Case of the Rabwah Police Post mosque
Ahmadiyya property at Rabwah is usurped by the Government.
Authorities yield to preposterous demands of mullahs.
The police post is shifted back unlawfully to Ahmadiyya–owned land.
It happened on September 6. The daily Jang of September 7, 2004 reported that at the orders of Mr. Pervaiz Elahi the Chief Minister, the police post at Rabwah was shifted back to the old site; this old site is owned by Ahmadis and shifting was done forcibly against the wishes of Ahmadis. This was done in response to the demands of mullahs who, for their own ugly motives, wanted the post at the location owned by Ahmadis who needed the same to meet their community compulsions. The mullah, although not at all directly concerned with the issue was agitating for the preceding one month, and succeeded when least expected. The case of the police post and its little mosque is typical and shows the working of the mullah and the state at these important times in the turbulent history of Pakistan. One gazes mute before this ocean of darkest ignorance that has already engulfed the society. A narrative of this event must be placed on record in archives.
Briefly, the Police Post in Rabwah was located at a site loaned by the Ahmadiyya Community to the police at latter’s request, more than quarter of a century ago. The post was shifted in July 2004 to another location by mutual consent, and the premises were handed back to Ahmadis. Some years ago, the police constructed, first a platform then a small one-room mosque in the courtyard, without consent of the owners. On resuming the possession of the site Ahmadis left the mosque intact. Mischief-monger mullahs however fabricated the story of destruction of the mosque, and took up the issue to create a serious law and order situation in the country. Subsequently when everyone saw that the mosque was intact, the mullah started saying that the WCs and water taps had been rendered shaheed (martyrs). They concocted the argument that as a mosque is a house of Allah, it remains a mosque for ever and its status cannot be tampered with or changed under any circumstance – a debatable opinion. They, anyhow, demanded that the mosque be handed over to Muslims for perpetual possession, access and worship, otherwise they threatened to unleash a violent countrywide movement against Ahmadis.
Everyone who had some sense knew that the mullah was standing on legs of clay. There are numerous High Court decisions on record that mosques built without express permission of the owner of the land have no sanctity. The Shariah does not allow usurpation of land for any purpose, let alone for building a mosque. Eventually, perhaps the mullah also realized the weakness of his position, so he changed tack and started demanding that the police post be brought back to the old site. This demand was equally absurd as the police are not supposed to take orders from the mullah as to where they should locate their posts. Anyway, since long the mullah has rarely cared how irrational he appears to the rest of the world; he pushes his own agenda, regardless.
The mullah has learnt that threats of violence work in Pakistan, especially where the authorities’ interest is not directly involved. So the mullah gave the battle-cry and called Muslims to converge on Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) on Friday, 23 July 2004. He used loudspeakers on mosques and issued posters for the call. The administration made no move to deter him from this agitation that could have turned violent. As a result, hundreds of them armed with staffs etc came over. The press reported their number in thousands. According to the daily Nawa-i-Waqt of July 24:
- Thousands of Muslims arrived in Chenab Nagar in intensely hot weather.
- All Qadianis businesses remained closed and roads presented a deserted look.
- ‘Khatme Nabuwwat – Long Live’ slogans were shouted.
The situation was indeed very tense that Friday.
The mullah issued dangerous threats, and the Urdu press volunteered to splash these in big headlines. A few are quoted below:
1. If the government does not control the activities and mischief of Qadianis, no Qadiani and their places of worship will be safe in Pakistan. The moths of the lamp of prophethood (Muslims) will completely destroy Mirzais (Ahmadis).
(The Daily Pakistan; July 22, 2004)
2. If the government does not take due notice of this serious incident, an agitation like that of 1974 will commence. Maulvi Ilyas Chinioti
(The Daily Pakistan; July 24, 2004)
3. If the mosque is not recovered, the moths of Khatme Nabuwwat are prepared to sacrifice their lives. The situation can anytime slip out of control of Muslim leaders. Maulvi Ata-ul-Muhaiman Bokhari
(The Daily Jang; July 22, 2004)
The mullah is well aware of benefits of unity and co-operation. He decided to join hands with others in his unsupportable cause. The notorious Majlis Ahrar Islam and Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat solicited support from politico-religious parties, and got it readily. Hafiz Idrees, the Deputy Amir of Jamaat Islami told the press that all efforts will be coordinated. He seemed to care little that the demands were against the provisions of Shariah that the Jamaat Islami had been campaigning for the last half a century in Pakistan. Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, Advisor on Religious Affairs to Governor of the Punjab also came over to Rabwah. He did not meet any Ahmadi, remained huddled up with mullahs, and made highly improper and indiscreet statements while parading his official status. He appeared to be least bothered about the teaching of the great religion of Islam on such issues. During the visit, he volunteered to state that General Pervez Musharraf and Mr. Shaukat Aziz are both Sunni Muslims. “They are not Mirzais, and both have faith in Khatme Nabuwwat (the end of prophethood)”, he said. (The daily Din, July 24, 2004). This official Advisor to the Governor does not believe that Pakistan belongs to non-Sunnis also. Such is his understanding of the great concept of Enlightened Moderation, propounded by his overlord.
