive, the mullah subjected him to physical violence, tied him up with a rope and told him to recant. Later, when the youth was released he reported the incident to the Community office. He was taken to a medical facility for treatment and a formal report.
d. The same evening, the mullah was seen in the vicinity of an Ahmadi’s home, in company of a few gangsters from the nearby town of Chiniot. These gangsters were known to be implicated in anti-Ahmadiyya criminal activities of various kind in the recent past.
The mullah is obviously itching for a fight. He represents various politico-religious groups and interests, and is the local trouble monger. The above mentioned incidents may appear small, but the mullah knows that only a small match stick is needed to start a blazing fire.
Rabwah starved of water
Rabwah, July 2002: July was a tough month for the residents of Rabwah who faced acute shortage of water in this month of intense heat. The city government totally comprises of non- Ahmadis in this city whose 95% population is Ahmadi. Although the great river Chenab flows past Rabwah, the artificial drought of Rabwah can only be attributed to the insensitive and incompetent administrators of Rabwah’s local government and to their superiors at Tehsil and District level. The situation became so bad that even the Urdu Press reported it in the following terms:
No Water in Chenab Nagar for the last 10 Days. Residents Crave for even Drops. The Daily Jang July 15, 2002
Residents of Chenab Nagar have No Water to Drink. Water is supplied for only 15 minutes during 36 hours, while millions are collected in the form of taxes. The Daily Jang, Lahore; July 20, 2002
Anti-Ahmadiyya rallies in Rabwah
Rabwah; May 24 and 25, 2002: While Ahmadis are forbidden to hold conferences in their own town, Rabwah, the outsiders and mullahs continue to enjoy full freedom and government support to do here what they like. On May 24 and 25, on the pretext of Seerat-un-Nabi (The Holy Prophet Day), they held provocative conferences and rallies at Rabwah.
Mullahs Mustafa, Shuja Abadi and Allah Wasaya harangued the crowd against Ahmadis on May 24, prior to the Friday prayers. One of them remarked that Ahmadis had participated in the Referendum to break up the country. “We have tolerated the defeat of Taliban, but we will not tolerate the abolition of the Affidavit. As long as a single Qadiani is alive our Movement will continue”, one of them asserted. On May 25, Mullah Allah Yar Arshad and Qari Yamin Gauhar took out a procession and shouted slogans against Ahmadis. Allah Yar undertook unbridled calumny and slander against the holy founder of Ahmadiyyat.
Mullah Mushtaq of ‘Khichhian’ also led a procession. He warned Musharraf, “If you disturb the 1973 Constitution, our children will act like Ababeel (to destroy you) and we will exercise our right to punish apostates (with death); and we will Inshallah certainly undertake that”.
Mullah Ata-ul-Mohaiman Bokhari addressed the procession that made its sortie from Kot Wasawa, a nearby village, and spoke venomously against Ahmadis. Mullah Latif Cheema, referring to Col. Rafiuddin’s book quoted, “Mr Bhutto in his last days claimed that he had done nothing good except rein in the enemies of Muhammad and declare them (Ahmadis) non-Muslims. I wish the Muslim in Musharraf also wakes up. The blood of martyrs of 1953 (anti-Ahmadiyya agitation) is beckoning us.” Mullah Ata-ul-Muhaiman Bokhari said, “We shall not permit US to enforce its writ in Pakistan. We will not allow Pakistan to become a Mirzael. If the Muslims of Chiniot and Sargodha urinate simultaneously, the flood will sweep away Chenab Nagar (Rabwah). We are being nice that we tolerate you here…..We shall not recognize the legitimacy of the president until the restoration of Afghanistan. The murderer of Muslims cannot be their president. You are a murderer; you have no business to be here. Do not challenge our resolve”.
It is noteworthy that authorities had permitted these rallies at the occasion of ‘The Holy Prophet Day’. Mullahs sprang no surprise; every year they repeat the same irrelevant message – their threats to Ahmadis and to the government.
Mulla at the Mic
Rabwah: A century ago, when sound amplifier was introduced, the mulla declared it a satanic device and refused to use it in the mosque. Subsequently, he discovered that it was a great invention whereby he could impose himself on the people. He loves it now so much that proverbially every time he needs to cough, he prefers to go to the nearest mic and cough via a loud speaker. Mullahs, through their verbal harassment, hold entire communities as hostage. Ahmadis of Rabwah get more than their share of mullah’s unwelcome sermons.
At the occasion of last Eid, on December 6, the mullah of the Bokhari Mosque invited all Ahmadis to convert to (his type of) Islam. “(Otherwise) the law, even if it is in a waste basket, can be used against you”, he blurted. He quoted Qazi Hussain Ahmad’s (leader of MMA & JI) offer of cooperation to the government if it would agree to implement recommendations of the Islamic Ideology Council. Apparently, this mulla is well aware of the mischief contained in some of these recommendations. He even quoted, “ According to the law recommended by the Islamic Council, a person who claims to be a prophet should be given three days to reconsider, thereafter he may be put to death”. “Pakistan now has its Joint Electorate: these cheered the Qadianis, but Muslims got the votes – (not Qadianis)”, he gloated. Thanks to General Musharraf!
