Prisoners of conscience (2011 – 2012)

2012

 

Criminal case registered against bridegroom and his family

Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore; September 2012:  Mr. Hassan Mamoon, an Ahmadi youth married Miss Aleena Butt who was from a non-Ahmadi family but had become an Ahmadi a few months before marriage, with the permission of her father.

The marriage took place in a situation that apparently posed no legal or religious problem. However, a week after the wedding Mr. Raheel Butt, an uncle of the bride wrote to the police that the Mamoon family had preached Ahmadiyyat to his niece; as such they had violated the anti-Ahmadi law PPC 298-C.

In the follow-up of the complaint the police booked Mr. Mamoon’s family and raided their residence for arrests on 7 September 2012. They managed to arrest Mr. Salman Mamoon, an elder brother of the bride-groom. They kept him in police lock-up for two days, and then approached a magistrate who allowed a judicial remand of ten more days. He was taken to the camp jail. This was the wedding gift to the family from the state!

Mrs. Mamoon, the mother of the bridge-groom was also booked by the police. She applied for bail prior to arrest, which was granted temporarily till September 20.

Mr. Salman Mamoon also applied for bail. The bride’s father told the judge that the bride’s decision to become an Ahmadi and marry Mr. Hassan Mamoon had his approval. Despite this, the judge rejected Mr. Salman Mamoon’s plea for bail.

Mr. Hassan Mamoon, the bride-groom fled abroad to avoid arrest. A few weeks later the Foreign Minister of Pakistan managed to convince the participants in a UN meeting that all was well and satisfactory in Pakistan in the field of human rights. The international community voted with a thumping majority in favour of Pakistan to be a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

 

 

Arrest in Bhakkar under Ahmadi-specific law

Chak 70 ML, District Bhakkar; June/July 2012: Chaudhry Mansur Ahmad president of the local Ahmadi community was booked under Ahmadi-specific law PPC 298-C on July 4, 2012 with FIR No 9/12 registered at Police Station Mankera, on fabricated charge of proselytizing. If declared guilty, he could be imprisoned for three years and fined any amount. He was arrested on June 30, 2012, four days before the registration of the case. Essential details of this case are noteworthy.

Mr. Ahmad went to the local Milk Collection Centre on June 27, 2012 to deliver milk as per his daily routine. At this Centre, their rep started talking religion and asked Mr. Ahmad as to the nature of divergence in Ahmadiyya beliefs vis-a-vis other Muslims. Mr. Ahmad told him that there was no great difference; the essential difference is the Ahmadiyya belief that Prophet Isa died like all other prophets and was not lifted physically to the skies.

While he said this, there were two young men sitting nearby. They did not say anything at that time, but the next day they intercepted him, were harsh with him, and accused him of misguiding the people. The by-standers intervened, rebuked the miscreants and restored calm. “Mr. Ahmad answered my question; you have no cause to raise an objection”, the rep defended Mr. Ahmad. The two accusers shut up but thereafter reported the incident to mullas who passed the info to the chief of the district organization of the Khatme Nabuwwat, Din Muhammad Faridi. He promptly wrote a letter to the Police Station Mankera to register a criminal case against the Ahmadi president for preaching. The police agreed to investigate.

The mullas demanded immediate compliance with their demand. They threatened to agitate over the issue. The police found it convenient to detain Mr. Mansur Ahmad. He was arrested on June 30, and sent to district Mianwali prison.

The clerics of the Khatme Nabuwwat faction availed of the incident to promote inter-communal hate and unrest. They hired a few teen-agers to scout the three Ahmadi families who reside in the village. These urchins posed a threat to the targeted families and restricted their freedom of movement. The mullas declared that they would take out protest rallies on July 6, 2012, a Friday. Ahmadis requested the DPO to take note and provide protection.

The DPO did take note, but ordered the SHO to register an FIR against the Ahmadi who was already under arrest.

Mr. Ahmad applied for bail, and the court decided to hear the plea on July 14. On that date the state prosecutor asked for more time to prepare the case, so the court gave July 16 as the next date.

On that hearing the court accepted the plea for bail and the gentleman was released on July 18, 2012 on completion of formalities. He still has to face the charge in the trial court.

While the mullas’ conduct should surprise no one, the role of authorities who insist that they respect the international norms of human rights and freedom of religion for all, surely deserves censure. The police took the most convenient actions: 1. arrested the accused immediately, 2. the DPO provided no protection to the vulnerable families, instead ordered the registration of the case as demanded by mullas, 3. moved the accused to a far away prison 4. the state prosecutors readily accepted to prosecute the accused without due inquiry, and even attempted to delay the hearing of the plea for bail. It is obvious from all this that the state is keen to do the mulla’s bid.

Mr. Hamdani, a column-writer for the daily Mashriq, Lahore happened to meet a cleric of the Khatme Nabuwwat faction, in the Lahore High Court, who stated with great pride, “The Mirzais (Ahmadis) have been reduced to the level of Untouchables (Chuhray); and soon, by the grace and blessing of Allah, they will stand eliminated.” God save Pakistan whose religious leaders strive hard to push a section of their own population to the depths of the social and cultural hell – and take pride in having achieved that.

 

Police atrocity in Sindh

Khoski; District Badin:           The police booked and arrested Mr. Noman Ahmad, Ahmadi, unjustly on demand of a mulla, in a fabricated case. They detained his father too but set him free subsequently.

An absentee house-owner had given the keys of his local house to Mr. Noman Ahmad and had told him to give it on rent to some suitable family. A non-Ahmadi family, without contacting Mr. Ahmad, entered the house after breaking the lock. Mr. Ahmad went to the location and protested to the occupants.

The occupant made a false report to the police that Mr. Ahmad had attempted to snatch the gold ornaments of his wife and had an altercation with them. The complainant added the name of Mr. Ahmad’s brother, Mr. Mudassar to the list of accused. The police accordingly arrived and detained Mr. Ahmad. The neighbours protested over the arrest and told the police that Mr. Ahmad had lived there for years, was a respected fellow and enjoyed good reputation.

The complainant contacted the local mulla, Abdullah Sindhi, and took him on board. The mulla organized a protest and procession after the sunset prayer and led the crowd to the police station. There, he demanded that until the arrest of Mudassar, his father Imtiaz Ahmad should be detained. The police obligingly did what the mulla told them. The mulla arranged anti-Ahmadi wall-chalking in the neighbourhood the same evening.

The police registered a case the next day against the two brothers. They let go their father. On August 7, Mr. Noman Ahmad applied for release on bail, however it could not be processed, and he was moved to the central prison in Badin. His brother, Mudassar Ahmad, who was out of town succeeded in arranging a bail before arrest for himself. The sectarian situation in the neighbourhood continues to be tense. The mulla is in the driving seat – thanks to the police.

 

President of local Ahmadiyya community arrested

Sillanwali, District Sargodha; July 23, 2012:            The police arrested Mr. Muhammad Ashraf S/O Mr. Abdul Rahman, president of the local Ahmadiyya community under PPC 298-C, law specific to Ahmadis.

The mullas gathered outside the Ahmadiyya mosque on July 22, 2012 and demanded erasure of Quranic statement from the accused’s shop: “O ye who believe, say the straight-forward words.”   They were told that Ahmadis would neither erase it nor allow any member of the public to do it. At this the crowd headed for the police station. The police detained the president on their demand the next day on July 23, 2012, booked him under anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298-C with FIR No. 469/12 dated 23.7.2012, and formally arrested him.  Later he was released on bail, but has to face prosecution in a trial court.

 

Police case fabricated against three Ahmadis

Ghatialian, District Sialkot; August 20, 2012:                       The police registered a case against a few non-Ahmadis and four Ahmadis upon the application of a mulla Qari Afzal, who accused them of hurting his feelings and intimidation. The police registered the case under PPC 298, 506 and 34 with FIR no. 231 in Police Station Qila Kallarwala. The Ahmadis named in the case were Mr. Naeem Ahmad, Mr. Gulfam Naeem, Mr. Ahsan Ramzan and Mr. Shahid Abdullah. The first three of these Ahmadis were not even present at the time of the incident. A temporary bail was obtained for them. On October 15, 2012 the Additional Session Judge of Pasroor changed the applied penal code in the case with PPC 298-C, an anti-Ahmadiyya clause, and rejected the temporary bail of Ahmadis. The police arrested all the Ahmadi accused and sent them to jail. A bail application was moved in the magistrate’s court; it was granted on October 23. The accused still have to face a trial.

 

2011

 

A teen-age student exposed to the tyranny of the blasphemy law; an unrelated Ahmadi is detained and told to deliver the student to the police

Khushab:        Rana Sajeel Ahmad, a 16-year old Ahmadi student of Pubic High School Khushab was beaten up severely by a gang of students on November 23, 2011. This led to a dispute that resulted in the dreaded charge of blasphemy against him.

Subsequent to the beating, the attackers accused Ahmad of preaching his creed and defiling the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). The school administration found it convenient to accept the fabrication. The next day, Rana Hakim Jamil, father of the victim, met the school principal, but he expelled Ahmad from the school accusing him of blasphemy.

Four days after the attack, two applications were delivered to the police station. The first one was from Waqas Ahmad, an activist of the Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat who had obtained signatures of 12 students over a fabricated statement of the victim, “Your prophet is false; my prophet is true.” The applicant demanded that a criminal case be registered against Rana Sajeel Ahmad under PPC 295-C, the blasphemy law. It is relevant to mention here that according to most of these mullas it is perfectly acceptable, even desirable, to support the cause of religion through falsehood.

