Prisoners of conscience (2005 – 2010)

2010

 

Three Ahmadis given imprisonment sentence on faith based charge

Chak 21/WB, Vehari; January 28, 2010: Mr. Ijaz Ahmad, Mr. Yasin and Mr. Latif were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and fined five thousand rupees each, on January 28, 2010 by a magistrate Hidayat Ullah Shah in Vehari, Punjab.

A case was registered against five Ahmadis on February 5, 2005 under anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298-C. This happened when Mr. Muhammad Arshad, an Ahmadi religious teacher in Chak 23/WB was being transferred to Chak 549. He loaded all his personal belongings in a trolley on February 20, 2005, and was on his way to his new post. On the way, armed anti-Ahmadi zealots intercepted him, took possession of his belongings, took out his religious books, notes and professional records etc, and later handed all this material to the police. The police, in pursuance of the interceptors’ report, registered a criminal case under the Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298-C against not only the Ahmadi teacher but also four other Ahmadis. The FIR accused Ahmadis of preaching their faith to “poor innocent Muslims (gharib aur sadah loh Mussulman) on Hospital Road…, and they fled throwing away their pamphlets and literature, which were presented in evidence by the accusers”. They demanded in the FIR that further anti-Islam and anti-Mussulman literature should be recovered from the accused. This reminds one of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 when they arrested some Australians on the charge of preaching Christianity and of being in possession of Bibles. The police, in any civilized country would have detained such zealots on the charge of armed robbery.

Thereafter a judge refused to release the accused on bail. Eventually bail was granted by a higher court three months later. The prosecution however continued for five years. The state fielded false witnesses and rigged a fabricated and improved story. In the meantime one of the accused Mirza Muhammad Iqbal died. Mr. Arshad was mentioned no more in the challan or trial. The other three Ahmadis were arrested in the court and led to the prison to serve their sentence of imprisonment.

 

Three year imprisonment for wearing shirt with Kalima on it

Mirpur Khas, Sindh; July 10, 2010:    The Additional Session Judge, Mirpur Khas, Zareena Abbasi, sentenced Mr. Tahir Ahmad to three years in prison, for wearing a T-shirt on which the Kalima (Islamic creed) was written. The case was registered in 1999. The youth was prosecuted for 11 years. Over the years, he has spent long periods in prison which had adverse affect on his mental health. The incident which led to his arrest is mentioned below.

Mr. Tahir Ahmad Nadeem received a T-shirt from a relative in the U.S. The Kalima (Islamic creed) was beautifully written on its front. He put it on and went to the town. There, mullas and some gangsters noticed his shirt and attacked him. They grabbed him, beat him up, tore off his shirt and kept it with them. Later in the day, the police raided his house and arrested him. They responded to the threats of the mulla, who threatened to create a law and order situation, close down the city and burn the Ahmadiyya mosque. Rather than arresting those who endangered the peace, the administration arrested the victim and charged him under section PPC 295-A. If upheld in a court, the youth could have ended up in prison for 10 years. Sher Khan, the DSP reported to the mullas that the police had accepted their demand and a criminal case had been registered.

At the insistence of the mulla, the police again raided the residence of the victim in search of similar garments. None were found. However, the inspector took away two copies of the Holy Quran saying that it was illegal for Ahmadis to keep the Quran at their homes. During the night, the police beat up the youth severely and obtained some inconsequential community information from him. The police pushed their cowardly and shameful act further by taking steps to refer the victim’s case to an Anti-Terrorist Court.

Thereafter, at some stage the police applied the more serious PPC 295-C (the Blasphemy law) to the case and added the Ahmadi-specific PPC 298-C.

The judge held that the accused used no derogatory remark in respect of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), but held him guilty of posing as a Muslim. So under the PPC 298-C she awarded the youth the maximum penalty. The accused received the benefit for the period he remained in jail, during the trial.

A young man, who was in normal physical and mental health, has been destroyed by the joint efforts of the mulla, the state and the society.

 

Registration of police case

Faisalabad; June 29, 2010: The police detained an Ahmadi on false accusation of distributing the daily Alfazl, an Ahmadiyya publication, to non-Ahmadi homes. The case was registered against Mr. Asghar Ali of Mustafa Abad under Ahmadi-specific PPC 298-C, on June 29, 2010 with FIR No. 633/2010 in Police Station Batala Colony, Faisalabad.

Mr. Ali was arrested, but a court released him on bail a few days later. He is now facing the charges in a court.

Faisalabad continues to be a tinder box due to sectarian and inter-religious tensions. The police remain soft towards the extremists; this encourages them to undertake aggression and violence against other groups, which escalates the tension. In this particular case also, the police, rather than being tough with religious thugs, placated them by registering a case against an innocent man, on the basis of fabricated evidence. This attitude of the authorities leads eventually to the type of violence in which two Christians were murdered in court premises in Faisalabad in June this year.

 

Again – in District Faisalabad

Chak 194, Lathianwala, District Faisalabad; September 12, 2010: Only four days earlier, they murdered an Ahmadi in Faisalabad city. A few weeks earlier they killed three Ahmadis in one attack in the same town. In September 2009, they killed Mian Laiq Ahmad.

The mullas of the Sunni Tehrik, helped by the police have made life almost unbearable for the Ahmadis of Lathianwala. It was in this village where the Faisalabad police booked 32 Ahmadis in 2009 in a fabricated case under the blasphemy law and anti-Ahmadiyya law. It seems that some Ahmadis have decided, enough is enough.

Mr. Nasir Ahmad had an argument with a non-Ahmadi on September 12, 2010 over a financial transaction. The fire-fight broke out because Ahmadis had to defend themselves against perpetual harassment and aggression. As a result, a passer-by was killed. It was not certain whose bullet hit him. The opposition gave it a sectarian colour, took out a procession, blocked the road and burnt tyres. The police found it convenient to move against Ahmadis in general and arrested 10 of them. Thereafter they registered a murder case against four Ahmadis by name and ten unnamed. The named Ahmadis avoided arrest, while the police arrested seven Ahmadis from the mosque and three from the village against the 10 unnamed virtual accused. It was all wrong, a fabrication and conspiracy to put pressure on the Ahmadi party.