Provocative processions pass through Rabwah
Rabwah; June 5, 2001: Rabwah is an Ahmadiyya town, in that 95% of its population is Ahmadi; however, for the last seventeen years, Ahmadis have been denied the freedom to hold here their peaceful religious open-air conferences, even sports events. On the other hand, anti-Ahmadi activists are routinely permitted by the administration to take out highly provocative processions through Rabwah and to hold hate-promoting conferences in this town. Participants of these conferences and processions are often transported here from other towns and districts. All this is done with the express permission and active support of the government. Despite this blatant discrimination, the government claims that Ahmadis face no discrimination and enjoy religious freedom in Pakistan.
On 12 Rabiul Awwal (the birthday of the Holy Prophet), Non-Ahmadis were allowed to take out processions in Rabwah, but such permission is always denied to Ahmadis. The authorities knew about the risk of mischief from the mulla, so they posted police all over the town. Ahmadiyya community also took suitable defense measures to deter any assault by the fundamentalists. At the Seerat Conference, the Chief Executive spoke some courageous words against the mulla, but it appears that courageous action is still long way away in the uncertain future.
Provocation at Rabwah
Rabwah; February 16, 2001. Mulla Allah Yar Arshad is the Imam at Bokhari Mosque at the northern outskirt of Rabwah. He is posted there to indulge full-time in anti-Ahmadiyya activities. In Friday sermons and other meetings he urges his flock to take the law in their hands and indulge in all sorts of evil. Some statements from his sermon on Friday the 16 February are translated below:
“ If Allah exhorts people to take up Jihad, who is Mirza Qadiani to forbid it…… Boycott all Mirzais; have no dealings with them, and be ready to undertake Jihad against them.
“O Muslims, what are you waiting for?………. I demand that the Government should take note of Mirzais’ activities. ………. The Minister of Interior should be ashamed of himself; he has taken no action against Mirzais – rather encouraged them…….. Mirzais violate the Arms Act and no one takes notice. ……… If the government takes no action, we shall motivate Muslims to do the needful. …… I pray to Allah that America be turned to pieces, as it helps Mirzais.”
Rabwah remains a prime target
Rabwah, the headquarters of Ahmadis in Pakistan, has been targeted by the opponents and the government for the last quarter of a century. Last year the Nawaz Sharif government committed the unsupportable outrage of changing the name of Rabwah, first to Nawan Qadian and then to Chenab Nagar. Ahmadiyya traditional annual conference remains banned. The Military government did not permit the holding of this purely religious conference despite Ahmadiyya request, while all other denominations and faiths are permitted to hold their conferences and ceremonies. Ninety five percent population of Rabwah is Ahmadi, still the authorities permitted religious extremists to hold numerous anti-Ahmadi rallies and conferences in the town. Most of the participants and speakers were transported from other towns to Rabwah to hold highly provocative assemblies against the local population.
The government permitted numerous anti-Ahmadi organizations to hold highly provocative conferences at Rabwah. At such occasions, Ahmadis have to remain vigilant against any outbreak of violence. Ahmadi women are restricted to their homes by the community on these occasions to ensure their safety. A few of these conferences, expressly permitted by authorities are mentioned below:
Almi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatame Nabuwwat held its annual conference at Rabwah on 12,13 October 2000. Some notable figures in the religio-political field also participated. A number of ulema made incendiary speeches. Some quotes:
- Mulla Ikramulla Khan: We should undertake Jehadi training and then pursue them (Ahmadis). We need to firmly decide not to spare them. We should become Mujahid to bury this mischief. We ought to pursue them until no Qadiani is left.
- Mulla Munawar Hussain: Give me a small space in Chenabnagar- I’ll make sure that no Qadiani is spared. If Jihad was obligatory against Musailma, the liar- why not against Musailma, the Punjabi. (By the latter term the mulla was referring to the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community.)
- Aziz-ur-Rahman Jalandhry: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was Wajibul Qatl (Deserving Death by Sharia law), so is his progeny.
- Mulla Abdul Malik: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a British agent. We shall crush him with our toes.
- Mulla Muhammad Murad Harery: Qadianis are not only apostates but also Zindique-and Zindiques are Wajibul Qatl. If you ask me that who should kill them, I tell you: ‘Pass a law that they are Wajibul Qatl, they will all revert to Islam. However, if the government does not implement Islam, would you not take it upon yourself. I have been accused in 15 to 20 murder cases of Qadianis, but I have never been shown to prison.
- Mulla Muhammad Saeed son of Mulla Yusuf Ludhianvi: It was a wish of Allama Yusuf Ludhianvi (someone killed him last year in Karachi) that not even a Qadiani child should remain in Pakistan. They should all recant or should be exterminated.
- Mulla Abdus Sattar: If Qadianis are outside the pale of Islam, why don’t you all unite to exterminate them. I urge reverend Khan Mohammad (the Patron of Majlis Khatame Nabuwwat) to urge the Government of Pakistan to finish off all the Qadianis.
- Mulla Abdul Ghafoor Qazi: We are not prepared to tolerate Qadianis. There can be no peace in Pakistan till all Qadianis are pushed out of the country. We shall eradicate them (Qadianis) from all over the world.
- Mulla Luqman Alipuri: Thank God, our ulema have been instrumental in dispatching thousands of Qadianis to prisons. If I get a chance, I will get them all killed.
- Mulla Azam Tariq (SSP): O the worst infidels, Qadianis, do not think that we are not united. Obey the constitution, lest we reach for your necks. We shall break your legs. We urge the government to restrict them, otherwise we know how to take it upon ourselves.
Leave alone Pakistan, we shall not spare them anywhere in the world.
It is noteworthy that none of the speakers faced any criminal charges for instigating violence – not even a warning from authorities.
Still another provocative conference at Rabwah
The extremists held a conference again on 17 November 2000, this time at Masjid Bokhari. The main guest speaker was mulla Manzur Ahmad Chinioti, the ex- MPA.
Although this religious seminar was held in a mosque, no one including the guest speaker said a word about morality, spiritual excellence or religious values. Mulla Chinioti’s address contained nothing but sectarian politics, clerical rhetoric, unmitigated slander and high provocation. It would be futile to quote him at length; a quote from his tirade should suffice as a sample:
(O Qadianis) How few you are? Not even as little as salt in bread. By God, if all the Pakistani Muslims urinate together, you will be swept away by the flood. If all we Muslims spit at the same time, you will be drowned in our spit. How few you are? Why do you put our tolerance to test? When tolerance reaches its end and the law is violated, such are the results (as Ghatialian and Takht Hazara- ed.). If the authorities do not take notice, and these people (Ahmadis) continue to violate the (anti-Ahmadiyya) law- and Muslims take to the streets, not even one of their children would be spared. How few they are? They have a concentration in this city – every one of them will be exterminated…”
The miscreant mulla said all this in the presence of government officials who were dutifully present but, as usual, took no action except perhaps keeping a record.
Provocation on Friday
This town, being the headquarters of Ahmadiyya Community, has its own importance and sensitivity. Ordinarily, one would expect that anti Ahmadiyya activists exercise care at this place, or the authorities would tell them to exercise restraint. On the contrary, the mullas posted here often cross the limits and try to precipitate an ugly situation. Thanks to Ahmadis, who frequently control their emotions and maintain peace. What, Mulla Allah Yar Arshad said in his Friday sermon of March 3, 2000 is translated below:
‘Who calls the Qadianis, Mussulman? O Mussulmans, it is your duty to finish off all the bogus Muslims. Make all the efforts to this end…. I urge General Musharaf to support us in eliminating Qadianis from Pakistan….. Next week I promise to break you a good news which will be a blow to Qadianis – an unprecedented blow’.
The next week he did not disclose the promised ‘good news’. In fact, he did not take up any controversial issue- a rare occasion. The mulla does respond to a serious warning. The authorities need to exercise courage in putting the Mulla in his place. It is not a difficult undertaking.
And now – a baton force
Following self-explanatory note was sent by the Ahmadiyya Office to relevant authorities:
On May 21, 2000, ex-MPA Maulvi Manzoor Chinioti delivered a highly provocative and abusive speech in Naseerabad, a Mohallah of Rabwah. It was full of filthy and vitriolic abuse against the founder of Ahmadiyya Movement and its other leaders as usual. But in addition he also incited the listeners to arm themselves and attack any place where ‘RABWAH’ was written, break all such boards or hoardings, obliterate the word Rabwah and if anyone resisted he should be beaten. He also asked his audience to attack the offices of the newspapers and magazines and journals published from Rabwah and burn these publications. He exhorted his audience to put oil on their dandas (sticks) and teach Ahmadis a lesson. He declared that he had asked Maulvi Allah Yar Arshad to supervise and lead this violence against Ahmadis of Rabwah. All this incitement to violence and law breaking was openly advocated on loudspeaker. I bring this threat of violence, which has been widely reported in the press, to your notice and request you to take suitable protective measures and take legal action against the instigators of violence.
Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya Pakistan
The mulla announced at this occasion to establish a DANDA FORCE. Authorities took no action against the rabble-rouser. In fact, a few days later, this mulla met the Advisor to the Governor of Punjab, who rather than showing him the Criminal Penal Code, tried to placate him.
Kot Wasawa, Rabwah
Mullas of Majlis Ahrar held a conference in the village on the night of 11 November. They used bad language against the Holy Founder of Ahmadiyya Community and declared that Ahmadis are infidels, cursed, heretics and hell-bound. One of them declared that anyone who maintains social relations with Ahmadis is equally hell- bound.