The second application was moved by Qari Saeed, the divisional chief of Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat. He accused therein that Rana Hakim Jamil had declared the religion of his son as Islam on the Entrance Form of the school. He demands that the father be prosecuted under PPC 298-C, the anti-Ahmadiyya law.

In fact, the Form was not signed by the father, it bears the signature of Rana Danial who is a brother of Rana Sajeel Ahmad. At the time of admission, Danial was told to sign on the dotted line; “the rest of the columns would be filled by the school administration”, he was assured. This is not unusual in Pakistan for procedures which are considered a mere formality.

The next day the DPO was requested to intervene. He heard the plea of the accused but said, “The case will be registered under PPC 295-C and 298-C immediately on availability of the evidence.” He told Ahmad that “these crazy people” would kill him.

After making written complaints to the police the mullas turned to their ‘standard operating procedure’. They held rallies in which they declared that if the police did not register the blasphemy case, they would take out processions and rallies. They declared that the two accused were Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be put to death). They issued a resolution (translation): “If the police do not register a blasphemy case against Rana Sajeel and Rana Hakim Jamil, they will be responsible for all that would happen to both. We are prepared to go to any length to protect the honour of the Prophet.” The mullas sent their emissaries, armed with this resolution, to other towns in the district.

As a result of these activities, and the police failure to handle the mullas firmly, the law and order situation in the town became delicate. The two accused felt that their lives were under threat, so they went into hiding. The police decided to placate the miscreants further.

The DPO sent for both the parties. Ahmadiyya delegation met the DPO on December 12, 2011, but did not present the accused for fear of their safety. Their opponents arrived in a huge crowd and presented their false witnesses well-briefed. The DPO was more concerned with maintaining calm than with dispensation of justice. He ordered that Mr. Asfand Yar be booked under 16 MPO, and that Sajeel be presented. The police arrested Asfand Yar who was not even accused by the mullas, to compel the family to deliver the two accused, who decided to avoid exposure to the lynch mob.

A few days later, the police booked Rana Sajeel Ahmad under PPC 295-C the blasphemy clause and his father Rana Hakim Jamil under PPC 298-C the anti-Ahmadiyya clause. Asfand Yar remains detained by the police who say that he will be released if Sajeel is presented. That is the Pakistani way: arrest an innocent member of the family to force them to deliver the accused, even if the charges are entirely false. The Express Tribune of December 15, 2011 reported the event at length under the headlines: Blasphemy charges: Out of fear, Ahmadi family on the run. Blasphemy allegations continue to haunt minorities in Pakistan.

There is reason to believe that the DPO knows that the blasphemy accusation against Sajeel is false, as no Ahmadi would ever say that Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was a false prophet, but to avoid unrest and protect his career, he, like most others, opted to pass the case to the courts to decide. The much-trumpeted procedure, under rule section 156-A requiring a Superintendent of Police to investigate the accusation prior to charging an accused failed once again. It would fail almost every time, the unworthy drafters of this Rule designed it that way.

 

The ‘crime’ of Islamic prayer in Islamist state

Sadullah Pur, District Mandi Bahauddin (Punjab); July 21, 2011:            A court sentenced two Ahmadis for offering funeral prayers in accordance with Islamic practice, to one year imprisonment, in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The verdict was announced by the Civil Judge Phalia on July 21, 2011. The clerics celebrated the verdict and distributed sweets.

This case was registered against 18 Ahmadis of Sadullah Pur on April 8, 2003 under PPC 297 and the anti-Ahmadiyya clause PPC 298-C, in Police Station Pahrianwali. They were accused of offering funeral prayers of an Ahmadi in accordance with Islamic custom. These were the days of the ‘enlightened moderation’ of President General Musharraf, now in exile.

As per details of this case, Mr. Ghulam Rasul, Ahmadi died on April 6, 2003. He was buried in the common graveyard after routine funeral rites. The incident was reported to the police. The police were happy to take notice, registered a criminal case against as many as 18 Ahmadis and proceeded to make raids to arrest the accused. They arrested 4 Ahmadis including the community president, Mr. Mahboob Ahmad, an old man over 70, and Mr. Aziz Ahmad, a brother of the deceased. Bails were later obtained, although mullas agitated a great deal to get the bails cancelled.

These Ahmadis were prosecuted for the next eight years. Eventually a judge announced one year imprisonment for the president of the community and the brother of the deceased and acquitted the other sixteen. Mr. Mahboob Ahmad an octogenarian was arrested from the courts’ premises and taken to the police lock-up in Phalia.

The mullas distributed sweets in Sadullah Pur after the verdict and announced “victory” in the nearby village of Pindi Dhotran.

 

A false accusation in Goleki

Goleki, District Gujrat:           One, Sarfraz Ahmad, an anti-Ahmadi fanatic was murdered by unknown assassins on October 20, 2011 at about 08:15 hr. while going to his job in company of another man. The complainant named seven men, Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis, as involved in the murder. The fabricated list included an Ahmadi who is behind bars (in some personal case) another who is away residing in Switzerland and a third who is not residing in the village.

It is true that the deceased was a local leader in the anti-Ahmadiyya activities in Goleki, but Ahmadis were not involved in his murder. As he was an anti-Ahmadi activist, the complainant party found it convenient to name three Ahmadis along with four non-Ahmadis as accused. They also mentioned in the FIR three anonymous persons for involvement in the murder. It is a common practice in the Punjab to implicate as many adversaries as possible in the FIR. Mention of ‘anonymous’ as accused leaves the door open to add others to the list subsequently. The police welcome such fabrications for their own reasons.

The mullas have put a great deal of pressure on the police to move against Ahmadis. They declared on loudspeakers that Ahmadis were responsible for the murder, so they and their properties should be targeted. Ahmadis are Wajib ul Qatl, they asserted.

In the meantime, responding to the demand of clerics, the police detained an Ahmadi teacher, Mr Nusrat Ahmad for investigation. Mr Ahmad is a local official of the Ahmadiyya community. His non-Ahmadi relatives visited the victim’s family for condolences and protested against the detention of Mr Ahmad, to which they responded, “We know that he is innocent, but he is a Mirzai (Ahmadi); if he recants we’ll ask the police to set him free.”

One Raza Mitta, a local politician who is recently adopted the appearance of a mulla, was seen at the police station shouting at the staff there telling them to make more arrests.

It is worth mentioning that in a somewhat similar case an anti-Ahmadi mulla and his son were murdered in Chak Sikandar by unknown killers seven years ago. His brother named 10 Ahmadis falsely as the killers. The court acquitted seven of the accused but sentenced three to death. These three remained in prison for seven years, and were acquitted by the High Court on appeal. In the meantime the real culprits got away scot free.

 

A fabricated complaint to the police, from Ahmad Nagar

Ahmad Nagar, District Chiniot; January/February 2011:   Two non-Ahmadis, a butcher and a cleric from this small town sent an application against a dozen Ahmadis to the DPO asking for police action.

The butcher and the cleric wrote to the DPO that 12 (named) Ahmadis preach their creed in the open; they get drunk and display firearms to provoke the Muslims, bully Muslim men and women, and thus pose a threat to law and order of the town, etc. The application is a fabrication drafted by some crafty mulla.

The DPO, who reports to his superiors in Lahore, the capital of the Punjab, had to show due (in fact, undue) concern for a complaint received from the majority community, so he directed the SHO Chenab Nagar to “take action as per law and ensure both security and peace in the area.” However, only a year ago, the DCO Chiniot took the credit of handing over an Ahmadiyya mosque to non-Ahmadis, that was built by Ahmadis, on Ahmadi-owned land and used by Ahmadis for over 20 years. That DCO justified his shameful action on baseless grounds of ‘pre-empting the extreme law and order situation.’

            The following were named in the application: Arshad S/o Allah Rakha, Jahangir S/o Jalil Khan; Ashraf S/o Allah Rakha; Asif S/o Afzal Butt; Junaid S/o (M Anwar Butt); Adnan Butt S/o (Ahmad Tariq Butt); Fazil Butt S/o Aslam Butt; Nazir Ahmad (Jeela) tailor master; Sarmad Butt S/o Idrees Butt; Mian Khalid S/o Allah Yar; Saleem ricksheywala; Hamid S/o Karim; Safiulla S/o Samiullah, and a few unidentified persons.

Subsequent to another fabricated complaint, the police registered a case of ‘theft’ against a respectable Ahmadi elder, Mr Malik Muhammad Rafiq, aged 70, and proceeded to arrest him.

Briefly, Mr Rafiq purchased a plot of land in Ahmad Nagar from the Canal Department in 2002 when this Department had no further need of their dilapidated office on that plot. Subsequently, Mr Rafiq demolished the office rooms and secured the plot with some construction and a four-wall. The plot is adjacent to Ahmadiyya main mosque in Ahmad Nagar. This makes it a crucial property for the party opposed to Ahmadis. And sure enough, Bashir Ahmad, a Patwari (revenue clerk) in league with an official of his department sent an application to the police to register a criminal case of theft of doors and windows against Mr. Rafiq, nine years after the sale of the property. The police, obligingly, registered the case and arrested the rightful owner.

Mr Rafiq contacted the senior officials of the concerned department and requested intervention. They made their investigations and follow-up. In the meantime the police released Mr. Rafiq.

One is perpetually at risk if one is an Ahmadi in Pakistan, particularly in the Punjab, these days.

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