The next day, the opposition took out a procession and threatened to set fire to Ahmadi homes. The police proceeded to lock the Ahmadiyya mosque and confiscated the weapons of those who were performing security duty there.

Thereafter, the community elders met senior police and administration officials to convey their concern. The officials told them that they knew that the vendetta was initially personal and not communal and also it was not known whose bullet killed the passer-by, as the firing took place from both sides. They told Ahmadis to present the four named accused. Later when these four reported to the police, they released the ten Ahmadis.

The tactics of the police of arresting the innocent and locking up a place of worship only to procure arrest of some named accused are worth noting. Although both the parties exchanged fire and it is not established whose bullet caused the death of the passer-by, the police and the administration put almost the entire burden on the Ahmadiyya population. The biased attitude of the police is troubling indeed.

 

Domineering mullas

Chak Sikandar, District Gujrat; February 2010: An Ahmadi boy removed a banner. Mullas made it a big issue, took out a procession and agitated the public. The police called both the parties on March 2, 2010, registered a case against four Ahmadis, and arrested one, Tahir Ahmad on the spot.

 

Oppression in Rabwah

Rabwah; July 27, 2010: Two Ahmadis own houses in eastern part of Rabwah, which the authorities have unlawfully designated as ‘Muslim Colony’. Ahmadi owners of property continue to face harassment from the mullas and officials in that area. Mr. Asad Shafiq and Munir Ahmad undertook repairs to their houses, and a mulla intervened. He reported to the police and demanded arrest. The police, without due inquiry detained them and charged them in separate cases. Both were later released on bail; but the prosecution goes on.

 

Three Ahmadis sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment under Ahmadi-specific law

Mirpur Khas, Sindh; March 30, 2010: The Civil Judge Mirpur sentenced three Ahmadis, Mr. Masood Ahmad Chandio, Mr. Abdul Razzaq and Mr. Abdul Ghani to three years imprisonment under Ahmadi-specific law.

This case was registered almost four years ago. At the instigation of two mullas, one Muhammad Ali son of Sharo reported to the police and had a criminal case registered under PPC 298-C, 341 and 34 against five Ahmadis for preaching, in FIR 62/2006 at Police Station, Satellite Town, Mirpur. Two of the accused, namely Maula Bakhsh and Muhammad Akbar who were fresh converts were arrested by the police. The other three, Messrs. Masood Ahmad Chandio, Abdul Razzaq and Abdul Ghani went into hiding and applied for bail before arrest.

Later, when the plea for bail of the five accused was presented in the court, the two detainees told the court that they had recanted. The magistrate, however, did not release them on bail and sent them to prison. Thereafter, the other three accused applied for bail in the Sessions Court, where the plea was granted.

This case lingered on for four long years. The Civil Judge awarded maximum sentence under the law to the accused. The law is specific to Ahmadis, and has been condemned internationally as a bad law by the human rights concerns, because it severely restricts freedom of religion and belief.

 

Epilogue to the Layyah Case

It will be recalled that more than a year ago, four school-going children and an adult Ahmadi from District Layyah, Punjab were accused of blasphemy and arrested. They remained in prison for approximately six months before being released on bail. They however faced trial in the court, and we are happy to report that they were acquitted of the charge by Judge Rana Muhammad Qasim ADSJ Multan on April 24, 2010. This is an appropriate occasion, to take stock of this malicious case and comment on the role of different actors in this painful drama with the benefit of hindsight.

  • The case was initiated by bigots who were known to have links with religious parties like Jamaat Da‘wa, a group banned for terrorism. Still the administration and the police, rather than confronting these extremists, obliged them by doing their bidding.
  • The case was pushed by political heavy-weights from PML(N). Its MNA Syed Saqlain Shah and his uncle Syed Iqbal Shah, a former MPA provided support to religious extremists, and put pressure on the police to register the case, arrest the accused and move against Ahmadis. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Senior Vice President of PML (N) also participated in this anti-Ahmadiyya agitation.
  • The police found it convenient to yield to the agitators, and proceeded to arrest the accused in violation of the law. Thus, they maintained order by being harsh on victims rather than the fanatics. According to the law, no officer less than the rank of superintendent of police is to investigate the charge, but in this case the local inspector decided to register the FIR basing it on hearsay, and made arrests on the very first day.
  • The vernacular press played its contemptible role as usual at the occasion. For example the weekly Awaz Kot Addu blazed a six-column banner headline:

Napak Qadianion ko sare aam phansi do, Mal‘un aur Shaitan sift Qadianion (kafron) ki napak jasarat ke khilaf pura sher sarapa ehtajaj i.e. Hang the filthy Qadianis in public. The entire city in grave protest against the lewd temerity of cursed and satanic Qadiani infidels. The letter-size of the heading was 54 mm, extremely rare in the world of print media. Its front page carried photos of six angry mullas. The authorities, despite the declared anti-sectarian policies of the government, took no action against the tabloid.

  • The SP who was subsequently assigned the task of investigation rendered no report within the stipulated 14 days, but took four months. Although he came to the firm conclusion that the complainant party had no evidence in support of the FIR, still the authorities callously did not withdraw the case, and pushed the fabricated charge.
  • At this stage, the police should have, at least, supported the accused’s plea for bail, and the sessions court should have accepted the plea. However, the police and the judge both failed to do so, and the innocent children stayed on in prison. Credible evidence of mutual collaboration between the administration and the judiciary at the occasion is available.
  • Soon after the eruption of the agitation, the school authorities took the unbecoming action of rusticating Muhammad Irfan, one of the accused students. In fact, hardly any public official took any action to allow for the tender age of the accused. These minors had to sit their important matriculation examination in prison. While in prison, Irfan had a serious attack of malaria and developed symptoms of hepatitis B and C. Still no relief was provided to the child.
  • While in prison the conditions were tough. Mr. Mobashir Ahmad, in his fifties, was a heart patient and asthmatic. He was put in solitary confinement, and was denied the relief of daily walks outside his cell.
  • More than five months after arrest, the level of plea for bail had to be raised to the High Court, where the good judge Justice Pervez Inayat accepted it. However, instead of being released the same or the next day, as normal, it was a week before the afflicted youth walked out free.
  • All along, those in authority, in the province as well as the federation, were kept informed of the absurdity and gravity of this case against the innocent children, but they took no action to undo the fabrication.
  • At the occasion of court appearances, mullas assembled in large numbers inside and outside the court, and posed serious threat to the accused. They should have been effectively discouraged from doing so by authorities. Now, even after their acquittal, the innocent are unable to return home and lead a normal life.
  • Major human rights groups like HRCP and AHRC and political quarters of EU and USA showed concern in this case and urged the government of Pakistan to take the appropriate measures, but to no avail.
  • It is relevant to mention that religious extremists, who filed the false report, precipitated a serious law and order situation and issued threats to the authorities have gotten away with their evil maneuvers, and the state is made to appear powerless before them.

One is reminded of a well known Resolution passed unanimously by the National Assembly in October 2008 that declared, inter alia: “The nation stands united to combat this growing menace with a strong public message condemning all forms and manifestations of terrorism, including the spread of sectarian hatred and violence with a firm resolve to combat it and address the root causes.” However the well-known cleric, Dr Israr Ahmad will be remembered by some for his blunt remark: “Pakistanis as a people are the greatest hypocrites in the world.” (The daily Pakistan, Lahore, January 3, 2009)

 

Released after more than six years in prison

Lahore; May 26, 2010: Mr. Muhammad Iqbal, an Ahmadi of District Faisalabad who was serving a life sentence for alleged blasphemy has been acquitted by Mr. Justice Ali Yawar of Lahore High Court on hearing his appeal against a lower court decision. Mr. Abid Hussain Manto, Advocate pleaded this case.

Mr. Iqbal was in his 7th year of incarceration. He was released from the prison on June 3, 2010.

 

2009

Arrests as a result of blatant misuse of Anti-Ahmadiyya laws

Sillanwali, Sargodha; March 4, 2009: A police case vides FIR 96/09 was registered on March 4, 2009 against fifteen Ahmadis at Sillanwali police station in District Sargodha, Punjab. The Ahmadis were charged under Section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code which is specifically an anti-Ahmadiyya piece of legislation. The accused were charged with having a place of worship, “Which they call a Mosque and use to offer Friday prayers and Eid prayers therein”. Furthermore, they were charged with ‘posing’ as Muslims under the aforementioned Penal Code. Three persons, Mr. Aziz Ahmad, Mr. Muhammad Ashraf and Mr. Khizar Hayat were arrested and police raids were conducted to arrest the remaining persons.

The police registered another case, and proceeded to arrest four Ahmadis. A case was registered against them under 298-C with FIR No. 201/09 at P.S. Silanwali on April 28, 2009 over an incident dated May 25, 2008. Six Ahmadis of Silanwali were implicated in this new case. They were accused of preaching. They were Mr. Hafeezullah, Mr. Ismatullah, Mr. Noor Muhammad, Mr. Tariq Ahmad, Mr. Inayatullah and Mr. Ahmad Hayat – the local Ahmadiyya religious teacher. The first four were arrested by the police. Their bail was confirmed on May 4, 2009.

 

Headmaster arrested under Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298-C

Kharian, District Gujrat; May 13, 2009: The police registered a case under PPC 298-C against an Ahmadi, Mr. Mubashir Ahmad at Kharian with FIR 197/09 on May 13, 2009. Mr. Ahmad was headmaster of a government high school. The police arrested him. He was old and suffered from diabetes.

 

Arbitrary arrest of an Ahmadi

Badomalhi, district Narowal; September 29, 2009: Two Ahmadis, Mr. Javed Ahmad Malhi and Mr. Tahir Hameed were falsely booked under Ahmadi-specific PPC 298-C at Police Station Badomalhi on September 29, 2009 with FIR 110/09 on a fabricated accusation. Mr. Mahli was arrested immediately.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: The Society.

 

Children became victims of the blasphemy law

Kot Sultan, District Layyah (Punjab): The police charged four school-going Ahmadi children aged 14 – 18 and an adult on a false charge of blasphemy, under section PPC 295-C on January 28, 2009 with FIR 46/09 at police station Kot Sultan and arrested them. Details are available in section Persecution Archives: The Society.

 

Ahmadis in prison for years

  1. Mr. Muhammad Iqbal was imprisoned for life in a fabricated case of blasphemy. He was arrested in March 2004, and is currently incarcerated in the Central Jail, Faisalabad. An appeal was filed with the Lahore High Court against the decision of the Sessions Court. It is registered as Criminal Appeal No. 89/2005. He is now in the sixth year of his imprisonment. He awaits a hearing from the high court.
  2. Three Ahmadis; Mr. Basharat, Mr. Nasir Ahmad and Mr. Muhammad Idrees along with 7 others of Chak Sikandar were arrested in September 2003 on a false charge of murdering a cleric. The police, after due investigation found no evidence against the accused. Yet they faced a ‘complaint trial’ for a crime they did not commit. Based on the unreliable testimony of the two alleged ‘eye-witnesses’ (who were discredited in court), seven of the accused were acquitted, but on the same evidence these three innocent Ahmadis were sentenced to death. They are being held on death row at a prison in Jehlum, while their appeal lies with the Lahore High Court. They are now in the seventh year of their incarceration. Their appeal to the Lahore High Court is registered as Criminal Appeal No. 616/2005 dated 26 April 2005.
  3. Dr. Muhammad Asghar was arrested on a fabricated charge of blasphemy in June 2008. The judge rejected his plea for bail. The police investigation found him innocent. Subsequently his plea for bail was rejected by the High Court – and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has directed his expeditious trial which is now in progress.