Mulla Abdul Hadi stated in his Friday sermon on 11 November, inter alia:
- Qadiani are great rogues; I’ll flush them out even if they go underground.
- If Qadianis cast an evil glance at our maulvis, I shall pull their eyes out of their sockets.
- If you call us a bad name, I shall pull out your tongues.
- You must forsake Mirza Qadiani, the cursed son of a cursed, and rejoin Islam. etc. etc.
This mulla has built a mosque within Rabwah and uses the loudspeaker extensively and most provocatively. What he said in his sermon on 10 November is so filthy that it defies putting down in writing. The authorities know about his vulgarity.
Fabricated cases and arrests at Rabwah
In view of the rampant terrorist activities of religious extremists in the country, the government has ordered all denominations to take effective security measures at their places of worship.
In compliance with this directive, the community at Rabwah had arranged posting of guards outside the Aqsa Mosque on Friday the 22nd December. Nematulla, an Ahmadi youth was also posted there. He had his licensed gun in the car. The police arrested him under section PPC 188, accusing him falsely of showing off his weapon. When questioned, the policemen conveyed verbally that the case was registered at the instance of mullas who were pressing for one since long.
In another case the police arrested Mr Muzaffar Ahmad, Ahmadi, on December 28 under PPC 188 for playing an audio cassette loudly at his shop. PPC 188 is applicable in case Section 144 is enforced by the Deputy Commissioner; but that was not the case. Still the police acted, reportedly to placate the mulla.
A deliberate policy of discrimination by the government
Ordinarily a good government posts in small towns suitable functionaries who belong to and understand the local community so as to render efficient and smooth public service. At Rabwah, the government has taken pains to ensure that all government departments are headed by non-Ahmadis. Their performance is generally less than satisfactory, at times even hostile. To be specific, all the following functionaries at Rabwah are non-Ahmadis:
the resident magistrate, the police inspector, the postmaster,
the railway station master, the water and power SDO,
all officials of the town council, the college principal,
the boys school headmaster, the taxation officer,
the telephone supervisor, etc.
This absurd policy has been stretched to the extent that in the semi-government National Bank of Pakistan (local branch) that employs a score of personnel as staff, not a single individual is Ahmadi.
Arrest of top leadership on fabricated charges of serious nature
Mirza Masroor Ahmad, head of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan, and Lt. Colonel (Retd) Ayaz Mahmud Khan, the President of the Ahmadiyya Community of Rabwah, along with Messers Muhammad Hussain and Muhammad Akbar were refused ‘Bail before Arrest’ in a false religious accusation, and were arrested at Chiniot on April 30, 1999. Later, they were shifted to the District Jail, Jhang. Their plea of Bail after Arrest was heard by magistrate Khawaja Zafar Iqbal on May 4, 1999 at Chiniot and was rejected.
The background of this case is of interest although it is bizarre and evil. A few weeks earlier, a Resolution was moved in the Punjab Assembly to change the name of Rabwah town that has its identity internationally recognized as the headquarters town of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. At the wish of the ‘movers’ of the Resolution, the town was renamed ‘Nawan Qadian’. Thereafter they realized that the new name might not sufficiently hurt the ‘Qadianis’, so they agitated again to further change the name. Accordingly, the town was given another new name, ‘Chenab Nagar’. Even then, the Ahmadiyya Community did not react to this outrage. The anti-Ahmadiyya lobby, dismayed at the lack of reaction, contrived another plan to stoke the fire. They arranged someone to efface with black paint the newly written nameplates of ‘Chenab Nagar’. Having done so, one of them, who is facing numerous charges and investigations by the police, got registered a criminal case under MPO 16 against Lt. Colonel (Retd) Ayaz Mahmud Khan, the President of the Ahmadiyya Community, Rabwah on the grounds that the paint brush must have been applied at his instructions.
The next day, Maulvi Ilyas, a son of Maulvi Manzoor Chinioti, the mulla MPA from Chiniot, got registered another case with the police that one of the over-painted signboards carried two verses of the Quran. Accordingly, another case under PPC 295B was registered against Mirza Masroor Ahmad and Col. Ayaz on grounds that the act must have happened under their orders. The charge invited imprisonment for life. It is pertinent to mention that the FIR and the complaint made no mention of those who used the brush nor any witnesses were indicated. The High Court was immediately moved by the accused to grant ‘Bail before Arrest’. The High Court granted it provisionally and directed them to approach the Session Judge at Jhang. The Session Judge passed the case on to the Additional Session Judge, Jhang who in turn referred it over to the ASJ, Chiniot. Chiniot happens to be the constituency of Mulla Manzoor Chinioti MPA. This town is a hub of anti-Ahmadiyya agitation. Here, Mullas try to influence court decisions through processions and crowds. Ahmadi lawyers have been subjected to assault in the past. It was under these circumstances that a plea for confirmation of bail for the accused was moved. The result was no different than expected. The Bail was refused by the Additional Session Judge, Mr Rao Sultan Ali Tahir, and Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the head of Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan and Lt. Col. Ayaz and the other two accused were arrested. Later, they were shifted to the District Jail Jhang.
