Religiously Motivated Murders – 2008

2008

 

Dr Abdul Mannan Siddiqui and Seth Muhammad Yousuf of Sindh

  • The District Amir of the Ahmadiyya community, Mirpur Khas (Sindh) murdered in his own hospital
  • The District Amir of Nawab Shah (Sindh) assassinated the next day

These incidents were preceded by a GEO TV religious program in which, the participants discussed issues of Jihad and the Islamic obligation to kill etc., during a discussion on Ahmadiyyat.

Sindh: Dr Abdul Mannan Siddiqui, the District President of the Ahmadiyya community Mirpur Khas was murdered at approximately 14:30 on September 8, 2008 in his hospital at Mirpur Khas. He was conducting his rounds of the wards at the time. Two assailants, one bearded and the other masked, opened fire at him. He was shot nine times. Mr. Arif, the doctor’s Ahmadi guard was shot seven times and was taken to Karachi in a critical state. Two patients were also caught in crossfire. The assassins fled after the attack.

Dr Siddiqui, 46, was a highly qualified and respected physician. He was a very capable man and was well liked for his sense of charity. He would routinely visit remote rural areas of Sindh on a monthly basis to provide free medical care to the poor. He was also a popular figure among other sections of society. According to the daily Dawn of September 9, 2008, “Later in the day, activists of different NGOs, including HRCP core group, took out a rally in protest against targeted killing of Dr Siddiqui.”

Dr Siddiqui is survived by his widow, a teenage daughter and son and his aged mother.

Dr Siddiqui was the 15th Ahmadi doctor to be killed in Pakistan because of his religion. Since the promulgation of the notorious Ordinance XX in 1984 specifically aimed at Ahmadis, he is the 91st Ahmadi to be killed for his faith.

The day after Dr Siddiqui’s murder another prominent Ahmadi, Seth Muhammad Yousuf, the District Amir of the Ahmadiyya community in Nawab Shah (Sindh) was killed in broad daylight in the local bazaar. He was on his way home from work at about 18:30 on September 9, 2008 when he was repeatedly shot in the head, neck and chest. He was quickly taken to the hospital, but before he could be operated upon, he succumbed to his wounds. Seth Yousuf was 66. He was a sociable, charitable and hospitable man, popular among everyone. He is survived by his widow, three sons and a daughter.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned both murders. Mr. Altaf Hussain, the chief of the MQM denounced this sectarian violence. In a statement the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said that they were ‘horrified’ to learn of these two murders particularly as they came shortly after a broadcaster on one of Pakistan’s main TV stations (GEO) urged viewers to kill blasphemers and apostates as a religious duty (Daily Times, September 13, 2008). The mullas however claimed that the murders were a part of Judo-Christian conspiracy and a result of internal strife within the Ahmadiyya community. (The daily Aman, September 15, 2008).

Individuals and groups that are committed to anti-Ahmadiyya violence are well-known to the police and the administration. These people are very open about their aims and objectives and have a history of shedding Ahmadi blood. The authorities can easily bring them to justice if they are asked to do so by the ruling elite. Currently Mr. Qaim Ali Shah of the PPP is the Chief Minister of Sindh.

Unsurprisingly the response of the authorities was to push a criminal case under the Ahmadi-specific laws against a number of Ahmadi traders and businessmen in Rabwah, who published Ramadan time-tables and used the words ‘Imam’ and ‘Khilafat’, thereby allegedly injuring the feelings of Muslims.

Dr Liaquat’s outrages on GEO were condemned by columnists and journalists in the press e.g. the Daily Times, The Friday Times, the Pakistan, the Aajkal etc. The International Union of Journalists also issued strong condemnations.

Except for Mr. Altaf Hussain of the MQM, no other political leader displayed enough courage to condemn these murders.

 

Mr. Basharat Ahmad Mughal  of Karachi

Karachi; February 24, 2008: Mr. Basharat Ahmad Mughal son of Mr. Siraj Din became 93rd Ahmadi to be murdered for his faith in Pakistan since the Ahmadi-specific ordinance was promulgated by General Zia. He was approximately 50. He joined the community in 1986. He was the president of the local community in Manzoor Colony, Karachi.

Mr. Mughal was regular in his fajr prayers at the Ahmadiyya mosque. Noticing him absent at the congregational prayer, the fellow worshippers inquired after him and found him dead at some distance in a street. He had received five bullet wounds, three on the side, one in the neck and the fifth on his palm.

Some eye-witnesses had seen the assassins arrive on a motor cycle.

Earlier, he had suffered arrest under the Ahmadi-specific ordinance. Three years earlier, he had been abducted and detained for a fortnight.