 

2008

Registration of a police case and arrests at Kunri

Kunri, District Mirpur Khas (Sindh):

In the month of September 2008, two prominent Ahmadis, both presidents of district Ahmadiyya communities in Sindh were assassinated by felons unknown. In the same month another Ahmadi was murdered for his faith in Karachi. We are not aware what, if any, progress the Sindh police has made in apprehending the criminals involved in these violent attacks. However, we know and regrettably report what the Sindh Police did to the innocent Ahmadi citizens of Kunri in the next three months.

The police charged two Ahmadis of Kunri on September 22 with FIR 86/08 at the police station. They accused Rana Khalil Ahmad of writing a blasphemous letter to the Khatib (cleric) of Jame Masjid Kunri. Mr. Rashid Iqbal was accused of writing something religious on a road with chalk. The police, unbelievably, applied the blasphemy clause PPC 295-A to the charge sheet, and then added to it the ultimate PPC 295-C. The penalty for 295-A is ten years’ imprisonment, while 295-C prescribes death. Still not content with this outrage they booked the two under anti-terrorism law that allows prosecution in special courts. This was indeed scandalous.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: Administration-Police.

 

Malicious and injurious accusation

Nankana Sahib:          Here is a typical case that shows how far some elements of society are willing to go to harm Ahmadis in the name of religion and Khatme Nabuwwat. It reflects poorly on the moral and intellectual health of society in Pakistan.

In June this year, activists of the Khatme Nabuwwat organization put up defamatory posters on a wall in Nankana Sadar. Someone tore off one of these and the group rushed to the police to lodge a complaint against 16 Ahmadis for Blasphemy. Of these 6 were named and 10 anonymous in FIR 351/08. The police registered the case, raided Ahmadi homes and detained individuals. One of those arrested was an elderly gentleman, Dr Asghar Abdul Rahman. They held him as the prime suspect and interrogated him for days. Eventually, by 10th September 2008, the investigation was completed, and the police concluded that the doctor was not the one who tore down the poster. But , then there as more to come.

Freedom of religion violated drastically; two Ahmadis arrested

Rawalpindi; November 8, 2008: The police of R.A. Bazaar, Rawalpindi registered a case under law PPC 298-C that is specific to Ahmadis, on November 8, 2008 against two Ahmadis with FIR 691/2008. They arrested Mr. Abdul Hameed Ghani and Mr. Habib Ahmad. The former is the president of the local Ahmadi community, while the latter teaches Ahmadis matters of religion.

 

Anti-Ahmadiyya riot in Kotri – 60 houses affected

Six Ahmadis booked and arrested under a religious law and other laws

Ahmadis told to miss weekly congregational prayer

Kotri, Sindh; June 2008: Kotri witnessed intense harassment and uncontrolled agitation by extremists against Ahmadis in June this year. The authorities decided not to dissuade the mulla from taking the law in his own hands and instead proceeded to victimize Ahmadis further with help from the religious law.

Kotri has a sizeable Ahmadi community. They number close to a thousand. They are mostly living in Labor Colony of the SITE area. However, they are not allowed to have a place of worship there, on account of opposition by the religious lobby, so they make do with prayer centers etc. A few mullas find it professionally lucrative to ferment sectarian tension against Ahmadis at all times. In this they have enjoyed general support from the local police in the past. This makes life very troublesome for Ahmadi residents of the Colony.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: Administration-Police.

 

A spurious but grave charge

Kabirwala, District Khanewal; March 3, 2008: Malik Altaf Hussain, an octogenarian was charged under PPC 295-B for allegedly defiling the Holy Quran, and was arrested. The FIR was registered at Police Station Kabirwala on March 3, 2008 as No. 62/08.

Mr. Hussain is a respectable pious man, but he is old with impaired hearing. At about 0800 he went out to read his electricity meter. While there, a boy pointed out to him that his foot was on a printed paper. Mr. Hussain had some difficulty in understanding him. It turned out that the paper carried Quranic text. The boy went home and informed his elders who are associated with a madrassah. They approached a few other mullas and made a big issue out of it. They informed the police and threatened agitation and riots. The police proceeded to arrest the old man. Ahmadi leaders, on hearing the story of the incident, approached the police and told them that this was not an incident of defiling the Quran. No Ahmadi would ever do that. However, the police refused to drop the issue. They charged the old man under PPC 295-B for which the punishment is imprisonment for life.

The old man remained behind bars for four months. Eventually he was declared ‘Not Guilty’ by a judge.

 

The entire population of Rabwah booked under Ahmadi-specific law

History repeats itself after 19 years

Rabwah, June 7, 2008: On December 15, 1989 the authorities charged the entire population of Rabwah in FIR No. 367/89 at Rabwah Police Station under the Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298-C. Now, almost 19 years later, they have done it again, not having learnt the lessons of history.

 

Blatant and serious violation of Ahmadis’ human and fundamental rights

Place of worship sealed by order. 12 Ahmadis booked, 2 arrested without charge.

Chak No.5, District Badin, Sindh: In order to settle a dispute of a personal and social nature, the Muhajirs of the locality decided to invoke anti-Ahmadiyya prejudice and intervention by clerics. They telephoned Muhammad Yaqub the mulla of Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat. He took some people along with him and raided the Ahmadiyya mosque at Chak 5, which was open at the time. They stole a few copies of the Quran, Hadith and other books, went back and reported to the police.           The police should have charged the mullas for theft, but strange as their ways are, they decided to carry out raids at Ahmadi homes at night and make arrests.

 

Arrested for having joy

Kot Momin, District Sargodha; May 27, 2008: Mr. Muhammad Farooq Jajja, an Ahmadi religious teacher and Mr. Muhammad Ehsan were booked and arrested by the police for celebrating the Khilafat Jubilee in their mosque.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: Administration-Police.

 

A convert is arrested

Dera Ghazi Khan, May 27, 2008: Mr. Rab Nawaz, a new convert to Ahmadiyyat and Mr. Nadeem Ahmad his Ahmadi acquaintance were charged under the Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298-C for preaching on May 27, 2008.

Mr. Nadeem had given a copy of the Holy Quran to Mr. Rab Nawaz. The copy bore his signature. Sanaullah, a brother-in-law of the latter reported the two to the police and presented the Quran as evidence. The police registered the case and arrested Mr. Rab Nawaz.

The FIR No. 345/08 was registered at Police Station Sadr, Dera Ghazi Khan under PPC 298-C on May 27, 2008 against Messrs Rab Nawaz and Nadeem Ahmad. Mr. Rab Nawaz was released on bail a fortnight later.

 

Still another arrest under the Ahmadi-specific law

Chicha Watni: Subedar Mushtaq Ahmad, a 75-years old Ahmadi, retired army JCO was sent for and arrested by the police under PPC 298-C for preaching, in response to a report by mullas. The action was precipitated after the observance of the congregational Friday prayers.

 

Four Ahmadis booked

Goth Ahmadiyya, District Mirpur Sindh; April/May 2008: Four Ahmadis, Mr. Bashir Ahmad s/o Mr. Nasir Ahmad, Mr. Rashid Ahmad, Mr. Mubarak Ahmad and Mr. Nasir Ahmad were booked under Ahmadi-specific PPC 298-C and 298-B. The incident is indicative of the current state of both Pakistani state and society.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: The Judiciary.

 

Mullas get full support from the police

Kotri; May 16, 2008: Mr. Nasir Ahmad, Ahmadi of Bhitai Colony, Kotri (Sindh) married a widow (who has four children). On May 9, 2008 some mullas went to his home and manhandled him. They accused him of marrying a ‘Muslim’ woman. They forcibly took him to the police station. The police obliged the clerics by registration of a criminal case against Mr. Ahmad under the Ahmadi-specific PPC 298-C. In the FIR the cleric was not shy to mention that he is “a member of the Aalami Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat and an ex-Amir of the Jamiat-ul-Ulma Islam Fazlur Rahman Group”. Mr. Ahmad was arrested.

The FIR No. 201/08 was registered at P.S. Kotri, District Jamshoro, under section PPC 298-C on May 9, 2008.

Mr. Nasir Ahmad was released on bail one month after his arrest.

 

Attacks in Azad Kashmir, June 2008

Numerous incidents of gross violation occurred in District Kotli of Azad Kashmir during June 2008. These were precipitated jointly by the authorities in league with the mulla. Ahmadiyya mosques were defiled, many Ahmadis were booked in police cases, arrests were made and the sizable Ahmadi community in the district faced severe persecution. Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: Administration-Police.

 

The authorities target residents of Rabwah – Ahmadiyya center in Pakistan

The authorities decided to move against the business community of Rabwah during the holy month of Ramadan. They accused them of using words like Khilafat (caliphate) and Imam in the Ramadan time tables. They registered a police case against a number of businessmen and arrested them. This story is reported in some detail in section Persecution Archives: Administration-Police.

 

2007

Prisoners of conscience

Hundreds of law-abiding Ahmadi citizens, have suffered detention and incarceration in prison since the promulgation of Ahmadi-specific laws in 1984 by the dictator-president General Zia. Almost all of them never had a police record prior to their implication on religion-based accusations. Most of them were denied bails by lower courts. Some of them were refused bail by High Courts. Four Ahmadis of Mianwali suffered incarceration for four years while awaiting trial, as the Supreme Court did not spare time to hear their appeal for bail. Eventually, the trial judge heard the case and acquitted them of the fabricated charge. He reprimanded the complainant severely, and wrote: “This is case of no evidence…. The complainant party have made a tool for the worldly benefit and aim, and also used the name of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him) for this purpose. The evidence of the prosecution is based on previous enmity, litigation, and interested and false witnesses are produced to prove this case of punishment of death…”. The protracted cruel fabrication cost the victims seven precious and prime years of their lives, four of these in prison. The stress took its toll, Mr Riaz Ahmad, one of the accused died soon after the verdict of  acquittal.

 

Two Ahmadis arrested under Ahmadi-specific law

Karachi, June 2, 2007: The police booked two Ahmadis, Messrs Shahid Mahmud Ansari and Amir Ahmad Ansari of Gulshan Sir Syed under PPC 298-C and 506-B, and arrested them. They were lodged in Landhi Jail.

The case was registered at Police Station Sarjani Town. Addition of PPC 506-B (threat to cause death or grievous hurt) to the Ahmadi-specific clause PPC 298-C is obviously a fabrication and malafide. If declared guilty, the two accused could be imprisoned for seven years.

They applied for bail, but the Judicial Magistrate rejected their plea. The plea was then made before the District and Session Judge at Karachi who granted their release on bail on July 23. However, the bail was approved over a sum of Rs. 100,000 each which was rather large for their means. The community then arranged the bonds for the bails, and the victims came out of the prison.

 

Ahmadi arrested under Ahmadi-specific law, and maliciously subjected to the anti-terrorism law

Nakdar, District Sargodha; June 8, 2007:      Mr. Saeed Ahmad, Ahmadi was booked under PPC 298-C at Police Station Nakdar, District Sargodha on June 8, 2007 in FIR No 73/2007. He was arrested subsequently.

The accuser, mulla Mushtaq Ahmad is an Ushar collector. He accused Saeed Ahmad spuriously of preaching. In the written complaint for FIR, he urged the police to register the case against the Ahmadi under the Blasphemy law, PPC 295-C. Knowing that the mulla was not reliable, they down-graded the charge to PPC 298-C. Even then, the victim is exposed to three years in prison.

Later, when a plea for release on bail was moved with the magistrate, it was learnt that they had added Clause 9 of the Anti-terrorism Act to the charge sheet. This is tyranny – pure and simple. The bail application was rejected, of course. The accused remained in prison for a while before a higher court accepted his plea for bail.

 

How the Judiciary functions!

Faisalabad: The village Mangat Unche in District Hafizabad has a sizable Ahmadiyya community and is thus targeted by the mullas of Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat. In the year 2004 the clerics inflicted three of the local Ahmadis with an accusation of defiling the Holy Quran, under PPC 295-B. The Additional Session Judge (ASJ) found the prosecution witnesses unreliable, even liars, so he acquitted two of the accused. However, based on the testimony of those very liars, he convicted the third accused and awarded him imprisonment for life for burning pages of the holy book.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: The Judiciary.

 

Follow-up of a spurious criminal accusation

District Sargodha: A septuagenarian Ahmadi was booked in June 2007 at Police Station Nakdar for preaching. The case was registered not only under PPC 298-C, an Ahmadi-specific law, but also they viciously added Clause 9 of the Anti-terrorism Act to the charges. This certainly terrorized the old man. But there was more to come. They arrested him

 

2006

Two innocent Ahmadis are imprisoned for two years and fined Rupees 5000 each

Shorkot, District Jhang; June 5, 2006: Magistrate Akram Tarar sentenced two Ahmadis, Messrs Haq Nawaz and Nazir Ahmad to two years’ imprisonment and Rs. 5000/- fine under PPC 298C, a clause of the Ahmadi-specific law. The prosecution lasted almost seven and a half years. The two accused were arrested after the court verdict and subsequently taken to the prison at Jhang to serve their sentence. Essential details of this case given below are typical in that they are indicative of the origin, development and outcome of such cases registered under the notorious Ahmadi-specific laws.

Chak No. 20 Kaggh, a village in district Jhang is home to three Ahmadi households. They have a small mosque where they worship. On the face of the mosque is written their creed in Arabic: “There is none worthy of worship except God; Muhammad is His Prophet.” The mullahs, encouraged by the state support and the sectarian lobby, decided to strike a decisive blow on the small community. They decided to hold an anti-Ahmadi conference in the village. Large posters were printed and pasted on walls in Kaggh and the surrounding villages. The poster named a host of Ulema of the Khatme Nabuwwat faction, the Sipah Sahaba (now banned for its terrorist activities), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and some madrassahs, who were to speak at the conference on October 10, 1998.

The sectarian open-air conference took place as planned, and the clerics indulged in their usual slander and provocation. They enjoyed unwritten license for such activities from the federal and provincial governments that were headed then by Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif respectively. The mullahs were not content with only a verbal onslaught; they decided to do long-term material harm to Ahmadi residents of the village. They conspired and tasked Hafiz Dost Muhammad, a local mullah to get a criminal case registered with the police against four Ahmadis. The next day, the Hafiz made a written application to the police that the four Ahmadis, Haq Nawaz, Muhammad Siddique, Nazir Ahmad and Zafar Ahmad had re-written afresh the Kalima (Islamic creed) on their mosque; they say Salam to Muslims and thus injure their feelings and preach Ahmadiyyat to others; as such they were guilty of Blasphemy. An FIR No. 30/89 was thus registered at Police Station Shorkot Cantt on October 12, 1998 under PPC 295C for which the penalty is ‘death’. The police and the mullahs jointly wiped off the Kalima from the mosque.

The Ahmadis ‘under threat’ moved fast to arrange bail before arrest, but it was not confirmed subsequently and was cancelled by the Additional Sessions Judge on November 8, 1998; and the four accused were arrested. Ahmadis approached the District and Sessions Judge and appealed against the absurdity of the Blasphemy charge. He was good enough to see that, and ordered that the blasphemy clause be substituted by PPC 298C, the Ahmadi-specific law. Subsequently, the four were released on bail for the duration of the trial. The accused are cultivators and peasants with meager incomes, less than one dollar a day; they suffered the tribulations of a court trial for years. Mr. Muhammad Siddique who was advanced in age, suffered frail health under the stress and strain of the senseless trial, and died. Mr. Zafar Ahmad was a young man; he managed to flee abroad, and thus escaped from the tyranny and persecution. The other two had to stay put and meet the obligation of providing for their large families. Now they were sent to prison for years on the charge that they say Salam and profess in the Islamic Republic that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah.

Mr. Nazir Ahmad is 70 years old and has a big family. He owns only 1 ½ acre of land. When in prison, his family would have to subsist on charity. Mr. Haq Nawaz is 47 years old. He has 9 children, most of them of school-going age. He barely managed to support his family. Putting it mildly, the state, that treats its citizens in this manner, is in a sad state of affairs – what else can one say?

Fortunately, a good judge allowed them bail recently, while they await a decision on their appeal against the sentence.

 

Vicious application of the Blasphemy law

Tando Adam, Sindh: October 31, 2006:         Mr. Muhammad Tariq, an Ahmadi from Nawab Shah was traveling on a bus. When close to Tando Adam, the town where notorious Mullah Hamaadi resides, the poor fellow was attacked by vultures of extremism and he ended up in the police lock-up, exposed to the possibility of legal murder.

 

Booked and arrested under Ahmadi-specific law

Rabwah; January 8, 2006: The police registered a case under PPC 298C and 16 MPO against Mr. Muhammad Latif Butt son of Mr. Imam Din, and arrested him. The FIR no. 21/06 was registered at Police Station Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) on the orders of no other than the District Police Officer himself, accusing Mr. Butt of preaching.

