Non-return of nationalized Ahmadiyya educational institutions
This is a case of gross injustice that violates basic norms of good governance, rule of law and the principle of even-handed attitude towards all sections of society. It has been going on for the last 11 years.
Briefly, in 1996 the government notified its policy that it was ‘pleased’ to transfer the nationalized schools to the Private Management, under certain terms and conditions. Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya whose 10 schools and colleges had been nationalized, met all those terms and conditions, including payment of a large sum of money, but 11 years later, for unstated reasons the authorities have not transferred the management back to Ahmadis, while they have returned numerous other institutes to many other parties all over the country. This has violated Ahmadis’ right to non-discrimination, as also the principle of equal citizenship as declared by the Quaid-i-Azam in his famous speech of August 11, 1947.
Here are some facts of the case in essential detail.
Following educational institutions were owned and managed by Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Pakistan since 1947:
1. Talim-ul-Islam (Primary and High) School, Rabwah
2. Nusrat Girls (Primary and High) School, Rabwah
3. Fazl-e-Umar High School, Rabwah
4. Talim-ul-Islam High School, Kharian, Gujrat
5. Ahmadiyya Primary School, Shadiwal, Gujrat
6. Talim-ul-Islam Primary School, Chukananwali, Gujrat
7. Talim-ul-Islam High School, Ghatialian, Sialkot
8. Ahmadiyya Girls High School, Sialkot
These institutions were nationalized and taken over by the government in 1972. From 1972 to 1996 they had been managed by the Government of the Punjab.
In 1996, a gazette notification No: SO (A-1) SA-1-18/90-A-III dated 28-07-1996 was issued by the Government of the Punjab according to which the owners of the nationalized educational institutions were given the option to take back their institutions after fulfilling certain terms and conditions. The Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya wanted to avail of this governmental offer and contacted the concerned department and authorities. All the terms and conditions prescribed by the relevant authorities were complied with, and a sum of Rs. 1,10,12,483 equal to the emoluments and allowances of the staff for six months to one year was deposited in the government treasury at that time.
Again in July 2002, under the revised notification No. S.O. (R&B) 1-18/90-A-III) of scheme for Denationalization of Nationalized educational institutions to previous managements was issued. But to-date no action has been taken by the Punjab Government. Many reminders have been sent by the Ahmadiyya community to the government since 1997.
The government had taken over the management of two of the Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya’s colleges as well, namely (1) Talim ul Islam College, Rabwah and (2) Jamia Nusrat College, Rabwah. Subsequent to the revised notification, the Sadar Anjuman applied to the Government of the Punjab on 13.7.2002 to denationalize these as well. The government has not done so, nor given any response in writing to our request. It is almost unbelievable that during the last 11 years on this important case, and having received a large amount of money from the Anjuman, a Charity, the provincial authorities at Lahore have not responded officially even once in writing to Ahmadiyya letters/faxes/petitions. No acknowledgement either, whatsoever. Whether it is the culture of government’s impunity, a way to avoid accountability, or simply sting of conscience — one does not know. Ahmadis’ rights, however, remain denied to them.
In the absence of any official response one can only guess. There is strong indication that the basis of this ‘denial by inaction’ is political hoggishness. Powers-that-be have decided to negate their own public policy, due to self-interest and at the cost of public interest. They have found it convenient to sacrifice Ahmadis’ civic rights in response to hoax threats from militant sectarianism. The law and order is a lame excuse. It is well-known that authorities are capable of implementing the state’s writ and policy wherever and whenever they want to. Even in the field of denationalization, the case of Forman Christian College is well-known. It was denationalized in the face of severe opposition and wild threats. Nothing happened, except the fait accompli of the transfer of management.
It is also very relevant to mention that these institutions, apart from a sharp decline in their educational standards, are now suffering from gross neglect by officials, and the lack of proper maintenance has severely affected their physical state. During the past few months, two incidents have occurred in which parts of the ceiling and roof fell down resulting in injuries to a teacher and the students. The press reported these incidents. The only action that the authorities took was to declare the buildings ‘Dangerous’, but they failed to provide a safe class room instead. The situation is nothing short of criminal neglect. Parents are now very apprehensive regarding the safety of their children. As the government is incapable of maintaining and running these institutions, it should return these to their original owners without further delay – as per its own policy.
Pakistan aims to be a modern and progressive state in the global village. To this end, it has to cultivate a vibrant civil society that flourishes in environment of good governance and fair play among all. The authorities should not arbitrarily set Ahmadiyya institutions as ‘a case apart’.
Crumbling schools and colleges of Rabwah
Rabwah: The daily Aman, Faisalabad published a report titled: ‘Educational Institutions of Chenab Nagar’, in its issue of April 26, 2007. The writer, Mr. Mubashir A Cheema has mentioned the glorious past of these Ahmadiyya institutions and made a detailed comment on their present dilapidated state. He took up the case of Nusrat Girls High School in particular. Excerpts:
“The construction of Nusrat Girls High School completed on April 29, 1949. So the building is approximately 60 years old. It is a pity that on October 1, 1972, the government of a feudal and wadera prime minister Mr. Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto nationalized all the private educational institutions in the country. Excellent educational institutions run by the Ahmadiyya community, unfortunately were also a target of this unwise policy and suffered nationalization. As a result, these have been destroyed. Nusrat Girls High School is one among these. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat had built an impressive building at great cost over 70 kanals of land. With the passage of time, the government has neglected its maintenance; as a result the building is in ruins. It was a deliberate policy to neglect this booty and to spend nothing on its maintenance. As a result these impressive buildings have turned into ruins of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. It is noteworthy that subsequent to the injuries suffered by the girl students and the teachers, the office of the Sub Divisional Education Buildings had an extensive survey done of the dilapidated structures and declared them ‘Dangerous’ in its letter no 12.06.1997/827/EB. The Centre Headmistress of Government Nusrat Gils High School Chenab Nagar was informed that the building being dangerous was not to be used for classes, and further warned that in case of violation of this order, the school administration will be responsible for damage to life and property in case of mishap. In view of this, the teaching staff has no option but to conduct classes in open air under the sun in severe weather. The students have to sit on dirt ground. Their uniform clothing get dirty due to dust, and they look like spooks. The teachers suffer the same fate, and it becomes difficult to recognize them. Despite all restrictions and precautions, the library and science laboratory buildings collapsed due to old age, resulting in injuries to many students and teachers. It seems that the provincial education authorities are waiting for some greater tragedy, so that they can be seen in a photo session distributing Rs. 1 lac to each victim.
Here I may add that the founders of the Nusrat Girls High School had also built a well-equipped hostel where students hailing from distant area could stay and pursue their education. This building has collapsed due to inattention of the education officials of the Punjab government. As a result, the school administration had to close down the hostel. So, the girl students, from distant areas, have to rent houses and rooms in the town, for their lodging. Also, it deserves a mention that initially suitable latrines were provided for the students and the staff. However, these have perished because of age and lack of repairs, so there is great difficulty for those who need to answer the call of nature during school hours.
The overhead water tank has also crumbled with time. The ground water is not potable. In hot weather, thirsty students are known to have collapsed due to non-availability of drinking water and resulting dehydration. Some students go visiting the neighborhood to quench their thirst for water; this wastes their school time.