On May 4, 1999 Khawaja Zafar Iqbal, Magistrate heard the plea of Bail after the Arrest. A dozen of mullas were present at the occasion. Among others, the defense took also the plea that Maulvi Manzoor Chinioti is a virulent opponent of the Ahmadiyya Community and is a habitual liar on record. The prosecution advocate stated that the past was no longer relevant and the present case was important in the sense that it would set the pace and tone of future legislation. The magistrate conveniently rejected the plea of bail, and so did the Additional Session Judge on the next day.
The incident showed a definite change in the attitude of the government towards Ahmadis for the worse. Personal interest and involvement of the higher-ups at Islamabad cannot be ruled out, as without their approval and urging the provincial minions could not and need not undertake such unsupportable and condemnable actions. Human rights concerns, both at home and abroad took note of the incident and approached the authorities at the capital to redress the situation. It proved effective and the government decided to downgrade the false charges by declaring them unsubstantiated. The victims of this highhandedness were then released after approximately two weeks in prison.
The mulla, however, was not deterred by the withdrawal of official support to his baseless accusations. Mulla Ilyas proceeded to make a private petition to the Court to follow up the case. The accused thus still have to defend themselves against this fabricated accusation.
Rabwah remains a prime target
Rabwah, the headquarters town of Ahmadis remained a focus of attention and a prime target with Ahmadi-bashers of the establishment and mulla. They further built upon the edifice of injustice and tyranny in this town. Some important events are mentioned below.
Another change of name of Rabwah
The Punjab Assembly decided on 17 November 1998 to change the name of Rabwah. The government issued a notification on 12 December, by order of the Governor of the Punjab that Rabwah Town was re-named ‘Nawan Qadian’ with immediate effect. On 14th February 1999, another notification was issued by the Revenue Department, again by the order of the Governor of the Punjab, that in suppression of the earlier notification, the Nawan Qadian was renamed as ‘Chenab Nagar’; the government notification
is provided here. Some details of this cruel joke are noteworthy and are given below.
The Resolution to change the name of Rabwah was passed unanimously by the Punjab Assembly on a Private Members Business Day. However, only 67 members out of a House of 275 strength were present. No discussion took place in the Assembly, and no reason was given for the change of name. Although all those present, both from the Treasury Benches as well as the Opposition, found it convenient and expedient to vote for the Bill, both the Leader of the House and the Speaker of the Assembly decided to absent themselves from this shameful event. Rabwah town was raised over a barren tract of land and given its name by the Ahmadiyya Community half a century ago and it is known the world over as Rabwah among Ahmadis in 160 countries. The way the Punjab Assembly skipped the need of consulting the local population of the town (of which 95% are Ahmadis), whose name was being changed, and in moving contrary to the wishes of the people involved, it confirmed that it had no democratic conscience. One of the movers of the infamous Resolution was Mr. Said Minhais, the PPP leader of the Opposition who did not tire protesting the human rights record of the government where the Peoples Party was concerned, but he did not miss to solicit his pound of political flesh at this occasion where human rights of Ahmadis came under attack. It is so amazing.
Now enter the main players from behind the curtain. The front man of the Resolution was undoubtedly Maulvi Manzoor Chinioti MPA. He was abroad on the day the Bill was moved, however he had obviously been assured such full support and smooth passage of the Bill through the Assembly by the government and the opposition that he could not have steered the Bill any better even if he had been personally present. It spoke volumes of the political impotency of the individual members of the House. The petty role of the revenue minister, Chaudhry Shaukat Daud, deserves a small mention in this narrative. He timidly rose up and said that he was a believing Muslim as anyone else and if he spoke on the motion that would not make him less of a believer. Having said that, all he proposed was to set up a committee to suggest a new name. This was done, but later events showed amply that the minister only conceded whatever Mulla Chinioti told him. The minister knew that the Mulla enjoyed full support from Islamabad.
A mulla likes to brag. He loves to convey to the people that he wields political power. On the ‘Rabwah issue’, political potentates at Islamabad had decided to remain behind the screen; however, Mulla Chinioti let the cat out of the bag. ‘He (Chinioti) congratulated Mian Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and said that (the change of name) happened only through the personal interest of Nawaz Sharif’, reported the Daily Ausaf, Islamabad in its issue of 28 November 1998. The same newspaper mentioned that the Maulana had met earlier Raja Zafarul Haq, the Federal Minister of Religious Affairs and Mr. Rafiq Tarar, the President, over Rabwah’s change of name and other issues. A day earlier, in the Daily Din of 27 November 1998, the same mulla disclosed that Messers Raja and Tarar were members of the Advisory Council of the Majlis Tahaffuz Khatam Nabuwwat (the anti-Ahmadiyya Organization to protect the Finality of Prophethood).
This grave decision in favour of intolerance and in violation of human and democratic rights of Ahmadis pleased the clerics to no end. Newspapers gave ample coverage to their views, for example:
The change of Rabwah’s name is an Important Step towards Imposition of Islamic System-Ulema. The Daily Nawai Waqt, 21 November 1998
The Punjab Assembly’s Decision will be engraved in Golden Letters in the Islamic History-Maulana Azam Tariq’s letter from his cell. The Daily Jang, Lahore 2 December 1998
For Qadianis, this Explosion is Bigger than the Atomic Explosion of 28 May-Manzoor Chinioti’s letter to the Prime Minister. The Daily Pakistan, 25 November 1998
It is amusing and also thought provoking that the Prime Minister of Pakistan should let one of his confidants eulogize his role in glowing terms in subjecting an important section of Pakistan’s own citizenry to suffer an explosion bigger than the atomic explosion.
What followed is equally bizarre. Mulla Chinioti, drunk with success, conveyed his personal approval to the compliant Revenue Minister for the new name, ‘Nawan Qadian’. However, it seems that in this he had not consulted his fellow mullas. The government went ahead and issued a Notification to that effect by the ‘Order of the Governor’ on 12 December 1998. Copy of the notification was sent for publication in the Extra-ordinary Gazette of the Punjab. The Deputy Commissioner Jhang was directed to ensure that the name of the Revenue Estate be corrected accordingly in the Revenue Records. Bureau of Statistics, Land Records Office, Population Census Department etc were also informed of the change.
Having succeeded in changing the name of Rabwah in collusion with the Federal authorities, the fundamentalists decided to deliver the insulting message at the doorstep of the residents of Rabwah. Maulvi Manzoor Chinioti organized a procession and led it through Rabwah. The authorities not only did not stop his outrageous passage, they escorted the procession through the town. Mulla Usmani who was wielding the microphone of the loudspeaker was shouting slogans:
- 1. Now that the name of your town has changed, Qadianis, you should change yourself also.
- 2. Khatame Nabuwwat – Zindabad
- Conqueror of Rabwah, Maulana Chinioti – Zindabad etc.
The mobile procession did not stop anywhere but passed through the town raising slogans and shouting their habitual foul remarks.
However, when other mullas came to know of the new name, they were not pleased. They wanted it further changed. The ‘Nawan Qadian’ could be retained only over their dead body. Their argument was simple. According to them, the word Qadian was more provocative to them than Rabwah. They would not tolerate a new Qadian in Pakistan. Whether Chinioti and the Government liked it or not, they had no option but to further change the name. For decades, mullas had proposed ‘Siddique Abad’ as an alternate name, implying that as (according to their version of history) Siddique, Abubakar the First Caliph had put apostates to sword; the residents of this town would merit the same fate. However, someone pointed out that Siddique Abad literally means, ‘Abode of the Truthful’. So this name was discarded. By this time the government was getting embarrassed, once again at the hands of the mulla. Mulla Chinioti reportedly met the Revenue Minister again, and made a statement to the Press that Rabwah was to be given its old name ‘Chak Dhaggian’ (the Daily Din 25 December 1998). In fact this name was there in records, when Rabwah did not exist. Nobody paid much attention to what the Mulla was saying. The local Resident Magistrate went ahead and changed his office nomenclature plate to ‘Nawan Qadian’ as per the government notification. But that was not to be the end of this circus act.
While perhaps everyone else was sick of this game, the mulla was at the throat of the government to change its decision once again to accommodate him, however ridiculous the government might appear in public. The government extricated itself by issuing another Notification on 4 February 1999 changing once more the name of ‘Nawan Qadian’ to Chenab Nagar’. Although the notification was issued ‘By order of the Governor of the Punjab’, the Governor knew that it was issued by order of some mullas. Very rarely, a government had been made to stoop so low on behest of a group of mullas who have such little standing with the people. It was a self-inflicted injury.
The mulla is a very ungrateful species. Although the government had done so much for his unworthy cause, he soon disowned all the support. Only three weeks later , when Mulla Chinioti arranged a two day celebrations and festivities, on 25 and 26 February 1999, to implement the change, he invited Said Minhais the Opposition man, as special guest to unveil the new name-plate of ‘Chenab Nagar’ at a local mosque. Said Minhais did not lose the opportunity to belittle the government performance. ‘During its two years’ rule, the only worthwhile achievement of the Muslim League government is the change of Rabwah’s name’, he said (the Daily Din, 27 February 199). At this occasion Mulla Chinioti reminded the government of his three-point agenda for the future; the first on his list is the Sharia punishment for Apostasy i.e. Death. He said that he would approach the Assembly, as before. He had reason to be hopeful.
Anti-Ahmadiyya conferences at Rabwah
Throughout the year, mullas, on one excuse or another, held numerous conferences at Rabwah with the approval and support of authorities. The authorities, however, did not permit Ahmadis to hold even one, in their own town. A brief account of only one such conference organized by mullas is given below.
