Religiously Motivated Murders – 2009

2009

 

Mr. Saeed Ahmad of Kotri, Sindh

Kotri, Sindh; January 19, 2009: Mr. Saeed Ahmad was assassinated by unknown persons at Kotri on January 19, 2009. He was fifty-five. He had no personal enmity with anyone. He returned home one evening from his job. At the entrance of his house, a man standing nearby shot him in the head. The attacker fled after the attack. Mr. Ahmad died on the spot. An FIR was recorded against unknown persons, but no arrest has yet been made.

He was a pious man who was at peace with himself and his environment. He had a wife and four children. Three of his children are college-going. This family migrated from Sakrand to Kotri in 1990. He was buried in the Ahmadiyya graveyard in Kot Gondal, District Hyderabad.

Kotri has been the scene of intensive anti-Ahmadiyya sectarian agitation for sometime. The police and the judiciary has always acted with hostility towards Ahmadis, and failed to provide them with protection. The administration and the police have to share the responsibility for the loss of this innocent life.

 

Mr. Mubashir Ahmad of Karachi

Karachi, February 26, 2009: Mr. Mubashir Ahmad of R-99A, Rizwan Society, KDA Scheme No. 33, Karachi was shot to death by opponents of the community on 20th February 2009. He was 42. According to the details, on the day of the incident, Mr. Ahmad was returning home on bicycle on completion of his work in Steel Rolling Mill situated on Mangho Pir Road Karachi. When he reached near a madrassah, two men appeared, fired at him and fled away. He was grievously injured; that resulted in loss of great deal of blood. He was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital in a critical state, where he died later. He expired before his close relatives could reach him.

Mr. Ahmad was a harmless and simple man by nature. He had no personal vendetta against anyone. He left behind a wife and three children. He faced religious prejudice at his work-place for years. He received threats to his life, and faced social boycott off and on.

 

Rana Ata-ul-Karim of Multan

Multan; August 6, 2009: Rana Ata-ul-Karim fell to assassins’ bullets at his home on August 6, 2009 at about 10 a.m. He was 36. He left behind a widow, a son aged 9 and two daughters, four and three years old.

Rana Karim was a well-known Ahmadi in the neighborhood. He had a master’s degree in agriculture and was in the business of production and distribution of poultry feeds and medicines. In the preceding few days of his killing unknown persons were seen moving around his residence in a mysterious way. He became careful and took some precautions. On the day of the incident when he went out, three armed men entered his house, shut his family in one room, and waited for his return. His wife pleaded the intruders to take away whatever they wanted, but they took nothing except life. As soon as Rana Karim entered his home, they fired at him. He was hit three times. One bullet hit his neck and damaged his windpipe, the other hit close to his ear while the third hit low and damaged his kidney. He died on the spot.

Multan is headquarters of an anti-Ahmadi organization. Extremist elements are well-known to the police. The Ahmadiyya spokesman, through a press release, requested higher authorities to take notice and immediate action.

 

Dr Shiraz Ahmad Bajwa and his wife in Multan

Multan, March 14, 2009: Horrific murder of an Ahmadi couple, both doctors, was committed at their residence in Wapda Colony, Multan, on the afternoon of March 14, 2009. Both were tortured and suffocated by the assailants. The deceased Dr Shiraz Ahmad Bajwa was 37, while his wife Dr Noreen Bajwa was 29.

On the day of the incident the couple returned home at about 2:45 p.m. They resided in Wapda Colony which otherwise is a well- protected residential area, gated community. About an hour later, their maid reportedly found them murdered, and informed the security staff of the incident.

The body of Dr Shiraz Bajwa was found lying in the bedroom, hands tied behind his back, mouth gagged, blindfolded, and with visible marks of strangulation. The body of Dr Noreen Bajwa was found in the living room, hands tied behind her back, mouth gagged, blind folded and bleeding from the nose.

Dr Shiraz was an eye-specialist who had worked at many hospitals including the Fazle Umar Hospital at Rabwah, a charitable institution of Ahmadiyya Community. Dr Noreen worked at a children’s hospital. Both of them had excellent academic and professional careers and enjoyed good reputation. Both were popular among their colleagues. Although they had been receiving threats for some time for being Ahmadi, neither of them ever reacted to the provocation.

The tragedy is heightened further by the fact that Bajwas were expecting their first child.

Nothing was stolen from their home. All cash, jewelry and other valuables belonging to the couple remained untouched. The assailants were blinded apparently by hate and malice to commit this senseless act.