At the moment, there are approximately 2500 girl students and 65 teachers at the school. Lower staff, of grade 1 to 4, is in addition. The leading citizens and parents of the students have expressed great dissatisfaction and even anger over the lack of interest and inefficiency that invites major tragedy, of the Punjab Education Department and the District Government, Jhang. They have sent an application to Mr. Pervaiz Ilahi, the Chief Minister of the Parha Likha Punjab to take immediate notice of this short-sightedness. They wrote that it is not possible to meet the stated objects by simply distributing Rs. 200 per month from the American aid to each student for purchase of books; it is vital that students be provided with a safe building for class rooms and other essential basic facilities. The Punjab government must immediately spare adequate money to provide a new building for the Government Nusrat Girls High School, and the construction should start on urgent basis, so that students and the staff could continue their education in the great tradition of the past, and thus bring a good name to Pakistan. Only thus, this would bring a good name to Pakistan. Only thus, this great institution will revive its past reputation, and the dream of Parha Likha Punjab will be realized. Otherwise, the new generation will suffer again the darkness of ignorance. The citizens wrote that in the case of death of a student or teacher, the entire responsibility will be that of the Government of the Punjab and the District Nazim, Education Department.
It is often that the honorable Executive District Education Officer of the Secondary Education Punjab comes on his recreational tour (of the area) but he does not bother to attend to the dilapidated state of the buildings of the school in ruins. If the government is unable to rebuild and maintain the nationalized great institutions, it should revert these to their owners, who are ever ready to undertake their reconstruction.
Another obvious proof of the neglectful and indifferent attitude of the Punjab Education Department is the building of Government Talim-ul-Islam College, Chenab Nagar. The building of the Government Talim-ul-Islam High School also looks like an abode of ghosts on account of its dilapidated state. These buildings now await the attention of Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi, the Chief Minister of the Punjab. When is he going to spare the time? Political and religious leaders, the lawyers and parents have demanded immediate solution of this important problem.”
The shameless insistence
Faisalabad: The Assistant Education Officer Faisalabad issued still another unbecoming reminder on March 16, 2006 to the management of two schools that the word ‘Qadiani’ must be written on the schools’ display boards. It will be recalled that this grotesque order was initiated in 2003 by the provincial Education Department on behest of the Home Department in order to placate a mullah. The order was titled: “LETTER RECEIVED FROM MAULVI FAQIR MOHAMMAD”. This mullah was charged earlier under the Goonda Act (aimed at rascals) by Mr. Javed Qureshi, the Commissioner. A note on this letter is available on page 22 of the Ahmadiyya annual persecution report 2003.
Maulvi Faqir knows the art of letter-writing to authorities, and intimidates them politically. He also has access to the vernacular press where he spends some money, and gets his statements published as ‘news’ regularly. The authorities unwittingly find it convenient to placate this mouthpiece of extremism rather than uphold higher values of administration and human rights. Eventually, the relatively peaceful plains of the Punjab are slowly being corrupted to follow religious fault-lines of the Frontier province. The political leaders and bureaucrats at Lahore need to look beyond their nose. Hereunder, we produce English translation of the unbecoming official letter to the management of the schools:
Subject: To write “Qadiani” outside the school
You are conveyed that as per orders of the DEO you must write the word Qadiani on the board outside your school. Comply within two days.
If you respond this time as well with apathy and rigidity, you will be reported to higher authorities that you defy orders.
Consider this notice as the last. Thereafter legal action will be taken (against you).
Seal and signature
Mukhtar Hussain, Chaudhry
Assistant Education Officer (M)
Markaz City II, Faisalabad
The letter is registered as No. 076, dated 16.3.06.
Religion, a tool in the hand of miscreants
Ouncha Paharang, District Sialkot: Mr. Latif, an Ahmadi owns a Lower Secondary school at Ouncha Paharang for the last seven years. He undertook its extension and reconstruction. On October 7, some miscreants demolished its outer walls in the cover of the night, and the next day it was propagated that ‘Mirzais’ had undertaken construction of a ‘Center’ at that location. A man Masud Bajwah and a school teacher Fida Shah were the instigators of this propaganda.
Mr. Latif reported the incident to the police who advised that a formal complaint not be made, and a Panchayat decision should be sought. This was done. At this session, the opponents stated that they were not averse to the construction of the school; however, thereafter they maintained their propaganda drive. They have since invited different mullahs from outside to come to the village and deliver anti-Ahmadiyya sermons. Mullahs Atique, Afzal Bajwa etc have come and delivered slander. An open-air conference was held on 22.10.06.
In the meantime, the opposition has acquired a ‘Stay Order’ from a court. This is an easy way to enforce a stop to the construction. The court may take a long time to give a final decision, and the work would remain stopped all along. However, the general public knows the facts of the case and is sympathetic to Mr. Latif. The mullah’s propaganda continues in the meanwhile; and there is tension in the air.
School demolished by religious bigots
Ouncha Paharang, district Sialkot : The daily Nawa-i-Waqt published a news item on October 11, 2006 that there was communal tension in the Ouncha Paharang area due to the construction of an Ahmadiyya religious institution and the police had put a stop to the construction. The news were not credible, as the community had no such plans. On enquiry, it is learnt that an Ahmadi, Mian Latif owns a private lower secondary school in the village, which approximately 300 students attend. On account of shortage of class-room space, he had undertaken construction of a new building elsewhere. The mullahs demolished it in darkness after sunset.
Noteworthy incident at a state educational institution
A reflection on poor state of human rights in the context of freedom of faith in society
Rabwah: The Talim-ul-Islam College owned by the Ahmadiyya community at Rabwah, was nationalized 34 years ago. Since then, the government made it a point not to appoint any Ahmadi as its principal. Denationalization policy was adopted in 1996 but the college has not been given back to the Community. The college building is in a dilapidated state due to lack of proper maintenance, and has been declared ‘dangerous’. The college principal, Mr. Maqbul Ahmad is not an Ahmadi, while the vice principal Mr. Mubarak Ahmad Tahir is an Ahmadi. Last month an incident occurred here which got publicity in the press, and involved the mullah and the government. It is worthy of record as it is a reflection on the state of civil society in Pakistan, in the sphere of public education in particular.
The principal decided to depart on a month’s leave on September 22, 2006. As per rules, the vice principal Mr. Tahir took over as Acting Principal. The provincial education authorities ordered him to put up a feasibility report for shifting the college from the present building, declared dangerous, to the alternate location of the new campus. Mr. Tahir appointed a committee comprising senior professors to put up comments and recommendations.
The daily Jang, Lahore dated September 29, 2006 published the news of the change of the principal and the ‘shift’, giving it a major twist of mischief and falsehood. The news mentioned that the principal had gone abroad for further education (as if for a long duration, while he had actually gone only for a month to meet his family), and also the false news that Mr. Tahir had ordered that the staff and students shift over to the alternate site. No such orders had been given; only a committee had been formed to make recommendations in order to implement instructions of the government. The Jang news also stated that, “the students and the lecturers have protested and leveled accusation that the building was being evacuated under a conspiracy so that Qadianis could occupy it.” This was entirely incorrect. There was no conspiracy, no orders, no protests by the student nor by the lecturers. It is the usual Jang, leader of the yellow vernacular journalism in Pakistan. The name of this paper is ‘Jang’, which means ‘War’- an odd name in the world of journalism, when the whole humankind is yearning for peace.
The situation was ideal for the mullah to jump in. The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore, that is a worthy competitor of the Jang in obscurantism, was not to be left behind. It spared on October 1, 2006 two-column space for the Ulema, to report their protest against the (very temporary) appointment of an Ahmadi as Acting Principal and his assumed action which he had not undertaken. According to the paper, Maulana Suhrawardy, Qari Allah Yar, Maulana Mustafa, Maulana Abid, Qari Usmani, Maulana Alam, Maulana Karim and Maulana Matlub ur Rahman participated in a meeting at Muslim Colony and issued a very angry protest over the (imaginary) shift order. The Ulema demanded that Mr. Tahir be replaced by a Muslim professor.
Maulvi Faqir Muhammad who makes a living out of anti-Ahmadi activism by co-opting the vernacular press and bureaucracy, got a statement published that Mr. Tahir be replaced forthwith as he was being nasty with Muslim lecturers (!). The mullah lashed out at the District Education Officer and the Director of Education, as well, for unknown reasons. He insisted that the government policy of not appointing a Qadiani as principal at Rabwah had been violated. Is it not interesting how the mullah holds the government by its throat for the unsupportable policies that it formulates at the advice and in consultation with these mullahs?
The daily Nawa-i-Waqt followed up the story the next day as well, and gave details of the mullah’s version as to how Qadianis were striving hard for billions worth of college property. It was nothing but nonsense, falsehood and imagination. On October 4, 2006 this paper attributed to the Acting Principal the statement in a press conference that the college had been shifted to the other location on account of its depleted building. He had made no such statement, and not even an office pin had been shifted there. In fact, an in-depth study in the facts of this event and the fiction published in the vernacular press would suffice to shake any inquirer’s faith in the credibility of the vernacular news reporting journalism in Pakistan.
But in all fairness, such an assessment may not be entirely justified as some papers occasionally do take the liberty to publish the correct story or show the other side of the coin. The daily Aman of Faisalabad, issue of October 4, 2006, published the factual position in some detail and also the plea of the Acting Principal: “The other day, Mr. Mubarak Ahmad Tahir, the Acting Principal in a press conference termed the agitation and the published demands of obscurantist and prejudiced elements as pure falsehood and propaganda, and stated that the government has not even considered, at any level, to hand over the college building to Jamaat Ahmadiyya; so the anti-education elements should refrain from issuing harmful and ignorant statements.” The daily Rahi-Talash, Lahore (Editor: Dr Dilawar Hussain Faridi) of October 8, 2006 made a similar report.
In the meantime, the authorities issued no public statement to educate the pubic on the reality of the situation. Instead they asked the ‘police’ to make a report on the ground situation. The inspector of police interviewed the Acting Principal.
On October 6 it was Friday, the Muslim holy day for congregational assembly. Mullahs in Pakistan have made it a practice to use this day of worship for mass political agitation. The Acting Principal was mindful of this. The case of the Rabwah Police Post and mosque of 2004, when the political bosses of the Punjab had dumped their own police department to oblige the Mullah, was also perhaps fresh on his mind as an unpleasant precedent; so he decided that enough was enough. He handed over the charge of the college to Hafiz Muhammad Anwar, an officially recognized Muslim, and proceeded on short leave.
That was the end of the story. The daily Nawa-i-Waqt of October 15, reported the change over, and published the statement of Mullah Faqir Muhammad of Faisalabad:
“Maulvi Faqir Muhammad welcomed the decision of the government to replace the Qadiani principal Mubarak Ahmad Tahir with a Muslim professor, Hafiz Muhammad Anwar as Acting Principal and demanded that the Qadiani Jamaat of Chenab Nagar should be stopped from indulging in unlawful activities”. Even this closing statement was a fabrication – it was not the government that had replaced Mr. Tahir, and also he was not the principal, only the acting principal for a month. Few other Maulvis have done as much disservice as Faqir Muhammad to this one-time prestigious title of ‘Maulvi’; his choice of every word is routinely self-serving at the cost of truth, accuracy and authenticity. Maulvi Faqir and the daily Nawa-i-Waqt make a convenient team; they remind one of the proverb – Birds of a feather flock together.
Faisalabad schools – the mulla persists
It would be recalled that mulla Faqir Muhammad prevailed upon the government of the Punjab in 2003 to issue an unbecoming letter (TOP PRIORITY and REGISTERED) ordering the District administration to ensue that:
– The 3 Qadiani schools write in large plain hand writing on the school boards that these belonged to non-Muslims.
– To restrain them from preaching their teaching to innocent Muslim children.
– To apprise the Home Department of the action taken.
The proprietors appealed against this unfair and silly letter that was based upon false information, and requested the authorities for a personal hearing. Subsequently the mullah kept on pressing the authorities for implementation of the decision. The authorities showed no courage to shut him up, and followed up the case still with more mediocrity. Three years later, the government appointed a commission to look into and report on the case. The commission has forwarded its report to the higher authorities, who will now take further action.
Should the high officials not attend to the problem of ghost schools and absentee teachers and lowering standards of public education than attending to the cry-baby Mullah Faqir Muhammad who makes them issue such letters that a future researcher would find rather comical. The properties of the school have faced continuous undeserved harassment from official quarters during the last three years.
Islamic Studies forbidden
Rawalpindi Cantt; November 8, 2004: An Ahmadi student was told by his principal not to attend lectures in Islamiyat. It surprised the student immensely; he requested to be informed in writing. Regardless of one’s own religion, no seeker of knowledge should normally be denied information on any religion. In fact, all reasonable people welcome others to learn more about their faith, but not some authorities in the state-owned National University of Science & Technology at Rawalpindi Cantt. Its rector issued the following letter:
Equity a’ la police
Hyderabad, District Bhakkar: In a village called Islamabad, about six kilometers away from Hyderabad, District Bhakkar the mullahs started giving call for jihad and murder of Ahmadis in every Friday sermon at the mosque. Ahmadis came to know about it and their president contacted the local police and informed them of the new practice. The police sent for the mullah and his radical colleagues, and also told a group of Ahmadis to appear. They made them all sit at the police station for hours and then made them sign on a blank paper. The police told them verbally not to speak against each other, as otherwise they would face police action.
It would perhaps not be fair to jibe the police for this style of impartiality. Most plenipotentiaries of the state fail to reach even this level of equity when dealing with situations involving Ahmadis.
Ahmadi-owned schools of Faisalabad are again in the news
Faisalabad: The daily Aman of Faisalabad gave the following news in its issue of November 14, 2005:
Qadiani schools have to boldly display the word Qadiani on them – Secretary Education
Faisalabad (PR). In the light of a decision of the Government of Punjab, the Provincial Secretary of Education has ordered in a letter to the Executive District Officer Education Faisalabad, the District Coordination Officer and the District Police Officer that the management of the three Qadiani schools in Faisalabad be directed to boldly write the word Qadiani on the board so as to display their Qadiani identity.
The news is scandalous, as it negates the public assertions of the Chief Minister of the Punjab. However, nothing is impossible from the unscrupulous mullah and careerist bureaucrats. This case was reported in detail in the Annual Report of Year 2003. This press release could be from who else than mullah Faqir Muhammad?
Criminal case under Anti-Ahmadiyya law
Kunri, District Mirpur Khas; January 26, 2004: Some anti-Ahmadiyya activists conspired to get Mr Naseer Ahmad, a school teacher, implicated in a criminal case under Ahmadi-specific law. They persuaded the local police to charge him under PPC 298C on January 26, 2004. Under this clause, the teacher is exposed to imprisonment for three years.