 

Arrests and registration of criminal case under Ahmadi-specific law

Mirpur Khas, Sindh; June 23, 2006: At the instigation of two mullahs, one Muhammad Ali son of Sharo reported to the police and had a criminal case registered under PPC 298C, 341 and 34 against five Ahmadis for preaching. Two of the accused, namely Maula Bakhsh and Muhammad Akbar who were fresh converts were arrested by the police. The other three went into hiding and applied for bail before arrest.

 

The evil of Ahmadi-specific law

Nama Jandeka, District Okara; August 10, 2006: The police registered a case under PPC 298C, the Ahmadi-specific law, against Mian Muhammad Yar, president of the local Ahmadiyya community, and arrested him for preaching. The FIR was registered as No. 46/06 dated 10 August 06 at Police Station Haveli Lakha, District Okara.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: Administration-Police.

 

Arrests at Jhando Sahi

In an anti-Ahmadi riot in Jhando Sahi, District Sialkot, on June 24, 2006, miscreant attacked Ahmadi persons, set fire to Ahmadi businesses, looted personal belongings of all Ahmadis, destroyed the Ahmadiyya mosque and made the entire local Ahmadi community flee from their homes to save their lives.

Five weeks later, the refugees were given the signal to return to their homes. A conscientious efficient administration should not have taken more than five days to ensure safe conditions for the evicted to return home. However, it is gratifying that the affected people who were living in a Langar Khana (community kitchen) were able to go back to their homes, even if these homes were now empty. They had no utensils to cook their food, and their beddings and charpoys had been looted. The authorities gave no undertaking that they will receive any compensation. The molested community lost its place of worship; they worship now under the blue sky, on the plot where only the ruins now stand. None of the rioters or riot-leaders was arrested, although they were known to the authorities, and were booked. No official, representing the government visited the riot-affected community to offer sympathy and support.

After the riots, the police detained 7 Ahmadis. They kept four and let go three. Out of the four, they charged two under PPC 295 B on bogus charge of defiling the Quran by burning. More than 4 months later, the police released these two also as a result of a mutual unequal agreement between the two communities that they will not press charges against each other. It was an unfair deal in that none of the rioters who were guilty of assault, arson and loot was punished for his serious crimes.

 

In prison at the end of the year 2006

  1. Mr. Muhammad Iqbal was awarded life imprisonment in a fabricated case of blasphemy. He was arrested in March 2004 and is now incarcerated in the Central Jail, Faisalabad. An appeal (Criminal Appeal No. 89/2005) lies with the Lahore High Court against the decision of the Sessions Court.  The case was registered against Mr. Iqbal under FIR 73/04 on March 23, 2004 at Police Station Tarkhani, District Faisalabad, Punjab. The details of this harrowing case are available in Chapter 2 of the Annual Report for 2004.

Having lost her husband to the tyranny of the state-mullah team, Mr. Iqbal’s wife now lives on charity. A son was born to her a few weeks after her husband’s arrest. The child’s life is no better than that of an orphan. The accusation of blasphemy against Mr. Iqbal was entirely false.

  1. Mr. Mansur Hussain was arrested under PPC 295B in December 2004. The judge found him guilty of disposal by burning some old pages of the Holy Quran, and he wrote in his judgment: “ It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that accused acted in ill will manner and willfully..”, and awarded him ‘imprisonment for life’ Mr. Mansur is married, and was the sole supporter of his family consisting of wife Ms Kausar aged 29, and three children; a son aged 13, two daughters aged 10 and 8. These dependents miss him greatly. Their plight is difficult to describe.

Mr. Mansur Hussain’s appeal No. 1885/2005 is awaiting a hearing at the Lahore High Court. It is his third year in prison for something which according to some jurists is not even a crime; in fact the best and very respectful way of disposal of old pages of the Holy Quran.

  1. Three Ahmadis namely Messrs Basharat, Nasir Ahmad and Muhammad Idrees along with 7 others of Chak Sikandar were arrested in September 2003 on false charge of murder of a mullah, at the complaint of Ahmadi-bashers. The police, after due investigation found nothing against all these accused. Still the innocent faced a ‘complaint trial’ for a crime they did not commit. Based on the unreliable testimony of the two alleged eye-witnesses (who were proven false in the court) the court acquitted seven of the accused, but on the evidence of the same two liars the court sentenced these above-named three innocent Ahmadis to death. They are lodged in death cell at Jhelum Prison, while their plea for justice lies with the Lahore High Court. It is now over three years that they are in prison. Their appeal to the Lahore High Court is registered as Criminal Appeal No. 616/2005 dated 26 April 2005.

 

2005

Since 1984 when Ahmadi specific Ordinance XX was imposed by General Zia, there has not been a single day when an Ahmadi was not in prison in faith related charges. Such is the evil of this law that is the legacy of that Islamist dictator; and there is not even an audible whisper to abrogate it. The procedure to process a criminal accusation in Pakistan makes it very easy for the mullah to lodge a complaint followed by immediate arrest by the police. Lower courts are normally reluctant to release the Ahmadi accused on bail. Relief is sometimes provided by High Courts, but that takes a great deal of time and involves heavy costs. The blasphemy accusations, always false and fabricated against Ahmadis have often resulted in prosecution and sometimes conviction.

 

Victims of Ahmadi-specific law

Vehari; Malik Khalid Mahmood, Addl. Sessions Judge, Vehari dismissed the plea for bail on April 8, 2005 of ‘Muhammad Yaseen etc’ charged under PPC 298C for alleged preaching. The text of the Order of the learned judge became available and is worthy of record and notice.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: The Judiciary.

 

Arrest of the District President of Ahmadi Community Bhakkar

Haiderabad Thal, district Bhakkar: Dr Dilband Ali, the President of Ahmadiyya Community district Bhakkar and his two sons were arrested in a fabricated case, by the police on March 15, 2005. An FIR No. 61/05 was registered against them under PPC 436 at police station Haiderabad Thal. The victims face 5 years’ imprisonment under this law. Although the law invoked is not a religious law, the accusation and the follow-up were manifestly based on anti-Ahmadiyya prejudice.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: The Society.