Multan is a headquarters town of an anti-Ahmadi organization. They make no secret of their ill-will and hatred on sectarian grounds. It is also the centre of intense anti-Ahmadi propaganda and provocative publications. Last year they mounted a major effort to deprive Ahmadis of their prayer centre. The administration and the police responded with great care and feebleness to their challenge to Ahmadis’ right to worship.

Authorities issued a warning to all concerned that sectarian and militant elements had prepared a long hit-list of Ahmadiyya locations and personalities. These attacks had picked up in frequency and gravity during the preceding months. Thus all available evidence clearly demonstrates that this was a case of targeted murder. Both of the deceased were killed because they were Ahmadis.

The police arrested three men in October who admitted to the murders of Dr. Shiraz Bajwa, his wife Dr. Noreen and Rana Ataul Karim, Ahmadis of Multan. Mr. Karim was murdered in August 2009.These murders were committed in March 2009 and August 2009 respectively. In Pakistan, an admission to the police can sometimes be disputable. The accused normally disown such admissions in the court.

Arrest of a murderer here is no guarantee that he will be punished for his crime. Often the police do a bad job in presenting adequate and credible evidence to the court. Also, it is not rare that for a crime committed under religious motivation, a judge may consider it rather pious to be lenient to the indicted criminal. For example on October 7, 2005 a group of religious terrorists opened fire on Ahmadis in a mosque in Mong, District Mandi Bahauddin, where they were offering their morning prayers in congregation. The attack resulted in 8 Ahmadis dead and 20 injured. The police eventually arrested the culprits who had committed not only this crime but some others as well. The administration was confident of the guilt of the accused. However the trial judge of the anti-terrorism court acquitted them of the charge and set them free. In another incident two mullas murdered an Ahmadi in a Faisalabad bazaar in broad daylight on November 14, 2002. Subsequent to the arrest they proudly claimed that by dispatching the Ahmadi to hell they had performed only their religious duty. The trial judge, in his own wisdom, acquitted the accused who had held the victim firmly while the other stabbed him, and sentenced the one who wielded the knife to death. Later, on appeal, the High Court, in unprecedented way, reduced the death sentence of the murderer of the Ahmadi to 7 years’ imprisonment. The victim’s family, in protest, appealed to the Supreme Court who, in a summary way, dismissed the appeal and maintained the reduced sentence of the religiously-motivated convicted murderer.

 

Mian Laiq Ahmad of Faisalabad

Faisalabad; May 29, 2009: Another member of the Ahmadiyya Community lost his life in a senseless attack in Faisalabad. Mian Laiq Ahmad (54), a well known Ahmadi trader died on May 29 after being brutally attacked the previous evening. He was the 5th Ahmadi to be murdered in 2009 for his faith.

On May 28 evening the deceased was returning home in ‘Peoples Colony’, when he saw a parked Toyota Corolla blocking the road outside his home. As Mr. Ahmad neared his home he slowed down when unknown persons jumped out of the Toyota and ran towards his car. It seems that at this point Mr. Ahmad tried to reverse his car but as he did, he was shot in the head. At that point the attackers got closer to Mr. Ahmad and fired repeatedly at him. He was hit in the stomach and arms. The assailants then fled the scene.

Mr. Ahmad was immediately taken to the local hospital and later transferred to the Allied Hospital but was unable to recover. He passed away at 11.30 a.m. the following day. Mr. Ahmad is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.

Anti-Ahmadiyya conferences continue to be held on a regular basis (all over Pakistan, and in particular within the Punjab). In these conferences audience are told that it is their duty to kill Ahmadis, so the audience are led to believe that the bloodshed of innocent Ahmadis is something that will be greatly rewarded. It is worth noting that one such Khatme Nabuwwat Conference was held in the neighbourhood where the deceased lived, only a day before the attack. The conference was addressed by mullas: Muhammad Usman Shakir, Muhammad Ayub Siddiqui, Khalid Mahmud Azamabadi and Abdul Hafeez Tabassum (The daily Aman; Faisalabad, May 28, 2009).

Faisalabad is a hub of Wahabi activism. Politically, the PML (N) is strong here. Authorities maintain a permissive attitude towards anti-Ahmadiyya agitation in this industrial city. This metropolis has claimed a number of Ahmadis’ lives in the past. The criminals and religious fanatics are known to the police.

 

Mr. Khalid Rasheed and Mr. Zafar Iqbal of Quetta

Quetta; June 24, 2009: Two Ahmadis, Mr. Khalid Rasheed and Mr. Zafar Iqbal were shot dead by unknown person on the night of June 24, 2009.

As he routinely did, Mr. Rasheed drove his colleague Mr. Iqbal to his home. He stayed with Mr. Iqbal for about half an hour. As he was leaving, the two men were fired at.

Mr. Rasheed left behind a widow who is a doctor, two young daughters and a son.

Mr. Zafar Iqbal is survived by his widow and three sons who are all students. At the time of the attack, Mr. Iqbal’s brother Mr. Mubarak Ahmad was also by his side. The assassin fired two shots at him also, but missed. Mr. Iqbal’s brother-in-law Mr. Waseem Ahmad was martyred in Quetta four years ago.

Mr. Zafar Iqbal was a practicing Ahmadi. He had received threatening phone calls.

 

Mr. Muhammad Azam Farooqi of Uch Sharif

Uch Sharif; September 26, 2009: Mr. Muhammad Azam Farooqi was murdered because of his faith on September 26, 2009 in the presence of his wife and daughter. He was returning home on his motorcycle from a family wedding at 8:30 p.m. when two unknown persons brandishing a firearm forced him to stop. In the muddle Mr. Farooqi, his wife and daughter fell from the motorcycle. The assailants pointed a gun at him. Mr. Farooqi told them to take whatever they wanted and leave him and his family alone, but as he said this, one of them shot him in the temple. He died on the spot. The assailants took nothing else and fled the scene. It was a targeted killing; he was killed only for being an Ahmadi. Mr. Farooqi was in the medical profession. He was a helpful man, and was popular in the area. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

The Supreme Head of Ahmadiyya Community mentioned his martyrdom in his Friday sermon, and said:

“The opponents of our Jamaat may murder a few of our members; they may loot Ahmadis of their wealth; they may destroy our buildings; they may stop us constructing mosques, but they will never weaken our faith. …

“The members of the Jamaat worldwide need to focus on prayers. Because the way the situation is developing it seems that Ahmadis, particularly in Pakistan, are going to face increased cruelty and hardship. Our ignorant opponents do not realise that their such actions are not harming our community, but in fact are harming the country and society at large.”

 

Mr. Zulfiquar Mansur of Quetta

Quetta; October 11, 2009: Mr. Zulfiquar Mansur’s body was found outside the suburbs of the city on October 11. He had been shot three times, including in the eye. He had been abducted a month earlier. He was 35 years old.

He left his home in his car on September 11, 2009 when armed persons abducted him. These criminals used the same car they had used earlier to abduct another Ahmadi. They contacted the family subsequently and demanded 150 million rupees. They mentioned the ‘Qadianism’ of the victim often in their talk. Their original demand was, of course, beyond the capacity of the family. Intermittent negotiations went on in the following weeks. Eventually, mutually agreed demands were met. However, the abductors still killed Mr. Mansur.

More than a year ago, they murdered Mr. Mansur’s uncle, Mr. Abbas Ahmad in Quetta in April 2008. This year in June, Mr. Khalid Rashid, another relative of Mr. Mansur was murdered in the same city. Quetta has quite a history of anti-Ahmadi violence. As early as 1948, Major Mahmud Ahmad, an army doctor, murdered here was the first Ahmadi to be murdered for his faith in Pakistan. The authorities did not charge anyone for the act and took almost no action against the mullas who had openly incited the mob to undertake the criminal assault. This attitude has prevailed ever since. Ahmadiyya mosque in Quetta was sealed by authorities in 1986 on demand of Muslim clerics. The district authorities of Balochistan expelled Ahmadis from their homes in subsequent years. The same religious elements, with which the authorities cooperated to suppress Ahmadis, have now turned against the state; they assassinated a provincial minister a few days earlier. The state, however, continues to nourish its links with Ulama Karam.

Mr. Mansur is survived by his old mother, a widow and two sons of school-going age.

 

Rana Saleem Ahmad of Sanghar, Sindh

Sanghar, Sindh; November 26, 2009: Rana Saleem Ahmad, the Deputy Amir of Jamaat Ahmadiyya Sanghar was shot dead by unknown assailants in the evening outside the Ahmadiyya mosque. He is the 11th Ahmadi killed for his faith in this year alone.

He was closing the mosque gate after the sunset prayers when someone shot him from close quarters with a pistol, and the bullet hit him in the nose and came out from the back of his head. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital where he was declared dead in the emergency room. He was 51.

Rana Saleem was an educator. He was the proprietor and manager of the ‘New Light Academy’ which is reputed for its high standard of education for children. Approximately a thousand children are enrolled in this academy.

Rana Saleem was a practicing Ahmadi and had served the community in various positions for a long time. He was married, and is survived by his widow and three teenage children.

 

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