A bold thief
Faisalabad; October 19, 2004: There is a proverb in Persian ‘Cheh dilawar ast duzde ke dar dast charagh darad’ i.e. How bold is the thief that carries a lamp (while committing theft). It applies well to Mullah Faqir Muhammad of Faisalabad.
Last year this mullah played a leading role in extensive unjust harassment of three private schools of Faisalabad owned by Ahmadis. He succeeded in motivating the government of the Punjab to take unsupportable and unbecoming action against the schools that brought no credit to the provincial government nor to the concerned authorities. The incident was outrageous enough to receive mention in the year 2003 Annual Report of Persecution of Ahmadis, and was put on the Ahmadiyya website. The mullah noticed it, and was not pleased. Rather than feeling ashamed at the worldwide disclosure of his contemptible role in the incident, he issued a press release and the daily Jang obliged by printing it in a 2-column story in its issue of October 19, 2004. Therein the mullah demanded a high-level inquiry into ‘baseless and imaginary acts of persecution against Qadianis’ and reiterated that the schools had failed to show their Qadiani identity on their signboards and prospectus (as wrongfully directed by the government). The mullah wears a thick skin, but mistakenly thinks that the rest of the entire world is also as callous and senseless as he.
A crude and unbecoming letter from the Government of the Punjab
June 27, 2003; Lahore: The Government of the Punjab (Education Department) issued a TOP PRIORITY, REGISTERED letter No. SO(A-II)1-27/01 on June 27, 2003. Its title is given as, LETTER RECEIVED FROM MOULVI FAQIR MOHAMMAD. The letter is rather grotesque and would be of great interest, now and in future, to anyone interested in Pakistan of early 21st century. Its copy is placed here.
The background of this case is briefly stated. There are three private schools at Faisalabad that are owned and managed by Ahmadis. The schools enjoy good reputation. This makes mullahs and competitors jealous. They jointly mounted a propaganda drive against these schools. The agitation was led by Mullah Faqir Mohammad who is a self-styled Information Secretary of the Khatame Nabuwwat Organization. It is on official record that this mullah is an evil-talker and a bully. Mr Javed Qureshi, a Commissioner arrested him sometimes back under the Goonda Act (aimed at rascals). The mullah had to seek pardon for his release. He is a past master in making false representations. He has taken up this jihad against the three schools. The authorities found it convenient to harass the managers and educators of these schools. Eventually the government issued the above-mentioned letter. It directed that:
1. The administrations of 3 Qadiani schools should be directed to expose themselves as Qadiani by writing in large plain hand writing on the school boards, displayed for advertisement for their recognition being non-muslims, so that parents can remain aware about religious thought of the administrations.
2. Administration should restrain themselves from preaching their teaching to the innocent muslim children because this may mislead them from their Islamic school of thought.
3. Home Department may be apprised of the action taken to further adopt precautionary measures through its own notwork (sic).
This letter and the follow-up action deserve some comment:
1. The Government of the Punjab (the largest province of Pakistan, with a population of approximately 70 million) accords TOP PRIORITY to a letter from some mulla, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad. It would be interesting piece of research to locate a TOP PRIORITY letter ever written by this government to issues like Higher Education, Professional Education, Improvement in Quality of Education, Universal Education, Women’s Education etc.
2. The Government requires the three schools to expose themselves as ‘Qadiani’ by writing in “large plain hand writing on the school boards, displays for advertisement for their recognition being non-Muslims…”. It appears logical that the next step the government could take was to direct Christian management of their education institutions to do the same.
3. The government has sent this letter to the police chief, the DCO and the Education Executive of Faisalabad and directed them that ‘Home Department may be apprised of the action taken to further adopt precautionary measures through its own notwork (sic)’. As if the vulgar measures ordered therein were inadequate, the lesser officials should think of and devise further measures to placate Maulvi Faqir. And surely enough, the Assistant Education Officer (A.Ed.O.) Markaz City-III, Faisalabad compliantly issued his order No. 683 dated July 30, 2003 wherein he directed the Principal of Mani Public School that ‘It is extremely important to write the word (Qadiani) on your… … letterhead pad and certificates’. The government accorded TOP PRIORITY precedence to the mullah’s demand, while the local official added ‘extreme importance’ to the cleric’s wish. There is apparently no limit to the absurdity and shallowness once those who govern become subservient to the mulla. Present-day mandarins at Lahore seem to be quite unaware of the long-established tradition that a ‘government letter’ exhibits authority, propriety and wisdom. This letter, however, turns one’s mind to the issue of Mice and Men.
4. The A.Ed.O. in his letter referred to the Executive District Officer (Edu) Faisalabad (his superior) letter No. 7558 dated 26.7.03 and stated inter alia that:
“It is extremely important that the word Qadiani be written on your school board/advertisements/letter pads and certificates. (As such) write immediately the word ‘Qadiani’ (on your sign-board/advertisements/certificate). Report compliance with this directive within three days otherwise your registration will be cancelled. Qadiani (sic) is not to be preached to the Muslim students at your school, nor you are to compel them to follow your religious teachings.” (An unnecessary instruction, as no preaching/compulsion whatsoever was undertaken at the schools.) “Senior officials will personally check the implementation of above orders and serious note will be taken of any violation”.
It seems that the entire administration is on the run. The petty mullah must be having a big laugh.
5. The daily DAWN, Lahore published the following headline news on August 5, 2003 attributing them to the President:
Musharraf plans to meet Ulema
Extremism sullied nation’s image
It is interesting to note the vast difference between what the president says and what is implemented in the streets of Faisalabad. Obviously when there is a lack of will and mettle, the mullah knows it and he pushes his agenda regardless of assertions made at the top.
The reply given by the owner of Mani Public School is quite readable. It is placed here.
Harrying of a school headmaster
Nankana Sahib, district Sheikhupura: Mr Daud Shakir, Ahmadi is a headmaster of a local government primary school. He is a conscientious and hardworking teacher. Rai Shah Nawaz, Nazim of another Union Council asked him to issue a bogus certificate. The headmaster refused to comply with the demand. The Nazim was not pleased and he fired a big religious salvo against the teacher, telling all the high-ups who matter that Shakir was a Mirzai (Ahmadi) and was preaching his faith in the school. He sent his letter, with his big seals on it, to the Minister of Education, the District Education Officer, the District Nazim, the Superintendent of Police – and even the Prime Minister of Pakistan. This effort cost him perhaps not more than Rs.30/- (postal charges and photocopies), however it will cost a great deal more to the poor headmaster to save his skin.
Religious abuse in a government school
Rabwah: Under the arrangements of the Education Department, Ahmadi children from three local schools had assembled in T.I. Government High School at Rabwah to take test in the final examination of the Primary level. While assembled there, they were told by the examining staff to the effect that: Prophet Muhammad was the Last Prophet, there shall be no prophet after him; if anybody claims to be a prophet or accepts him to be a prophet, he is a liar and an infidel, etc.
This imposition of a particular and disputed dogma upon children in such circumstances and to injure their religious sensibilities was indeed highly improper.