The police were apparently well aware of the essentials of the issue. They knew that the shifting of the post was not only mutually agreed, Ahmadis had co-operated beyond their duty to provide the new location and the building. The little mosque was intact. They also knew that they could not lawfully occupy a site without owner’s consent. The police asked Ahmadis to let their Inspector reside temporarily at the old location to tide over the present difficulties, and Ahmadis had agreed. What more could they ask or expect; so they, in consultation with their superiors, decided to be firm against any violence and agitation of the mullah. After three or four Fridays (these Islamic holy days, otherwise meant for worship, are used by the mullah now in propagating and implementing violence) the situation had been controlled sufficiently to pose no threat to law and order. The agitation had lost steam. It appeared that a reasonable solution had been found that should be acceptable, more and less, to all concerned.
All of a sudden, orders were issued on September 6, 2004 from the provincial capital that the police post was to be shifted to the old location, regardless of the Ahmadiyya ownership of the property. The orders were to be implemented immediately, meticulously, and apparently to the satisfaction of the mullah. So, high police officials contacted Ahmadis late on the same day, and told them to vacate the site. The police set up their signboard and pitched a tent as token of seizure. Having done so by the middle of the night, they reported the completion of the raid to their headquarters at Lahore who reportedly informed their political masters. To crown this inglorious and unnecessary retreat in the face of the mullah, police officials were told to invite mullahs to a briefing where they were to be told that their demands had been met in totality. This was done. According to the daily ‘Khabrain’ of September 8, 2004, the District Police Officer went himself to Chiniot where he met the clerics to convey them the great news; the police entertained the mullahs with sweets (mithai khilai); high officials like the DIG, the SSP and the SP City personally supervised the operation. To add insult to injury (if felt that way), the high police officials were made to report the accomplishment of the unworthy act to the third-line local mullahs namely, Allah Yar Arshad, Muhammad Hussain, Ghulam Mustafa, Yasin Gauhar, Ayub, Ilyas Chinioti etc, who are never heard of except when they indulge in mischief and break the law of the land. Some of these had been earlier charged and arrested for breach of law.
It is relevant to mention here that Chaudhri Shujaat Hussain, the President of the ruling PML (Q) is on record having said that his party and the MMA are natural allies. Mr. Shaukat Aziz, when ‘accused’ of being a Qadiani, had it announced that he was a Sunni and believed in the Khatme Nabuwwat. The Sunni PM was bending backward to prove it. Also relevant is the news that on September 7, 2004 President Musharraf had a 3-1/2 hours long meeting with the Ulema, where according to press reports he sought their support and assured them that there will be no interference in the affairs of madrassahs (The daily Dawn September 8, 2004). Orders to meet mullahs’ demands concerning the police post at Rabwah had been issued and implemented a day earlier.
Before concluding this brief report, we quote below from a High Court decision the Shariah dictate in such cases and ask plenipotentiaries of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as to on what basis and principle they took the decision that they took, and also as to how far they hope to go sans principles:
“Usurpation is unlawful. Any person knowingly and willfully usurping the property of another is held to be a criminal and a sinner, and therefore he becomes liable for compensation. The object of Islam is peace. By encroachment of the rights of another, peace is disturbed and therefore a sin is committed. Forcible possession is oppression in an extreme form of which there is a strong condemnation both in the Holy Quran and Hadis. A usurper will be hurled down unto seventh earth on the Resurrection Day – 4: 15, 14:12, and he shall be made to bear the burden of earth that he usurped – 14: 295W. A marauder is not a follower of the prophet, and Islam enjoins no compulsion in any action – 1:70. Riot and loot are strictly unlawful -14:3. Prophet even instructed not to take a staff of his brother out of joke.”
“If somebody built a mosque on his own share of the land which was a joint property and subsequently it was revealed that a part of it belonged to another shareholder, it would no longer remain a mosque owing to the proprietary nature of the land under it.”
13. We find no merit in this appeal which is dismissed with costs.
(PLD 1973 Lahore 500)
The design of the lately developed flower called ‘Enlightened Moderation’ looks beautiful but its foul smell and unpleasant reality can only be experienced by a visit to the police post at Rabwah. The incident showed how a mountain of mischief can be built by mullah out of a molehill, with the support from authorities. During these seven weeks Ahmadis of Rabwah were threatened with great risk to their security and human rights. Eventually the government took a decision that has no legal or moral base whatsoever. In fact, it violated all norms of civil society. Shakespeare, the English poet reputed to have a most comprehensive soul, wrote for such occasions: O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason. (Julius Caesar, III)
Appendage. It would be of interest to bring up here and compare the case of Ahmadiyya mosque at Syedwala district Sheikhupura with the case of Police Post mosque. The Ahmadiyya mosque was destroyed by an attacking mob of extremists on August 26, 2001, in the presence of the police. The mob looted useful items like electric fans etc; and destroyed the mosque building. A few hours later, the Superintendent Police arrived from the district headquarters along with a contingent. He took all the Ahmadi men, 28 in number, in his custody and led them to the police station. No police case was registered against the attackers. Since then, the mosque lies in ruins. The government did not have the courtesy or the ‘enlightened moderation’ to rebuild the mosque for Ahmadis; after all, it is the duty of the government to protect places of worship of all its citizens. Ahmadis have asked the government to let them build the mosque at their own expense. The government has refused the permission. It is now more than three years that the ruins of the mosque stand as testimony to the enormity of the crime of the mullah and the utter disregard of authorities for fundamental rights of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan.