Denial of release on bail
It is great relief for an Ahmadi if he can be released against surety while awaiting and undergoing trial under the religious laws. In the past, sometime bails could be obtained, although not easily, but with the passage of time, and particularly with the introduction of anti-terrorist courts, and excessive application of the blasphemy law, it is becoming impossible to get bail. The four Ahmadis from Mianwali suffered for four years in prison while awaiting trial and a decision on their request for bail. Mr. Anwar, another Ahmadi, waited for two years in prison before he was released on bail. Indiscriminate and mindless application of the blasphemy clause PPC 295-C against Ahmadis gives an excuse to lower courts not to consider bail applications. At present 15 Ahmadis from Umarkot district are awaiting trial in an anti-terrorist court, so their release on bail is out of question. The three Ahmadis from Sheikhupura who were sentenced to life imprisonment after being falsely accused of blasphemy have appealed to the High Court against the unfair judgement and requested to be released on bail. The High Court judge took no time in rejecting the bail application. The four Ahmadis from Chak 20 Ghugh, awaiting trial for writing Kalima in their Ahmadiyya mosque are now in prison; they applied for bail but the Sessions Judge refused it. Refusal of bail to these poor fellows amounts to making them suffer imprisonment even before finding them guilty of the alleged offence.
The agony of court-appearances
Ahmadis implicated in various religious cases suffer prosecution in courts often for years. They have to present themselves in person in the court periodically. Quite often it is hazardous as well; Ahmadis have been murdered in court premises in the presence of police. Court appearances are costly also. The accused have to be present at the courts at 8 or 9 a.m. and wait there for the call, sometimes the whole day. They lose working times and thus it affects adversely their wages and income. Occasionally they have to travel long distances. Some residents of Rabwah have traveled over many years to present themselves at a court in Karachi- a return journey of 2000 Km. Hereunder please find a statement for the month of February 1998 only.
Apart from the 88 on-going cases at Chiniot, many Ahmadis all over Pakistan had to appear before magistrates and judges in anti-Ahmadiyya cases. All the details are not known; some of these are mentioned.
– Mr. Anwar of Rajanpur presented himself at the court on 6 February. No hearing: to be present again on 12 March
– Messers Riaz and three others traveled to Mianwali on 20 February to present themselves. Directed to come again on 7 March
– Ch Naseeruddin of Ahmadabad to present himself before the magistrate on 21 February
– Dr Majoka presented himself before the Addl Session Khushab on 21-2-1998. No proceedings; to present himself again on 21 March
– Nine Ahmadis of Ali Pur Chatta presented themselves before the Session Judge Gujranwala on 14 February; to present themselves again on 21 March
– Messers Nisar and Sharif and the President Lodhran Ahmadiyya Community presented themselves on 3 February. The next date of presentation-26 February
– Ahmadis involved in Dulmial Mosque case to present themselves again on 14 March
– Thirteen Ahmadis presented themselves before Civil Judge, D G Khan on 24 February
– Ahmadis appeared in court on 9 February in the Graveyard case at Chakwal. Appeared again on 24 Feb
– Master Nasir Ahmad, sentenced to six years imprisonment in Wedding Invitation Card case to appear in Lahore High Court on 2 March
This list is not complete.