A school teacher dislodged
Bhera, district Sargodha: Mr Manzoor Qadir Khan, Ahmadi is a science teacher and a resident of Bhera. He was arrested and is facing charges under the anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298C. He was subsequently released on bail. These days he is posted at Government High School Chak 45 (South), district Sargodha. A teacher at the same school, who teaches Arabic has taken up the jihad again his Ahmadi colleague and agitates the students against him. The students are indulging in writing anti-Ahmadiyya slogans on walls. It has spoiled the social peace of the village and the school. Mr Khan is facing prosecution in a court at Bhalwal. Under these circumstance, he has been forced to live out of the district of Sargodha.
Faisalabad: There are three schools here that are owned and managed by Ahmadis. The mullahs know it and are perpetually agitating against them. Maulvi Faqir Mohammad has made it a routine to write applications and complaints to authorities against the following three schools and their proprietors:
1. Mani Public School, Mustafabad
2. The Time Public School, D-Type Colony
3. Noor Amina Reformer School, Madina Town
The mulla, in addition to making representations, also issues press releases that are gladly printed by the daily Nawa-i-Waqt and local tabloids. The mullah unashamedly asserts that:
1. An apostate cannot open a school in Muslims’ residential areas.
2. Qadianis are non-Muslims, so they may not open schools in Muslim areas.
3. The government should not permit opening of these schools.
4. Qadianis must boldly write on their school gates that the school is under Qadiani management.
It is strange that despite the mullah’s poor reputation, authorities follow up his representations. These schools have been visited by the police, the education department officials, even the military intelligence and the Special Branch (Security). Obviously such visits severely disturb the schoolwork and children’s education.
The schools enjoy good reputation. Their competitors perhaps finance the mullah in his drive and agitation. However, it is unbecoming for government departments and agencies to play in the hands of this cleric and thus act in a way detrimental to education of the youth.
Harassment of an Ahmadi student
Hasan Abdal, Cadet College; September 2002: Mr Abdul Rahman, a student from Rabwah decided to do his F. Sc. from the prestigious and expensive Cadet College at Hassan Abdal. His mother took out most of her lifelong savings and got her son admitted in that college on August 27. The college administration assigned him to Haider Wing whose housemaster is known by the name of Nur-ul-Islam.
A few days thereafter, some boys came to know that Rahman was an Ahmadi from Rabwah. They started treating him with discrimination and frost. Two of them, religious activists, one from Lahore and the other from D.G. Khan were particularly hostile. Rahman reported the situation to Mr Nur-ul-Islam, the housemaster. He proved worse, as he justified and upheld the behavior of the miscreants. In fact, he blamed Rahman for not being prompt in revealing his religious affiliations.
The hate campaign picked up by the day with the active support of the housemaster. Rahman was upset. It affected his health. He reported the situation to his mother, who arranged for a delegation of two elders to call on the principal to complain. The principal received them politely, but it seems that he was resigned to do little to effectively change the situation. The boy’s maltreatment worsened by the day. One evening he attended a soiree where poetry was recited in praise of the Holy Prophet. A boy took strong offense to his presence. He was left with no choice but to quit and go back to Rabwah. It is such a shame that a bright student like him had to leave because of the prevailing atmosphere of religious bigotry, discrimination and intolerance.
Hasanabdal is only a hundred miles from the Afghanistan border. It is unfortunate that the faculty of a prestigious institution like Cadet College has not learnt the lesson that an intolerant, prejudiced and obscurantist religious attitude in life is finally counter-productive and unsupportable.
Harassment at a university
Faisalabad: Raja Noman Ahmad, a student at the Agricultural University, Faisalabad reported in June of extensive harassment at the hands of a group of students who belong to the Tableeghi Jamaat. They undertook social boycott against the Ahmadi, did lot of wall-chalking and instigated violence. Ahmad reported the matter to the University officials who made some efforts to calm the situation. However, the miscreants were quite persistent in fomenting trouble. Ahmad got worried and reported the developments to the Community officials.
Ahmadi students harassed
Lahore; July 2002: Mr Abdul Ghafur, Ahmadi, has two sons at Lahore to receive education in computers. They were residing at the Galaxy Hostel. Some students took hostile view of their religious convictions and activities and threatened them with serious consequences. Mr Ghafur got worried and contacted police authorities for help, who advised him to have his sons shifted to some other location.
Deprivation of higher education – for reasons of faith
Lahore: Ahmadi-bashers find it very convenient to persecute an Ahmadi by quoting his faith. In fact, numerous cases have come to light when unscrupulous and malicious individuals have harassed their own co-religionists, against whom they had a personal vendetta, by labeling them Ahmadis. However, here we describe the ordeal of an Ahmadi young man who was made to suffer for his religious beliefs.
Mr Abdul Aala Najmus Saqib of Rabwah had a Master’s degree in Biochemistry and an M. Phil in Biotechnology. His grading in a test administered by the Education Testing Service (USA) was among the highest ever scored by an individual from the University of the Punjab. He was selected as a lecturer in Biochemistry and Biotechnology in the University of the Punjab, and took over the job on January 8, 2001. In the meantime, the Ministry of Science and Technology selected him for the TROSS scholarship, for Ph D from abroad. A foreign scholarship for higher education abroad is considered a great boon in Pakistan as it is a golden opportunity to promote one’s professional standing and career. As soon as Abdul Aala got this offer on March 27, 2001 his opponents became active against him. His Ahmadiyyat was a ready and effective tool in their hands to oust him.
The opposition jointly conspired, made out a plan and implemented it immediately. A number of representations were made to the Vice Chancellor against appointment of a ‘Qadiani’ as lecturer. He was accused falsely of being inept and inefficient etc. On 10th April 2001, the Vice Chancellor visited his institute and sent for him. Abdul Aala was stated to be absent, although he was constantly present in the premises during the VC’s visit. Nobody told him that he had been called by the VC. Two days later, the Registrar sent him a letter that the VC had decided to terminate his service. He was fired without being charged and heard. This was done within a fortnight of his receiving the intimation that he had been selected for a scholarship abroad. He was deprived of the scholarship as it was conditional to his holding an appointment in the University. The wicked group had succeeded not only in depriving him of the scholarship but also of his job. Two birds had been killed with one stone.
Subsequently, Mr Abdul Aala explained in writing the whole thing to the Vice Chancellor, but to no avail. He also represented his case to the Ministry, but no relief was given to him.
To be an Ahmadi in Pakistan is to be vulnerable.
Anti-Ahmadiyya folders in schools
The Alami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatame Nabuwwat, Multan has published a series of anti-Ahmadiyya folders for wide distribution. Had they contained only religious dialectic, it would not be objectionable, but more than that, the contents urge the reader to social boycott and violence against Ahmadis. For instance:
“Readers, total boycott of Qadianis is the foremost obligation imposed by faith.”
“Avoid contacting Qadianis, and urge other Muslims to do the same. Keep vigilance in your neighbourhood…… Beware of the Qadiani enmity towards Islam”. Folder No1
“Readers, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani was a greater infidel than Abraha, as he defiled the honour and high status of Mecca and Medina. It is our religious duty to impose a boycott of his disciples”. Folder No 8
“……………Mirza Qadiani’s tongue and pen were exponents of satanic impulses. This unfortunate and vulgar person, under satanic motivation, was guilty of defiling a great prophet of God. Our social relations with disciples of such a satanic personality! Do we have no sensitivity for the honour of our Faith!” Folder No: 4
These folders were left at the table of a high school Ahmadi student in a school at Sukker.
Threats against the appointment of a principal
Sheikhupura: Mullahs have learnt from experience that their agitation, threats, provocation and intimidation works in public life. They use these tactics freely in their anti-Ahmadiyya drives. Recently, the administration appointed Ms Tayyaba Malik, reportedly an Ahmadi, as principal of the Government Girls College, Sheikhupura. The Khatame Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) organization finds the appointment unacceptable. One wonders at the relationship of the appointment of a principal with the Finality of Prophethood. Nevertheless, the clerics think that the two are closely inter-related. So they issued a pamphlet and circulated it widely. They threatened therein that if the administration did not cancel the appointment order, the responsibility of the resulting breakdown in law and order will be that of the district administration. The circular was issued by Shoba Nashar-o-Ashat. It is dated November 1, 2002.
The welfare society at Islamabad!
Islamabad: Anti-Ahmadiyya activists have established a Khatam-ul-Anbiya (The Seal of Prophets) Education Welfare Society at Islamabad. It is not known what welfare and education measures they have undertaken, but they are certainly very active against Ahmadis in the capital. Its convener Professor Asrarul Haq is a rabid anti-Ahmadi propagandist. His workers distribute extensively anti-Ahmadiyya leaflets. Worshippers are exhorted to violence in Friday sermons. The Society has advertised that literature against Ahmadiyyat, Christianity, and Bahaism and the Khatame Nabuwwat literature is readily available in their library. They have declared plans to have such a library in every sector of Islamabad, and have asked for financial donations to implement their plan.
Campaign of slander in Faisalabad and authorities’ insensitivity
Faisalabad: ‘The Islamic Research Committee’ of Faisalabad, an auxiliary to the Majlis Khatme-Nabuwwat has issued a pamphlet specifically aimed at deterring students from seeking admission in a school whose proprietor is an Ahmadi. The pamphlet urges the “Moths of the Candle of the Finality of Prophethood” to completely boycott all social intercourse with Ahmadis, not to attend their weddings, not to develop friendship with them and not to admit their children in Ahmadiyya schools. The pamphlet warns that Muslims who violate this edict will not receive expiation of their sins on the Doom’s Day and will suffer shame in the presence of the Holy Prophet.
Another leaflet carried a deliberately disfigured caricature of Hadrat Ahmad, the Holy Founder of Ahmadiyyat, and is aimed at creating hatred in the public against him. The pamphlet makes highly provocative and false accusations against Hazrat Ahmad and makes extensive use of abusive epithets. It urges the public to produce photocopies of the blasphemous leaflet and undertake its further distribution. The leaflet also requests the “Lovers of Islam” to beat up Ahmad’s photo ten times with their shoe. The publisher of the leaflet has boldly given his address at the bottom of the page, as:
Alami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat – Nasim Manzil – Railway Road – Nankana Sahib – District Sheikhupura Phone No: 729
The law PPC 295 A prescribes 10 year’ imprisonment for the offence, while PPC 298 A prescribes three years’ imprisonment, but the mulla appears to be sure that these clauses are invoked only against Ahmadis and non-Muslims, while he can safely violate the law without the slightest risk of being held accountable.
More of the same at the capital
Islamabad; October 2001: Approximately two years ago, an Ahmadi principal of a state-owned women’s college at Islamabad was unjustly hounded out of her post by the religious lobby on fabricated and drummed up accusations, but primarily for reason of her religious affiliation. The same lobby became active again this time against an Ahmadi professor, Mrs Munira Mubashir of Federal Government College for Women, G10-4 Islamabad. She was harassed extensively, and had a narrow escape from permanent grave personal harm.
Mrs Mubashir teaches Arabic at the college. She was teaching Arabic grammar from the prescribed book, ‘Alminhaj Fil Qwaid wal Arab’ (compiled by Muhammd Alantaqui, an Arab, and published at Beirut). The book mentioned a phrase to illustrate a point of grammar; its translation is: “Muhammad is brave, but niggardly”. The phrase in the book, of course, did not refer to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, but used it as a common name. At the time, neither the teacher nor any student noted any sacrilege in the phrase. However, someone mentioned it later to a women teacher of the anti-Ahmadiyya gang, and the trouble started.
On October 24, an unsuspecting Mrs Mubashir came across Ms Misbah at college premises, and was struck heavily on the face by this colleague. As a result, she lost balance and leaned against a nearby pillar to avoid crumbling down. Her left eye was badly hurt. On recovering her senses, she walked over to the Principal and complained. There, the Principal told her of the agitation brewing against her. This was the first time Mrs Mubashir came to know of the accusation. She explained the facts of the non-event to the Principal who expressed her sympathy with her – at the time.
The anti-Ahmadiyya lobby, then on, got on to war-footing and became fully active to spread the mischief and unrest. They approached Majlis Tahaffuz Khatame Nabuwwat (Organization of Finality of Prophethood) who provided it full support. Jointly, they approached Urdu press; the daily Ausaf and Nawa-i-Waqt jumped on to the band wagon and printed highly incendiary stories that the holy name of the Prophet had been defiled by a Qadiani professor (the daily Ausaf, October 28). Jamaat Islami came forth with strong condemnation of the Qadiani’s alleged blasphemy (the daily Nawa-i-Waqt, October 29). One, Mufti Saif-ud-Din made a press statement that if Musharaf’s government was not removed, Qadianis will take over the entire administration. Cowed down by howl of mullas and the yellow press, the Federal Education Directorate immediately instituted an Enquiry Committee to look into the issue and make an early report. The Director General of the Directorate, Brigadier (Retd) Maqsudul Hasan, in unbecoming haste, thought it clever to immediately suspend Mrs Mubashir and to reinstate Ms Misbah, the women who had hit the Ahmadi on her face (Nawa-i-Waqat, October 30).
A delegation of mullas met the Committee and made demands. They gave an ultimatum to the Committee and gave 2 p.m. Monday as the deadline (The Nawa-i-Waqt, Oct 30, 2001). The demands were endorsed and the Directorate was advised accordingly. The Director General complied by issuing instructions subsequently. These scheming mullas and officials behaved this way when their own types and louts were being clobbered mercilessly only a hundred miles away westward across the border for identical conduct. The fundamentalist Almi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatame Nabuwwat demanded of the government to instruct all federal and provincial ministries to immediately dismiss all Qadianis who teach Arabic to students.
It appears from press reports that the Director General’s office appointed a multi-sectarian sub-committee of ulema to decide on the culpability of the accused Ahmadi professor, who in fact was the victim of physical assault and intensive harassment. This sub-committee made an in-depth enquiry and spent three hours in discussing technical and literary aspects of the grammar involved in the Arabic phrase given in the book. It gave a rare verdict that the Ahmadi accused had been careless, but was not guilty of Blasphemy.
Mrs Mubashir came out of her traumatic ordeal heavily mauled by stress and bruised on her eye and face. In fact she is lucky; she had close brush with possibility of a death penalty. The blasphemy clauses have heavily polluted the quality of life in Pakistan, and continue to do irreparable damage to many.
Disinformation at the campus
Lahore; February 2001: A student of the Engineering University quarreled with a shop-keeper over a dispute on payment of photocopying charges. The student referred his dispute to a student belonging to the Islami Jamiat faction. They decided to link the shop-keeper with Ahmadis, and spread the news immediately all over the Campus. They followed it up with agitation and an aggressive call on the Vice Chancellor. They accused the shop-keeper of Blasphemy. They also invited students of the Punjab University and Islamia College to join them. The next day they blocked the main G.T. Road and demanded an apology from the Vice Chancellor. Reportedly, in a meeting at Jamia Naeemia, a madrassa, the clerics decided to turn the agitation against Ahmadis. The Daily Ausaf, Islamabad, of February 3, printed the following news item:
Students had demanded a separate mess for Qadiani students a few days earlier
Lahore: Bureau report. A few days earlier, students had pointed out that Qadiani students were sharing mess with them and having food in their company. Their mess should be separate. Students are of the view that the University administration took no notice of their demand. A few days later, this new development took place. To remind our readers, the university, earlier, had a Qadiani as Director of Students Affairs; he was removed.
In fact, the shop-keeper had nothing to do with Ahmadiyyat. Miscreants and newspapers started this campaign of disinformation to fan the fire of mischief and agitation. The administration, in consultation with university officials proceeded to charge the shop keeper under the provisions of the Blasphemy Law.
Ahmadi students face discrimination
District Badin (Sind), October: Ahmadi children are facing harassment at a school in Tando Ghulam Ali. They are not allowed to drink water from the public source; they are not permitted to attend the Islamiat class. If they complain to their teachers, they tell them that they are infidels, so they have no right to complain. Ahmadi girls in a private school face the same problem. At a private public school in Golarchi, a number of Ahmadi children, both boys and girls, have been expelled.
Ahmadi students beaten up
Lahore; November 1, 2001: Two Ahmadi brothers namely, Hamad Ahmad Khan and Waqas of Hajweri College of Computer Science, Lahore were beaten up only for their faith, by other students who they did not even know by name.
Hamad and Waqas of Rabwah, had joined the College only a month earlier. They were in the process of settling down. Other students had, however, come to know that these two were Ahmadis from Rabwah.
On November 1, at about 2 p.m., a student asked Waqas as to why he laughed at Ali. Waqas told him that he did not even know who was Ali. At this, the fellow assaulted Waqas. Soon, a dozen other students joined in and beat up the two brothers. It seems they had preplanned the joint assault. The beating stopped only when a professor arrived at the scene and intervened. Waqas had a head injury; stitches had to be applied to it. Hamad had a fractured arm; it developed swelling. The victims had to be taken to a doctor.
The next day, the Principal sent for the offenders, but they had absconded not only from the college but the hostel as well.
The incident is particularly noteworthy in view of the concurrent developments at the Engineering University, Lahore, described below. Normally students do not behave this way; however those belonging to wings of politico-religious parties are often tasked by their parent organizations to foment trouble. Islami Jamiat Tulaba has a long history of such conduct; now, there are other such bodies as well in educational institutions.
Severe harassment of Ahmadi students in Engineering University, Lahore
Lahore, October: Ahmadi students of UET Lahore, especially those residing in its hotels, faced a very difficult situation during October and the preceding few weeks. A well-organized and orchestrated drive was launched in the University by some religion-based student group or organization to create a law and order situation focused on the Ahmadiyya issue. The University authorities were unable, and perhaps unwilling, to suppress the agitation with a firm hand.
A few months earlier, a non-Ahmadi student, Sohail Ahmad started an anti-Ahmadi campaign in his hostel. He formed a group and formulated a list of demands that they presented to the Incharge of the hostel. They stated that for religious reasons, they would not like Ahmadis to partake food from the common kitchen. The group distributed anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlets, leaflets and stickers in the University to generate communal hatred. They formulated a list of demands against Ahmadis and started a signatures campaign. Suhail also prepared a list of Ahmadi students, male and female, and was able to identify 29 Ahmadi students. The group demanded that Ahmadis be isolated.
The University authorities, fearing some hidden designs of the agitators, told Ahmadi students to shift to Iqbal Hall (Hostel). It was at midnight that all Ahmadi students of Zubair Hall were ordered to shift to Iqbal Hall. The next day, Ahmadis residing in other hostels were also told to shift.
Ahmadi students felt very disturbed and met the Vice Chancellor (VC) who told them in confidence that a serious conspiracy hatched by extremists was underway and asked them to co-operate with him. He even advised them to shift away from the University hostels. Ahmadi students informed higher civil authorities of their concern and difficult situation.
The opposition group deceitfully arranged to place some pistol bullets in an Ahmadi student’s room and arranged a police raid. This way they planned to convey the impression that Ahmadis are involved in terrorism and violence. He was taken in police custody. It was with great difficulty that the magistrate accepted his bail.
In the meantime, all Ahmadi students had been shifted to a hostel meant for foreign students only. The opposition group did not leave them alone even there, and contacted foreign Muslim students and urged them not to let Ahmadis share their kitchen, on the basis of religion. Ahmadis again approached the administration that advised them ‘in their own interest’ to quit the University for some time. Ahmadis decided to hold on to their accommodation but started sleeping outside the University premises at night. It was with great difficulty that they arranged temporary sleeping quarters for overnight stays.
On 16th October, Ahmadi students were informed by the administration that Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT), the student wing of fundamentalist Jamaat Islami had plans to take out a procession to protest the Afghanistan war but will target Ahmadi issues and students. “As such, do not come to the classes and stay away from the hostel,” advised the authorities. Ahmadis complied. However, on October 17, at about 10 p.m. the hostel warden sent for a few senior Ahmadi students and told them that in view of the deteriorating security situation, the University was not in a position to ensure their safety, so they should all shift out. On October 18, the warden conveyed that the extremists had obtained a Fatwa from Jamia Naeemia (a madrassa) and some mosques that Ahmadis’ murder is an obligation, as such all Ahmadi students are ordered to vacate the hostel before sunset. They complained to the VC but to no avail. Accordingly, Ahmadi students were made to vacate their rooms, dump their belongings in a few allocated spaces and shift out.
The academic year is coming to an end, and annual examinations are to be held shortly. Ahmadi students are facing difficulties that amount to terror. Authorities are unwilling to restore calm and order with a firm hand. They would rather yield to fundamentalists and obscurantists.
Educational institutions not returned
A special mention however should be made here of the situation regarding Ahmadiyya educational institutions that were forcibly nationalized by the government. Sometimes back the government decided to denationalize all schools that were taken over by the state. A policy and procedure was promulgated by the authorities. Ahmadiyya Community complying with the procedure also made a bid for the return of Ahmadiyya school. All requirements of the government were met. But nothing happened. It is now many years that the money is lying with the government but the schools have not been handed back to Ahmadis. It is noteworthy that a number of such schools have been returned to other NGOs and communities. Ahmadiyya community faces discrimination even on this count.
Ahmadis have suffered greatly in the field of education since the promulgation of the Ordinance in 1984. Damage has been done to the education of Ahmadi children and to the careers of Ahmadi teachers and lecturers. Some recent events are mentioned here:
Education Board Multan
Board of Secondary Education, Multan has issued Admission Forms that have been specially designed to create admission problems for Ahmadi candidates. The form makes it obligatory for the candidate to declare himself a Muslim or a Non-Muslim. Obviously, an Ahmadi will not call himself a Non-Muslim; on the other hand, if he declares himself a Muslim, he faces three years’ imprisonment. The form also obligates a Non-Muslim candidate to take up Civics as an alternate subject to Islamiat.
The above is a gross violation of human rights of Ahmadi children. It is a shameful conspiracy to deny education to them. For a state institution in the field of children’s education it is highly unbecoming to develop mulla mentality. Why must a child be denied the freedom to state his own religion? Why must he be denied the study of Islam, even if the state does not consider him a Muslim?
School teacher harassed
Mr Mushtaq Ahmad, Ahmadi, is a primary school teacher at Jatoi, district Muzaffargarh. Activists of Sipah Sahaba and Khatame Nabuwwat Organization turned against him. He faced a general boycott. His children were not allowed to drink water from outside. The education department opponents had organized a demonstration to confront him. He was not allowed to join the school. He was posted to still another location.
In the meantime, a confident intimated to Ahmadis that the mullas were planning to murder him. Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad was worried about his safety.
Threats at a Polytechnic Institute
Inayatullah, an Ahmadi youth, is a first year student at the Government Polytechnic Institute, Sargodha. In March his father received a threatening letter. The letter accused his son of preaching the Ahmadiyya doctrine. ‘We warn you that if we find him at the college, we will not spare him….. We do not threaten only; we carry out our threats. We are Muslims and followers of Toofani Sahib,’ conveyed the letter.
Fearing harm, the father told his son to stop going to the Institute for education.
Even Children not Spared
On March 21, the children of Maryam School at Rabwah were given a test in theology. The examiner, a non-Ahmadi who had come from elsewhere, refused to assess the Ahmadi children in oral recitation of the Quran. This caused great deal of anxiety among the children and their teachers, as the recitation carried 10 marks. It was after great deal of persuasion that the examiner agreed to award marks for this, however she did it at her discretion without listening to the recitation from the candidates. What was her yardstick; only she knows. The same problem was faced at other schools. This was deliberate discrimination.
Schools and Colleges of the Capital under Attack of Fundamentalism
The Khatme Nabuwwat Organization has penetrated schools and colleges in Islamabad and spread hatred in those educational institutions. Khatame Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) theme is often taken up in the Islamiat classes. The lecture is turned into a slander and hate session against Ahmadis. In March, highly provocative anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlets were distributed at Federal Government College for Women at F/ 7-2. The pamphlets incited the students to take law in their own hands in order to restore the honour of the Prophet. The titles were designed to portray Ahmadis as snakes and the material inside was edited and presented in a way to be hateful and most insulting and passion rousing. An extract follows:
“ Let’s destroy the enemies of the Prophet.
Let’s call the mercy of God.
Move, that the mischief of Qadian
Is uprooted bare.
Move, to sacrifice your blood for the love of Muhammad.”
Ahmadis of Islamabad wrote to the Chief Executive to intervene and do the needful.
Professor Tafhim Ahmad, Ahmadi, joined Cadet College, Hasanabdal in 1992 as a lecturer. At the time of joining he mentioned his religion as Islam. Eight years later, anti-Ahmadiyya activist staff of the college, are holding it against him and are agitating for his removal from the post. Mullas are giving them a helping hand, and the vernacular press is sparing double columns to make this non-issue a big news. The Daily Ausaf and Nawa-i-Waqt are in the forefront in this campaign. For example:
The ulema give an ultimatum to the Principal and the Management on the issue of Qadiani Lecturer
The said lecturer should be fired and made to face criminal charge for misstating his religion………..Maulvis of all mosques expressed their anger over the appointment and misstatement of the Qadiani lecturer…….
Qadiani activities will not be tolerated in Tehsil Hasan Abdal……..If necessary, disciples of the Prophet will not spare any sacrifice to achieve their ends. They issued an ultimatum to the college principal and its management to fire the said lecturer as soon as possible, otherwise they will be held responsible for all consequences.
The Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Islamabad; December 9, 2000
The principal removed the lecturer from the post of Hostel Warden and told him to take precautionary measures. He also made him answer the charge of misstating his religion. The lecturer put the record straight, and afraid of violence, took leave and left for Wah Cantt along with his family. The principal himself is feeling weak under the attack of clerics.
Discrimination in education
Education is one of the many fields in which Ahmadis were targeted in particular during the past 15 years. The policy continues. For example:
- Educational institutions at Rabwah were established and developed by the Ahmadiyya Community at their own expense. They achieved a high level of distinction in education, sports and healthy student activities. Even non-Ahmadi students benefited from them. However, in 1972 these were nationalized.
In 1996, a government notification offered to denationalize such schools and colleges whose ex-owners were ready to meet the conditions laid down by the authorities. The Ahmadiyya Community complied with all the given conditions in 1997 and deposited more than ten million rupees in the government’s account. However, the Punjab government has still not handed these back to the Community, although a number of other schools etc for which the process was started later, have already been reverted to their owners. Ahmadis are subjected to unfair and gross discrimination.
- The high school at Moro (Sind) has a student population of 1200, out of which only two are Ahmadis. These are brothers; one is a student of class VI, the other of Class IX. A teacher by the name of Yusuf Lund, on 12 January made his Ahmadi pupil, Rafiq Ahmad son of Mr. Saleem Ahmad Mughul stand up, and told him to declare that he is a Sunni, otherwise state that he is a Kafir (an infidel). The boy said: “No, I am neither, I am an Ahmadi.” The teacher, therefore, told him to remain standing throughout the study period.
The next day, on 13 January, the teacher brought and distributed anti-Ahmadiyya literature in the class. He also agitated the students and told them that Qadianis were Wajib-ul-Qatl (liable to be put to death). He told them that if they kill Rafiq Ahmad, they would be rewarded by an abode in paradise. This school is state-owned.
- The government looks the other way when an apartheid is imposed against Ahmadi students in private schools. Encouraged by the government action, the Monthly Laulak, in its issue of Rabi Thani 1420 AH, printed the following news and comment on page 63:
Qadiani Boys’ Admission should be cancelled
A lot of Qadiani children receive education in Mazhar Muslim Model School Ranipur of Tehsil Sobhodero, district Khairpur. “ We demand that the Principal take immediate action and cancel the admission of Qadiani boys and expel them, as these boys preach Qadianism. If they are not expelled, the Principal will be held responsible”, this was stated by Hafiz Gul Muhammad, the Information Secretary of JUI, district Khairpur in an emergency session. The names of these boys are…. These are all residents of Goth Cheema and nearby small villages of Chain, Tehsil Sobhodher.
At another school, in Chak 97/GB, district Faisalabad, Ahmadi students were not permitted to participate in the festivities of the Prophet’s birthday celebration. They were banned from the speech making, and their contributions were also rejected. In another school, at nearby Chak 98/GB, Ahmadi students were denied the opportunity to recite the Quran. The teacher made insulting remarks about the Ahmadiyya mosque.
Obscurantism – virus that persists
The state-owned Central Training College, Faisalabad, in an effort to catch up with many other state institutions, has introduced an ‘admission form’ which would deny admission to Ahmadi students to this college. The form has columns, which an Ahmadi would consider against his faith and conscience to fill in. For example the statement below:
Statement under oath by non-Muslims Students
I declare on oath that I belong to a minority group (state religion…), and I do not consider myself a member of the Muslim Umma. (Minority candidates are required to attach a certificate issued by their mission).
As no Ahmadi will ever call himself a non-Muslim, nor can he consider himself outside the pale of Islam, he will have no choice except to forego his right to receive this professional training, and as a result, miss a job opportunity. This form is not a legal requirement; it is nothing but a malafide innovation by the college authorities.