Mr. Mughal had an excellent reputation. He was known for his kind and helpful nature. He was a pious man, and he spared time for community work. Many non-Ahmadis visited his family to express their sympathy.

The deceased is survived by a widow and seven children. Four of the children attend school and college. His elderly parents are still alive.

Approximately ten days earlier, the Sindh Police had claimed discovery of a new extremist religious organization calledTanzeem Tehrik Islam Lashkar Muhammadi, and arrested some of its members who were former members of the bannedHarkatul Mujahideen and Jaish Muhammad. They admitted targeting various individuals, including Ahmadis. They were found to be involved in the murder of Dr Hameedullah, an Ahmadi murdered in Karachi last year. It appears that other cells and auxiliaries of such groups remain active and effective.

Manzoor Colony has been a scene of great tragedy for Ahmadis for many years. Five Ahmadis have been assassinated there to-date. Anti-Ahmadi agitators openly harass their victims and issue threats. Some Ahmadis have even moved from the area. The police is in a position to rein in the extremists but only if they decide to do so.

Mr. Basharat Ahmad Mughal belonged to Lathianwala in District Faisalabad. His dead body was taken there. He was later laid to rest in a graveyard in Rabwah.

 

Dr  Sarwar of Sanghu, Peshawar

Peshawar; March 19, 2008: Dr Sarwar of Sanghu was murdered in his village near Peshawar at about 8 P.M. on March 19, 2008. He was 70.

Dr Sarwar practiced medicine at his residence. He had a good reputation and was generally popular for his piety and sympathetic nature. He had no personal enemies, but there is no shortage of sectarian bigots in the NWFP who undertake violence in the name of their religious beliefs. He had been attacked in the past as well, but escaped unhurt. On the day of the incident two unknown men came to his house, rang the bell, and shot him when he came to meet them. He was severely injured, and was rushed by his family to Hayatabad Complex where he breathed his last.

His family was the only Ahmadis in the village. They left temporarily for fear of their safety.

 

Sheikh Saeed Ahmad of Karachi

Karachi: An Ahmadi, Sheikh Saeed Ahmad, was the target of an attack by religious zealots on September 1, 2008 at approximately 11.00 P.M. in Manzoor Colony, Karachi. He passed away on September 13th, 2008.

After the attack, Saeed was rushed to the hospital by a group of his friends. His wounds were severe and he was in a critical condition. Doctors had to remove his spleen and one of his kidneys. They used 25 bottles of blood to sustain him. After the operation doctors shifted him to the I.C.U. while he remained unconscious.

He made a slight recovery after three days, but remained on life-support and still required more blood to stay alive. All in all, 60 bottles of blood were used. His intestine and stomach were greatly damaged by the shots. He struggled for his life for 12 days, but eventually he succumbed. His first child was born to his bereaved wife a week after the attack. Saeed was 42 years old and owned a pharmacy. Assailants acting in the name of religion had killed his brother, Sheikh Rafiq Ahmad, two and half years earlier in Karachi. It might also have been the same group which murdered his maternal uncle, Professor Dr. Sheikh Mubashir Ahmad of Karachi, a renowned physician, on September 26th, 2007. Some years ago, unknown murderers killed two Ahmadis in the same locality. All this has caused great concern among the Ahmadi community of Manzoor Colony. The administration and the police have been found wanting in tracing the culprits, although given the circumstances and the well-known extremists who oppose the community, this should not have been difficult.

While all this was happening to Ahmadis at the hand of bigots and extremists in Sindh, the police:

  • Arrested a disabled aged Ahmadi for allegedly writing a letter to a Muslim cleric.
  • Booked another Ahmadi for allegedly writing something blasphemous on a road with chalk.
  • Failed to protect an Ahmadi who was forced to flee from his home along with his family in fear of persecution.

 

Mr. Muhammad Ghazanfar Chattha of Vehari

Burewala, District Vehari; November 18, 2008: Unknown pillion riders murdered Mr. Muhammad Ghazanfar Chattha, Ahmadi, in Burewala on November 18, 2008.

Mr. Chattha was an Inspector Finance in the community organization. He was visiting the district president of the Ahmadiyya community when unknown assailants fired at him. He died on the spot. The assassins fled after the attack.

He is survived by his wife, one teen-aged son and three daughters. Two of the daughters are college students, while the third suffers from a mental illness.

This is the sixth Ahmadi death for their faith this year. Since the promulgation of anti-Ahmadi Ordinance XX in 1984 Mr. Chattha has become the 94th Ahmadi to die at the hands of violent extremists and criminals.

 

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