 

Religious provocation and arrest of the victims

Chak 563 GB, District Faisalabad; September 9, 2005: Blatant provocation by a mullah of the Khatme Nabuwwat organization resulted in a brawl that led to the arrest of the mullah and two Ahmadis and registration of  criminal cases against them.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: The Mulla.

 

An innovation in state-persecution of Ahmadis

Mianwali: The police registered a criminal case on October 12, 2005 against Mr Irfan Ahmad, an Ahmadi subscriber to the monthly KHALID, under Section 42/44 Registration of Printing Press and Publications Ordinance 1988, in FIR 376/05 of Police Station Mianwali City, and arrested the gentleman. The accuser in this rare case is the police itself, and they acted in league with the Post Office department.

Case details are available in section Persecution Archives: Administration-Police.

 

Agitation and arrest in District Sialkot

Dhariwal, Tehsil Pasrur:         Anti-Ahmadiyya elements agitated the public based on a lie against an Ahmadi. They accused the Ahmadi,Rana Ashraf of insulting the companions of the Holy Prophet; in fact, a colleague had a personal grievance against the accused.

 

A youth is charged under Ahmadi-specific law and other religious laws

Kakki Nau, District Jhang; March 31, 2005: A young man, Abdur Razzaq son of Naseeruddin Rajput decided in February to join the Ahmadiyya Community. Due to lack of experience, he did not fully understand the implications of his decision and his vulnerability under the laws of the land. He contacted the local mullah and boldly advised him to study the ‘Real Islam’. The mullah got angry, started making noise and assembled a crowd. Abdur Razzaq was beaten up by the miscreants who delivered him to the police that charged him under PPC Sections 295/A, 295 and 298C, and sent him to jail. The young man was exposed to a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment. His plea for bail was rejected by the Civil Judge and then by the Sessions Judge. He could get some relief only at the High Court.

 

A convert faces the consequences

Chak 172 TDA, District Leyya:           In March, 2005, Mr Muhammad Imran son of Mr Muhammad Siddique joined the Ahmadiyya Community. His family came to know about his conversion and visit to Rabwah. They tried to make him recant, but in view of his reluctance, beat him up severely. He was handed over to the police subsequently. They detained him for a few days and urged him to tell them the names of Ahmadis who were instrumental in persuading him to switch over. Eventually, his own relatives secured his release. His father formally disinherited him from share in his agricultural land. His parents took away his national identity card and driving license to put more pressure on him. His four brothers have also turned against him.

 

Release of a detainee

Kotla Naseer, District Rajanpur; March 23, 2005: Mr Azeem Bakhsh, Ahmadi was arrested by the police at the complaint of a mullah on Ahmadi-specific charge. The police, finding no substance in the complaint, finally released the detainee after 32 days. The incident shows how vulnerable an average Ahmadi is in the present-day religious environment of prejudice and intolerance.

 

Arrest of 13 Ahmadis

A mullah, Muhammad Ishaque Saqi of the Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat managed to get a case registered against 15 Ahmadis under the notorious Blasphemy law PPC 295C and various other clauses at police station Hasilpur in FIR No. 176/2005 on June 17, 2005. Eventually 13 Ahmadis were arrested. The case is obviously malafide as prima facie it is highly improbable for 15 individuals in blasphemy against the Holy Prophet of Islam.

The case shows the evil collaboration between the mullah and the constable.

 

Iqbal serving imprisonment for life

Mr. Muhammad Iqbal was awarded life imprisonment in a fabricated case of blasphemy. He was arrested in March 2004, and is now incarcerated in the Central Jail, Faisalabad. An appeal now lies with the Lahore High Court against the decision of the Sessions Court. The case was registered against Mr. Iqbal under FIR 73/04 on March 23, 2004 at Police Station Tarkhani, District Faisalabad, Punjab. The details of this harrowing case are available in Chapter 2 of the Annual Report for 2004.

 

Three Ahmadis sentenced to death

Three Ahmadis namely Messrs. Basharat, Nasir Ahmad and Muhammad Idrees along with 7 others of Chak Sikandar were arrested in September 2003 on false charge of murder of a mullah, at the complaint of Ahmadi-bashers. The police, after due investigation found nothing against all these accused.  Still the innocent faced a ‘complaint trial’ for a crime they did not commit.  Based on the unreliable testimony of the two alleged eye-witnesses (who were proven false in the court) the court found the seven Not Guilty and acquitted them, but on the evidence of the same two liars the court sentenced these above-named three innocent Ahmadis to death. They are lodged in death cell at Gujrat Jail, while their plea for justice lies with the Lahore High Court. It is now over two years that they are in prison.  They were booked under FIR 455/03 dated September 4, 2003 at Police Station Kharian Sadar, District Gujrat.

The details of this pitiful case are available in section Persecution Archives: The Judiciary.

 

Three Ahmadis arrested on charge of defiling the Qur’an; one of them is imprisoned for life

Three Ahmadis namely Mr. Shahadat Khan, Mansur Ahmad and Hafiz ur Rehman were arrested in December last year on false charge of defiling the Holy Quran by burning its pages. They were arrested under PPC 295B for which the penalty is life imprisonment.  Mr. Hafiz ur Rehman was not even present in the village on the day of the incident.  FIR 280/04 was registered against the accused at Police Station Kassoki; District Hafizabad on December 18, 2004. They were  incarcerated in prison at Gujranwala.

The three remained in prison for 11 months. Eventually the judge acquitted two, and sentenced the third, Mr Mansur Ahmad to imprisonment for life.

The details of this painful case are available also in section Persecution Archives: The Judiciary.

 

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