Ahmadis denied once again their democratic rights in national elections
Islamabad; August 2011: The government, through the Election Commission of Pakistan, undertook the massive exercise of updating the electoral lists for the forthcoming national elections, but made sure that despite the proclaimed Joint Electorate system, Ahmadis were discriminated against, and religion was mentioned in Form A in a manner that Ahmadis were forced to accept their non-Muslim status to avail voting rights, to which they would not submit. This is the Pakistani version of Gore Vidal’s “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace”; the state policy here is “Perpetual Denial of Human Rights to Ahmadis for Perpetual Political Self-Interest”.
The Election Commission issued a booklet of instructions for its registration staff for the verification and updating of electoral lists by checking house to house all over Pakistan. The booklet is in Urdu. All the relevant instructions are there. It also provides specimen copies of the various Forms meant for preparing the lists.
To be more specific, this booklet provides ‘Wazahat’ (explanation) of some important points, at its end. The last point mentioned is: Ahmadiyon key vote ibtidai intikhabi fehrist mein elahdah darj kiye jaen gai aur, register key sufah key ooper “Ahmadiyon ke liye” likha jae ga; that is: “Ahmadis’ votes will be entered separately in the Initial Electoral List, and at the top of that register the notation “For Ahmadis” will be entered.” (Annex X to Annual Report 2011) It is noteworthy that the Commission entered this instruction in the booklet on its last page as the last entry; this betrays the guilt feeling.
The new Form A, for registration of fresh voters, is essentially the same as the old Form 2. It has a column for religion which specifies religions as 1. Musulman, 2. Hindu, 3. Eesai, 4. Sikh, 5. Buddh, 6. Parsi, 7. Qadiani/Ahmadi, 8. Deegar (other) Ghair Muslim (Non-Muslim). It provides a square after each entry for ticking. The applicant is required to affirm with signature or thumb impression, the following oath (if he claims to be a Muslim):
“I affirm on oath that I believe completely and unconditionally in the finality of Prophethood of Khatam un Nabiyyeen Muhammad (peace be upon him), and I am not follower of any person who claims to be a prophet in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever after Muhammad (peace be upon him) or recognize such a claimant as prophet or a religious reformer; nor am I associated with the Qadiani group or the Lahori group nor do I call myself an Ahmadi.”
The language of the above affidavit is noteworthy. One can be confident that the inquisitors of the Spanish Inquisition in medieval ages would not have been more thorough in preparation of their affidavits.
This raises an important question. If the present democratic dispensation cannot put right the obvious wrongs in the field of human and democratic rights, what justification do they have in insisting that people should prefer them over autocratic regimes who otherwise deliver better services and governance in the short run?
Also, the ruling PPP considers its claim irrefutable that Ms. Benazir Bhutto gave her life for liberal democracy!
Punjab government in support of religious extremism
Lahore; October 21, 2010: According to a news headline in the Frontier Post of May 27, 2009 the Chief Minister of Punjab told the outgoing Australian High Commissioner. “Pakistan was facing threat of terrorism and extremism”. However, this perhaps suits the PML (N) fine, as is apparent from a formal government letter issued by the Home Secretary of the Government of the Punjab. The letter is registered as No. SO (JUDL.III) 7-15/2004 and is dated 21 October 2010. The letter orders the Principal Police Officer, Punjab, and District Police Prosecutor, Faisalabad inter alia to book and prosecute as many as 32 Ahmadis of Lathianwala under the Blasphemy law PPC 295-C. The background of this case is briefly stated below.
In July 2009, the police registered a case against 32 Ahmadis of Lathianwala, District Faisalabad under PPC 295-C, 295-A, 298-C, 506 and 109 for writing the Kalima and other Islamic phrases on their houses. The police thereafter undertook an operation and effaced all such writings from Ahmadi-owned buildings. During the investigation the police dropped the dreaded PPC 295-C from the charge sheet, concluding that it was not applicable under the circumstances.
It is learnt that the opposing religious zealots applied to the government of the Punjab to restore the PPC 295-C in the charge sheet. At this the Home Secretary proceeded to re-activate the lethal clause. He wrote the following, (excerpts):
“AND WHEREAS, after considering the fact constituting the said offence(s) and other circumstances of the case, I am satisfied that sanction for prosecution for the said accused is necessary and expedient.
“NOW THEREFORE, in exercise of the powers vested in me under section 196 Cr P.C. I hereby accord sanction for prosecution of the said thirty-two (32) accused before a court of competent jurisdiction.”
(Note: Among the said offence(s), the Secretary mentioned the Blasphemy clause PPC 295-C, and the PPC 295-A that may be processed in an Anti-Terrorism Court.)
The Secretary sent this letter for information and necessary action to the following as well, inter alia:
– The Registrar, Lahore High Court
– The Special Judge, Anti-Terrorist Court, Faisalabad
– The Chief Public Prosecutor, Lahore
The Secretary implies by this letter that he is satisfied that the 32 Ahmadis should suffer death for writing Islamic phrases on their homes.
The Punjab is ruled these days by Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Mian Nawaz Sharif, the Chief of PML (N).
It is suggested by some that when a higher official than a police inspector is appointed to allow/disallow registration of a Blasphemy case, that ensures rejection of a spurious case. However, if a high official like a provincial Home Secretary can deal with such cases so apathetically, the suggested solution is no guarantee against malafide registration of these cases.
Harassment of an Ahmadi
Shahdara, Lahore; October 2011: Mr Muhammad Asif Buttar, of Islampura, Shahdara, Lahore reported the following to community elders, and sought advice:
- “Abu Bakr, under the patronage of the local MPA (Sector 118) has formed an anti-Ahmadi organization “Shahdara Youth Forum”, and remains busy in harassing Ahmadi residents of this locality. As a result two Ahmadis, namely Masroor Ahmad Buttar and Muhammad Imran Butt have shifted from here elsewhere. Some days ago, I went to a dairy shop where Abu Bakr told me that two Qadianis had been made to flee from the neighborhood, and it would not be long before I would be dispatched.
- “A few days later my son went to the local bazaar. He was harassed there by insulting his faith, threats and foul language against me.
- “Then on September 28, 2011, my child was told at the dairy shop, that his father and family will have to leave the area like the two Ahmadis who were made to flee. They used foul words against the founder of Ahmadiyyat.”
This area is the same location where an Ahmadi was murdered last year and another, Mr. Basheer Ahmad, was attacked on September 7, 2011. He was hit by four bullets in the neck, shoulder and stomach. Abu Bakr and his patron MNA are well-known to the police and the administration.
Unending state-supported anti-Ahmadiyya agitation in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
AJ&K; September; 2011: Although general elections were held in Azad Kashmir and a new government took over, sectarian and extremist elements not only maintained their agitation against the Ahmadiyya community but also raised its level to a threatening point. This is done with the collusion of ruling politicians.
Ch. Abdul Majeed, the prime minister visited a religious center at Faizpur run by Mulla Atiq-ur-Rehman (MLA) (sic), and while making uncalled for remarks against the Ahmadiyya community was reported by the press in a headline as:
Qadianis’ activities will be watched in Azad Kashmir – Ch. Abdul Majeed
The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Rawalpindi; September 9, 2011
At the same occasion, Mulla Atiq-ur-Rehman was reported by the same newspaper to have said: “Muslim children should never be taught by Qadiani teachers (in public schools). Qadianis can exist here only as a non Muslim minority. … They are not allowed to practice Islam. (etc)”
In view of the above, the Director Public Affairs in the Ahmadiyya head office at Rabwah wrote the following letter to the President of Pakistan and a similar one to the President of Azad Kashmir (translation from Urdu):
Nazarat Umoor E Aama
Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Rabwah (Pakistan)
Ph: 047-6212459 Fax : 047-6215459 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Asif Ali Zardari
President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Subject: Anti-Ahmadiyya activities – a request to restrict them
For some time now there has been increase in organized anti-Ahmadiyya activities in Azad Kashmir. Unfortunately these elements have been patronized by the government of Azad Kashmir. Ch. Abdul Majeed the prime minister of AJ&K and Pir Atiq ur Rehman, member of the AJ&K Assembly and President of Jamiat Ulama Jammu and Kashmir are in the lead of such activities in public rallies.
These people have been mentioned in the news for their anti-Ahmadiyya activities since the 2011 general elections. They add to sectarian strife by making adverse comments against the Ahmadiyya community. Since the PPP took over the government in AJ&K, elements opposed to Ahmadis keep issuing press statements on the issue of posting and transfers of Ahmadis in public service.
These elements freely proclaim Ahmadis as Wajib-ul-Qatl and urge the people to undertake Jihad against them. An organized campaign is underway to declare Ahmadis a minority and to curb their religious freedom on the same lines as Pakistan did in 1974. Fabricated accusations are leveled against the founder of Ahmadiyyat; this could lead to tragic consequences.
The grave situation prevailing in the country requires that such activities should be curbed and the authorities should not support them.
Such anti-Ahmadiyya activities are a conspiracy and a plan of religious extremists and anti-social elements, in the holy name of religion. These are basic to the spread of sectarianism. Unfortunately, the electronic and print media also provide them partial support.
Consequently, hundreds of Ahmadis have been killed for their faith. Assaults and countless other hate-promoting activities and incidents are over and above these murders.
Sir, you are the head of the state of Pakistan, and the co-chairman of the PPP as well. Your party is at the helm of affairs in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. As such you bear double the responsibility. These issues which are closely related to the peace and co-existence in the country deserve your immediate attention and action. We hope that you will take appropriate action.
Director Public Affairs (Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya)