The Judiciary – 2008

2008

 

Four Ahmadis booked

Goth Ahmadiyya, District Mirpur Sindh; April/May 2008: Four Ahmadis, Mr. Bashir Ahmad s/o Mr. Nasir Ahmad, Mr. Rashid Ahmad, Mr. Mubarak Ahmad and Mr. Nasir Ahmad were booked under Ahmadi-specific PPC 298-C and 298-B. The incident is indicative of the current state of both Pakistani state and society.

On April 11, 2008 Mr. Bashir Ahmad went to the local flour mill (chakki) to buy flour. A mulla already sitting there greeted him with the traditional Salam to which Bashir responded in the normal way. Thereafter the mulla asked Bashir to introduce himself further. On learning that Bashir was an Ahmadi, the mulla flew into a rage and blamed him of being instrumental in breaking his vow that he will never socialize with Qadianis. He became violent and attempted to assault the Ahmadi with a nearby chair. The situation was prevented from worsening with the intervention of those who were present.

Later, the mulla mustered a few dozen others and proceeded to report to the police station. There, the police registered his report but not an FIR. The police subsequently raided and detained two Ahmadis namely Bashir Ahmad and Naseer Ahmad. At the police station the two learnt that a report had been filed against four Ahmadis. Subsequent efforts were successful as the police decided not to register an FIR.

These religious miscreants then took the issue to the Sessions Court at Umerkot where the judge conveniently ordered that a criminal case should be registered. The police complied, but Ahmadis hurriedly secured bail before arrest. The mulla could not tolerate this so he decided to act on his own.

Twelve days after the registration of the case, when Mr. Zahid Ahmad was returning home in the evening on a motor cycle from Bachao Band Stop, he was intercepted by two armed men. Zahid stopped and they fired at him. The shot missed. The two grabbed him and struck him with an axe. The attackers left him in an injured state. He somehow returned to Bachao Band where his friends took him to a hospital. They referred him to the Civil Hospital, Mirpur.

The foot-prints of the attackers led to the village to which the opponents and litigants of the earlier case belong. Those people supported the mullas in their campaign against Ahmadis. The situation caused great concern to Ahmadis.

 

Extremists accused of murder of 8 Ahmadis acquitted

The five accused who had been arrested subsequent to the murder of 8 Ahmadis of Mong, District Mandi Bahauddin, were acquitted by an Anti-terrorism Court at Gujranwala, Punjab on June 7, 2008. It would be recalled that approximately three years ago, a group of  extremists attacked Ahmadi worshippers on October 7, 2005  at the morning congregational prayers in their mosque at about 05:15, sprayed bullets from behind, and scored eight dead and 20 injured. The incident received condemnation from all over.

Months later, authorities arrested the main culprit and subsequently four others who had helped him. They belonged to the banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The case was brought before an Anti-terrorism Court. The authorities and the prosecution claimed that they had a tight case and expected a verdict of guilty. The judge, however, for his own reasons, acquitted them all.

It will not be out of place to mention here judicial handling of another rare case wherein murderer of an Ahmadi was arrested and put on trial. A mulla Imtiaz Hussain Shah, helped by one Rafaqat Ali got hold of an Ahmadi Mr. Abdul Waheed in a bazaar of Faisalabad on November 14, 2002. While Rafaqat Ali held the victim, the mulla stabbed him to death in broad daylight at about 10:30. The next day Imtiaz Shah surrendered to the police and proudly admitted to having murdered the Kafir. The Anti-terrorism Court tried the two accomplices, sentenced Imtiaz Shah to death and kindly acquitted his helper. While Imtiaz Shah appealed to the High Court for a review, the brother of the deceased Ahmadi appealed against the acquittal of the accomplice. The High Court, very mercifully, maintained the acquittal of Rafaqat, and reduced the sentence of the convicted murderer to only 7 years’ imprisonment. This was not heard of ever in a case of this type, so the aggrieved party approached the Supreme Court for review of the High Court decision. At the apex court, the Chief Justice refused to listen to the arguments of the victim’s advocate and most summarily announced the dismissal of the petitions vide the shortest-ever order in the most serious cases involving a death sentence. It is not surprising that such judicial attitude towards murder of an Ahmadi encourages incidents like that at Mong.

Since the promulgation of the notorious anti-Ahmadiyya ordinance 94 Ahmadis have been murdered for their faith.