An anti-Ahmadiyya major conference, allowed by authorities, was held at Rabwah on 7,8 October 1999. Participants were brought over in busloads from other towns. The speakers freely used their loose tongue and spoke with intense malice against the Ahmadiyya Community, the West and even against the government. A few highlights of the conference are mentioned below:
- Mulla Ashraf Ali of Baluchistan stated that the Taliban and Pakistani Ulema are not terrorists. Like in Afghanistan, Pakistan will soon have an Islamic government of Taliban.
- Maulvi Allah Dad Khairkhwa, also from Baluchistan criticized Mr Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to the US and proposed that he should be turned out of the pale of Islam.
- Mulla Bashir Shad asserted that either Qadianis will have to go or Pakistan will go. Pakistan will prove a graveyard for the agents of US and UK. “Those who oppose Taliban oppose Islam and the ideology of Pakistan”, he said.
- Mulla Ziauddin said: “I wonder at the intellect of those who believe the Mirza to be a prophet: I am not prepared to accept him even a human”.
- Qari Ajmal’s Fatwa that Senators who oppose the Sharia Bill are liable to be put to death, was approved by the participants through a show of hands.
- Mulla Ghulam Hussain stressed that a Mirzai cannot call himself an Ahmadi.
- Mulla Rashid said that the Maulvi is opposing the US; he won the first two rounds, against the USSR and………..; he will win against Washington also.
- Maulvi Saifulla pleaded, “ If Islamic government would support us, we can kill each and every Jew and Christian”.
- The General Secretary of JUI spoke at length on international affairs and called US the greatest terrorist in the world. He asked the participants to raise their hands in support of Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman.
- Maulvi Yusaf Ludhianvi criticized the National Assembly that declared the Qadianis simply Non-Muslims, although the Ulema had demanded that they should be declared apostates and put to death.
- Mulla Bokhari remarked that the Ulema had succeeded in expelling Mirza Tahir from Pakistan; now they should expel all the Qadianis, as they are apostates.
- Abdur Rahim stated that he was from Baluchistan and there, in the town of Zobe, Qadianis are forever forbidden to enter. This town has set an example for others in Pakistan.
- Mulla Khuda Bux used bad language extensively against the Founder of Ahmadiyya Community in his speech. His foul language defies reporting.
- Haji Allah Ditta claimed that Qadianis are responsible for (1) The break-up of Pakistan (2) The Railway accidents (3) everything wrong in the country. He questioned Mr Rafiq Tarar: “O respected President, you who are the spiritual son of Ataullah Shah Bokhari (a Congressite Ahrar leader), how can you tolerate Qadianis? If you do that, you will go to hell along with Mirza Qadiani”.
- A Resolution was passed to expunge the mention of Dr Abdus Salam from textbooks. (Dr. Salam, a Nobel laureate in Physics, was a Pakistani Ahmadi.)
- Maulana Abdur Rahim stated his view that Qadianis are not apostates but Zindique. An apostate should be given three days to reconsider his faith, while a Zindique must be put to death immediately; he deserves no respite, according to this mulla.
Processions at Rabwah
Three processions were taken out by non-Ahmadis at Rabwah on June 27, 1999 at the occasion of the birthday of the Holy Prophet. Two of these processions were slanderous and highly provocative. Most of their participants were transported here from other towns, or they comprised students from the local Madrassa.
Mulla Allah Yar Arshad led the assault in profanity and vulgarity. He also urged Ahmadis to convert to Islam and claimed that 69 have already recanted in Chenab Nagar. He declared himself to be the Conqueror of Chenab Nagar, a title claimed by many others of his type. One of the demands, made at the end, was: Pakistan must help Kashmir Mujahidin. Following was also written on the banners carried by processionists:
Qadianis are agents of Israel
Qadianis are enemies of Pakistan and Islam
Designs against Rabwah
Rabwah, the Ahmadiyya Headquarters town in Pakistan, is considered a holy town by Ahmadis worldwide. It has faced many dangers and suffered in many ways since 1974. For years it was like a city under siege. It suffered its first and foremost shock when it lost its crowning jewel, in that, the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Community was forced to leave Rabwah and proceed abroad because he could no longer perform his functions from Rabwah after promulgation of Ordinance XX. In pursuance of the State policy, freedom of faith in this religious town was severely curtailed. Its prolific educational complex had already been nationalized and the standard of education was steadily on the decline. Mullahs were posted in this town, and their full-time occupation was nothing but anti-Ahmadiyya machinations. A large contingent of state intelligence agents was also billeted at Rabwah. All routine and traditional Ahmadi gatherings were banned while mullahs were given a license to hold highly provocative and abusive rallies and open air meetings in this Ahmadiyya town. Choice residential land owned by Ahmadis was forcibly grabbed and turned into a so-called Muslim Colony where a mosque, a seminary and houses were built to provide permanent presence to anti-Ahmadiyya extremists. The peace of Rabwah has remained at an edge despite grave outrages by its ill wishers- thanks to the Ahmadiyya emphasis on peace and forbearance.
The latest onslaught on Rabwah was a Resolution to change its name. The Punjab Assembly, on November 17, unanimously passed a Resolution recommending that the name of Rabwah be changed. The Resolution was passed by the Punjab Assembly in total disregard of the opinion of the residents of Rabwah. Rabwah was developed from a barren tract into a veritable town by the Ahmadiyya Community over the past 50 years. In fact the town is an Ahmadiyya property through purchase. At present more than 95% of its population comprises Ahmadis, and they cherish its name Rabwah. However, the fundamentalist lobby, none of whose members belongs to Rabwah, has insisted upon humiliating Ahmadis and depriving them of their Basic Rights. It is indeed highly unbecoming for a democratic institution like ‘ the Provincial Assembly’ to pass a unanimous resolution about a town, that is entirely against the will and wishes of 95% of its inhabitants. It is indeed gross violation of human rights and of the democratic principle.
The Daily Jang of Lahore reported on 19 November widespread resentment of the local population, including Non-Ahmadi and Christian inhabitants, against the unjust Resolution. Recently elected Muslim and Christian councilors for the Rabwah Town Council condemned the Resolution as immoral, undemocratic, anti-people, and declared it unacceptable for being violative of human rights.
The Resolution was passed by the treasury benches as well as the opposition. No discussion took pace, and the foul resolution was passed within minutes. It belies the repeated claims of the present government that they are mindful of the fundamental rights of minorities. It does not do what it says.
The conspiracy behind this move came to limelight when Maulvi Manzoor Chinioti, the mullah MPA of the Punjab Assembly, who was acting as the front-man in this move, disclosed that “the real credit of the change of name of Rabwah goes to President Rafiq Tarar who provided me full support on this issue.” His statement was reported in the Daily Jang, Lahore; 8 December 1998.
There is still more to this sordid event. On 12 December 1998, the government, in consultation with Maulvi Chinioti, issued a formal notification
renaming Rabwah as Nawan Qadian. Some mullahs objected to the new name. According to them it was not sufficiently ‘insulting’ to Ahmadis and they feared that it did not injure the Ahmadiyya feelings as much as they had intended. The mullahs had an in-fight, and they decided to approach the government again. Quite oblivious of the Ahmadiyya feelings, the Revenue Minister, Mr. Shaukat Daud again complied with the demand of the mullah and once again changed the name. The latest new name of Rabwah is Chak Dhigian, according to the Daily Din of 25 December 1998. It is so ridiculous.
A mention must be made here also of the anti-Ahmadiyya rallies and conferences held in this Ahmadiyya town by their non-Ahmadi adversaries. While Ahmadis have been refused permission to hold their traditional Annual Conference here and forbidden to arrange even annual sports events, which were a routine feature previously on Rabwah’s calendar, mullahs are routinely and regularly granted permission and provided support by the government to hold highly provocative and objectionable rallies and meetings in Rabwah.
Three processions were taken out by different organizations on 7 July 1998 on the occasion of Holy Prophet’s birthday. The first procession was led by Mullah Arshad who made a fiery speech against Ahmadis, based on slander and lies. His lieutenant, Qari Yamin, called Ahmadis a gang of terrorists, corrupt and evil people. Another speaker was grossly blasphemous against the founder of Ahmadiyyat; he spoke when the procession was at city centre, in front of the Resident Magistrate’s office. Mullahs in the other two processions behaved no better.
On September 7 they held a conference to celebrate their anniversary of victory against Ahmadis, as it was on this date that Ahmadis were declared Not-Muslim. The Stage Secretary, in his opening remarks called it a day of thanks-giving. He urged the audience to make concerned efforts to eradicate the evil of Qadianiyat from their midst. A mullah, Jhangvi by name, asserted that the British planted Qadianis so that Islam would be destroyed. Maulvi Aslam harangued the audience to undertake Jihad like Usama Bin Laden; Mirzais (Ahmadis) should be exterminated for their apostasy, he said.
With the permission of authorities, Majlis Khatame Nabuwwat held another two-day conference at Rabwah on 15/16 October 1998. Mullahs took out a procession and made rabid speeches. Mullah Toofani urged that if Muslims get down to it, there would be left no Qadiani and no Qadianism. Maulvi Fazlur Rehman, President of JUI, urged a Taliban type revolution in Pakistan. Dr. Muhammad threatened an armed agitation to destroy Ahmadis.
Recently, the government, vide its letter No. 10442 /GB dated 8 December 1998, refused Ahmadis permission to hold their traditional Annual Conference at Rabwah, on the plea of prevailing law and order situation, white it permitted the anti-Ahmadiyya lobby to hold numerous provocative conferences at Rabwah during the year. This is a double-faced policy, which is greatly unjust, partial and unbecoming to a fair administration.
The government never tires of repeating like a parrot that it is very conscious of the rights of minorities and that minorities enjoy full freedom in Pakistan. The situation of Rabwah is quite the reverse of what the potentates assert, and gives them the lie squarely on the face.