 

Perpetual warrant of arrest against Ahmadis

Islamabad: According to a press report in the daily ‘Aman’ of Faisalabad of November 21, 2008, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (the bench comprising Chief Justice Dogar, Justice Yusuf and Justice Ejaz-ul-Hasan) ordered that the perpetual warrants of arrest issued against the accused of the famous 24-years old case of the Qadianis who killed two Muslims at Sahiwal remain operative and the accused when found in Pakistan are to be arrested immediately and brought before the court.

The facts of the case briefly are mentioned below from Amnesty International circular ASA/33/04/86 (Ref A), and from the prestigious daily Dawn, Lahore Bureau report, of February 1987 (Ref B):

  • In the early morning of 26th October 1984 a group of a few dozen men are reported to have attacked the Ahmadiyya community’s place of worship in Sahiwal, Punjab province… When the group of men began to paint out the writings on the mosque, the caretaker is reported to have tried to protect the property and the other Ahmadis present. (Ref A)
  • On this desecration of the Quranic verses and the Kalima and defiling of the place of worship, Naeemuddin (the caretaker) who was present inside, was highly provoked and by using his 12-bore licensed gun fired in the air to scare away the trespassers. The raiding party did not desist, and instead advanced towards Naeemuddin in a hostile and violent manner creating grave apprehension in his mind that children and women living in the quarters of Baitul Hamd (the Ahmadiyya mosque) may also be harmed by the group. Naeemuddin, therefore fired a second shot from his gun in the exercise of his right of self-defence. Qari Bashir Ahmad, deceased was hit by this gun-shot while he was inside the premises of Baitul Hamd…. The mob seemed to be infuriated and instead of withdrawing adamantly went ahead which obliged Naeemuddin to fire from his gun again, thereby hitting Azhar Rafiq who fell within compound of Baitul Hamd.  (Ref B)
  • The caretaker, Naeemuddin, is reported to have given the police a full account of what occurred and to have admitted responsibility for firing the shots resulting in the two fatalities. However in spite of this at least six other members of the Ahmadiyya community were arrested, including, it is said, two or more persons not present during the incident. (Ref A)
  • The petitioners (accused) were tried in a Special Military Court which on June 16, 1985, found all the petitioners guilty of all the charges and awarded death sentence to Naeemuddin and Ilyas, while seven years’ imprisonment to remaining four petitioners…. The order of the Martial Law Administrator pointed out the deficiencies and inadequacies in the prosecution evidence and observed that findings and sentence of all the convicted persons required to be reconsidered on all the charges.…In pursuance of the direction of the MLA, the court reassembled on 21st October, 1985, and instead of reducing the sentence as observed by the MLA, maintained the death sentence of two petitioners and enhanced the sentence of four petitioners from seven years to life imprisonment. The petitioners submitted (later to the Lahore High Court) that they had reasons to believe that after the Martial Law Administrator, Zone “A” had declined to confirm the original findings and sentence and had asked the court to revise its findings, pressure was brought to bear upon all concerned from quarters actively opposed to the Ahmadiyya sect. When the Martial law Administrator, Zone “A” did not approve of the so-called revised findings and sentence the case was kept back and ultimately sent to the President (General Zia-ul-Haq), who had met delegations of the religious groups opposing the Ahmadis and asking  for their death purely on religious grounds. (Ref B).
  • This concern (regarding the convicts) is aggravated by the fact that the petitioners were tried by a special military court, the procedures of which failed to provide minimum legal safeguards for a fair trial according to the international standards. Moreover, Amnesty International is concerned that the investigation by the police and the prosecution of this case by the authorities may not have been impartially conducted because it involved members of the Ahmadiyya community. (Ref A)

Although the Chief Martial Law Administrator wanted to go ahead with the executions, the political situation forced him to lift the Martial Law. The Lahore High Court delayed an implementation of the verdict of the Military Court. Eventually, after many years, when the LHC took up the case for a decision, it released the prisoners on the grounds that under PPC 304 the accused could receive maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, and they had already remained in prison for that long. The accused were then set free.

However, the anti-Ahmadi lobby wanted the victims of military ‘justice’ to suffer further, so they approached the Supreme Court for a review of the Lahore High Court decision. Fearing the outcome of this move, the accused fled abroad, and the Supreme Court issued a warrant for their arrest.

Now almost 24 years later, the accused still face warrant of arrest and further proceedings, all because of a plea made by the Ahrar group who were against the creation of Pakistan before the Independence and did irreparable damage to the state by precipitation of anti-Ahmadiyya and anti-government riots in the Punjab in 1953.

 

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