The Media – 2010

2010

 

The evil that men do – in Azad Kashmir

Kotli, Azad Kashmir; April 2010: Mr. Amir Wajahat Daud got married, and his family held a wedding reception at the occasion on April 11, 2010. They invited their Ahmadi and non-Ahmadi friends, relatives, associates to the reception. The reception proceedings were happy, blissful and normal; however a few mullas, a vernacular daily, a fanatic minister and some aggressive bigots unfortunately defiled the occasion.

Two days after the reception, the daily Kashmir Express, published from Mirpur and Muzaffarabad, covered this wedding reception (Da‘wat Walima) in three stories in its issue of April 13, 2010. In the first one, the paper quoted its District Reporter that the wedding reception was held at the Custodian Rest House by an Ahmadi family, and the opening part of the program was a recitation of the Holy Quran and a prayer. According to the reporter the participants were astonished at this (dang reh gai). The report named most of the notable non-Ahmadi invitees who were present at the occasion.

The second story filed by the same reporter carried the headline: Great provocation in Kotli over recitation of the Holy Quran in the wedding reception of Qadiani. The reporter conveyed that the Muslim population were greatly agitated over the participation of some Muslims in the reception and condemned the shameful act of the recitation (sharamnak harkat ki shadeed muzammat ki). This report reiterated that Ahmadis were ‘non-Muslims, apostates, and leave alone recitation, they were forbidden even to touch the holy book.’ The report conveyed that a true Muslim would never dishonor himself by participation in Qadianis’ social functions. It reported that ‘soon a major drive would be launched in Kotli and its suburbs to crush the evil of Qadianiat.’ Another story in three-columns on the same day quoted a mulla Zafar Iqbal Rathor of the Tehrik Khatme Nabuwwat: “Qadianis should remain within their confines; we shall not tolerate their use of Islamic practices. The so-called Muslims who interact socially with Qadianis and participate in their weddings etc will be held accountable on the Day of Reckoning”. The daily reported his entire outburst. This story named the reporter as Shaukat Qamar; he later claimed great credit for his professional work on this occasion.

The mullas and these pressmen seem to have assessed that this was a great opportunity to agitate the public mind on a sectarian issue and promote sales of the paper. They went into high gear and devised a plan, perhaps the first of its kind in the history of Pakistani press. They prepared and published an Appeal (23 cm x 8 cm) over this incident and addressed it to the highest judicial, political, administrative and police authorities. A translation of it is given below:

 

Appeal

The Chief Justice Azad Kashmir Supreme Court

The Prime Minister Azad Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir

The Chief Secretary, Azad Kashmir

The Inspector General Police, Azad Kashmir

An open violation was undertaken of the Pakistan Penal Code 298-B and C by regular recitation of the Holy Quran followed by prayer in the Walima reception of the Qadianis in Custodian Rest House Kotli on April 11, 2010. Take Suo Motu and legal action on this so that the peace of Kotli is not disturbed. Also, the Ulama are requested to issue a fatwa (edict) against Muslims who participated in the Qadiani’s wedding feast.

The names of individuals who participated in the wedding reception of Qadianis are: (Here 29 individuals that include a judge, a former chairman city council, ex-secretary and a president of the Bar, advocates, political figures, officials, doctors, professors and businessmen, are named as participants.)

From:  Lovers of the Holy Prophet, District Kotli

Copy of the Appeal, along with translation in English is placed here.

The scheming mullas and journalists did their homework assiduously. Simultaneously they contacted mulla Atiq ur Rehman, the AJK Minister of Auqaf and obtained a rabid statement from him on the issue, and had it published in the same daily (April 14) under a three column headline: ‘The evil of Qadianiat is a poisonous cobra; it is essential to crush its head’, declared this political cleric. The tabloid summed up Pir Atiq’s statement in the following three headlines:

Qadianis are non-Muslims constitutionally; the practice of Islamic rites (sha‘air) in their functions, even if it is Walima, is forbidden (Haram).

A Muslim who promotes social relations with Qadianis commits a great wrong. Such people need to restate their confessional vow (Tajdeed iman).

A Muslim who supports a Qadiani in any manner or helps them in any way whatsoever will be deemed outside the pale of Islam. Telephonic talk with Kashmir Express

The above are the public views of a man of religion and politics. The view, that it is the mulla who has done the greatest harm to Islam, is not baseless. And this mulla invites the Indian Kashmiris to opt for the Kashmir of his vision!

The next day this tabloid reported that its issue containing the anti-Ahmadiyya story sold out. Thousands of its photocopies were distributed. According to the readers, the Kashmir Express ably performed the duty of service to the religion of Muhammadsa…. They congratulated the paper on phone from all over the country for publishing this story with Jihadi zeal…. Qadianis are the enemies of Islam and Pakistan is threatened more by Qadianism than any aggressive foreign power…. according to this paper. With friends like these, Pakistan needs no enemies.

Two days later the daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Rawalpindi, a far-right daily, published in detail a statement of Atiq ur Rahman, the AJK Minister of Auqaf. Excerpt:

“The government of Azad Kashmir hereby warns Qadianis to respect the law and curtail their activities, as there is great risk of provocation among the public against their irresponsible behavior. People are frequently airing the view that if the government does not discipline Qadianis and stop them from preaching Qadianism, they will themselves take the necessary action to crush the head of this poisonous snake. In order to keep the sensitive territory of Azad Kashmir free from disunity, disorder and chaos we warn Qadianis to refrain from their activities.”

In 1953, provincial ministers did not make such statements, but also did not stop the clerics from doing so; eventually this led to serious riots that resulted in the fall of the provincial government in Lahore and the central government at Karachi, and resulted in the promulgation of the first ever Martial Law in the country. “The way down to hell is easy. The gates of black Dis stand open night and day. But to restore one’s steps and escape to the upper air – that is toil, that is labor.” Virgil in Aeneid VI

 

Ahmadis’ human rights and the national Urdu press

Rabwah: Press Section of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya issued its annual report on: Anti-Ahmadiyya news published by the Urdu newspapers – 2009. It makes interesting reading.

The report was restricted to the major Urdu national dailies. During the year 2009, it was a matter of routine for the Urdu papers to print anti-Ahmadiyya statements and hate-promoting news in bold headlines. However, no paper had the courage to print the Ahmadiyya viewpoint. In 2008, one thousand and thirty-three such news items appeared in the press, but in 2009 these increased to one thousand, one hundred and sixteen items. Almost all of these were prejudiced, hate-promoting and false. The daily Nawa-i-Waqt (Editor: Majeed Nizami) printed the most news at 162 i.e. one almost every other day. The daily Express stood second, and the daily Jang (founded by Mir Khalil ur Rehman) and the Khabrain were in third position.

Mullas are in the habit of making slanderous statements. These are published without any verification. As a result, common folk get agitated and inflict physical and costly harm upon Ahmadis. As a result of such provocation and hateful propaganda eleven Ahmadis were murdered in 2009 for their faith and ninty-nine this year.

A few sample headlines are translated below:

Qadianis want to destroy the peace of the country.           Ilyas Chinioti

The daily Express, Lahore; Apr 12, 2009

The increasing anti-Islam activities of Qadianis should be checked.        Maulana Abdul Hafeez

The daily Aman, Lahore; Mar 24, 2009

We will not allow Chenab Nagar to become a Qadiani State.      Allah Yar Arshad

The daily Express, Lahore; Apr 18, 2009

Qadianis are enemies of Islam; they should not be enrolled in medical colleges.     Students

The daily Ausaf, Lahore; May 09, 2009

President and Governor of Sindh are giving shelter to Qadianis.      Khatme Nabuwwat Conference

The daily Ausaf, Lahore; Mar 13, 2009

Qadianis should be removed from all key posts. Rulers should cast off American bondage if they want national security.       Khatme Nabuwwat Conference

The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; Mar 12, 2009

600 Qadianis received training in Israel for anti-Pakistan activities.

The daily Khabrain, Lahore; Sep 10, 2009

The great grandson of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (founder of Ahmadiyya community) embraces Islam. Government should provide him protection.    Jamiat Ahle Hadith

The daily Ausaf, Lahore; Dec 24, 2009

etc. etc.

Ahmadis should be expelled from Pakistan!

The daily Nawa-i-Waqt Lahore of May 18, 2010 published a highly provocative and slanderous statement of mulla Faqir Muhammad of Faisalabad. Its translation is placed here for record:

Strong action should be taken against claimants of false prophethood

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the last prophet and one who denies that should be put to death; Maulvi Faqir Muhammad

Faisalabad (Special correspondent): Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, secretary information of Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz (Khatme Nabuwwat) said that the business of the fake prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani should be closed down in the whole country including Chenab Nagar. Non-Muslim Qadianis, Ahmadis and Mirzais should be expelled from Pakistan. The punishment of blasphemy is death in Pakistan; the followers of the fake prophet could be punished under the blasphemy law. He said that Pakistan was procured in the name of Islam. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that he was the last prophet of Almighty Allah and there will be no prophet after him; the punishment of one who denies it, is death.

The authorities took no notice. However, ten days later a group of terrorists implemented the edict of this mulla – in Lahore.

 

Promotion of hatred and violence against Ahmadis on TV channel Express News

Lahore; June 16, 2010: A local popular TV channel Express News aired an anti-Ahmadiyya hate program on June 16, 2010, in less than three weeks after the murder of 86 Ahmadi worshippers in Lahore. The program, Point Blank with Lucman, is anchored by Mr. Mubashar Lucman.

It was aired twice the next day after the ‘live’ transmission. It is available on youtube.com.

Essential features and comments regarding this are given below:

  1. This program which promoted religious sectarian hatred and violence was aired only 19 days after the Lahore carnage. They invited three mullas to the show who are well-known for their anti-Ahmadiyya stance; one of them, Mulla Ibtisam Ilahi Zaheer, is notorious for his vulgar utterances in public. No Ahmadi representative was invited to participate.
  2. The scarlet thread of the program was that Ahmadis are not simply ‘infidels’; they are ‘apostates’ (Murtad). The mullas and the anchor implied that the punishment for apostasy according to (their version of) Shariah is death. The program thus promoted the massacre of Ahmadis at a national level. The anchor concluded that Ahmadis are apostates.
  3. Mulla Farooqui stated categorically that Mirza Sahib (the founder of Ahmadiyyat) was Wajibul Qatl (must be killed).
  4. Mulla Zaheer was hateful of all non-Muslims. According to him, “There can be no brotherhood between Muslims and non-believers even if they live in the same land. They have to be shunned from the religious point of view; as for citizenship, it is only a contract.”
  5. Mulla Farooqui said about the holy founder of Ahmadiyyat, “But in the last fourteen hundred years we have not met such a great liar and imposter who exercises falsehood and imposture with such brazenness.” He also called him the Great Deceiver (Dajjal).
  6. Mubashar Lucman, the anchor cursed the founder of Ahmadiyyat. He led the attack in the direction of Apostasy. He advertised anti-Ahmadiyya books and displayed a thick volume written by Muhammad Mateen Khalid. Its cover was shown to the viewers; it carried a sketch of a skeleton skull. He offered to show many more such programs on his show in future.

 

Provocative statement by a mulla

Allama Abdul Rasheed Bilal recently vented his sectarian prejudice, and the daily Islam, Multan published this in its issue of June 19, 2010. The translation is given below:

Qadianis are apostates, heretics and must be killed.            Allama Abdur Rasheed Bilal

Mian Nawaz Sharif’s statement calling Qadianis brothers proves his ignorance of Islamic teachings. Interview with the daily Islam

Wasandewali (Special Correspondent): Mirzais are apostates and heretics; their punishment according to the Shariah is death, because they call themselves Muslims, while it is the collective understanding in the Ummah (Muslim community) that one who denies Khatme Nabuwwat is not a Muslim. It is also kufr (infidelity) to ask a proof from the claimant of prophethood. As such Ahmadis could never be brothers to Muslims. Mian Nawaz Sharif’s statement calling Mirzais brothers proves his ignorance of Islamic teachings. He should visit some religious institution or a Khatme Nabuwwat office and seek guidance in Islamic teachings, the dogma of Khatme Nabuwwat and other tenets, for success in this world and the hereafter. Allama Abdur Rasheed Bilal shared these thoughts with daily ‘Islam’ in a sitting. Khalid Mahmood Zia, Hafeez-ur-Rahman, Liaquat Ali, Maulvi Muhammad Sufian, Maulana Umar Farooq Mahar and others were also present.

The freedom enjoyed by sectarian groups and press to promote bloodshed is indeed impressive. Such reports in the press motivate religious zealots to indulge in suicidal terrorism. And the authorities permit this! This amounts to direct support to sectarian terrorism.

 

Media’s negative role

Township, Lahore; September 20, 2010: Syed Farrukh Hafeez, Ahmadi runs a school, The House of Scholars in Ichra, Lahore. This school is serving the local residents of the area for the last twenty-two years and enjoys a good reputation. He is the General Secretary of Private Schools Welfare Association.

He received a threatening phone call of about twenty minutes in which the caller posed himself as a representative of ‘Royal news TV’. The caller told him that parents of the students have complained that Hafeez is a Qadiani (Ahmadi) and teaches Qadianiat in the school. He did not mention the names of those parents. He further threatened, “You do not know media persons; when we pursue someone we pursue him to the end. Call me back in 15 minutes, otherwise a news strip will be placed on Royal news TV against you. Today only the news strip will be shown, while a documentary will be televised tomorrow.” After a few hours he learnt that a news strip had been placed on the Royal TV: “The principal of House of Scholars, Farrukh Shah is preaching Qadianiat in the school. All religious and intellectual organizations are requested to act against him.”

Mr. Hafeez felt unsafe. His life could be at risk on the basis of the baseless and false news. This was the result of scandalous and irresponsible behavior of the media people. It shows how obscurantism has been instilled in the society by the media. Mr. Hafeez faced severe hostility in the area thereafter.

 

Press corps in the forefront in the infamous assault

Lahore; October 5, 2010: The vernacular press has played a condemnable role in the persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan. It joins hand with the mulla in his vicious sectarian drive against Ahmadiyyat. Mounting a propaganda campaign against the few Ahmadis who are still serving in government offices is one such field where the Urdu press offers ample space to the mulla.

The daily Din, Lahore published a news story on October 5, 2010 against an Ahmadi police official, Mr. Wasim Kausar who enjoys good reputation for his efficiency and integrity in his department. The report is indicative of the way the press plays the questionable role. (Translation):

Qadiani IG Motorway promotes juniors to reward his cronies. Dr Nasim (sic) Kausar relegates senior Muslim employees to become junior. Affected persons obtain stay order.

Lalian (correspondent): Qadiani IG Motorway Police arbitrarily promoted his co-religionists, and turned seniors into juniors. The affected employees have obtained a stay order against this decision of the IG. According to the details, the Qadiani IG Motorway Police, Dr Nasim Kausar, in order to turn the Motorway Police into a Qadiani state (sic), used his powers unlawfully to reverse the seniority of Muslim employees, and promoted Qadiani junior employees to senior positions. These (affected) employees had worked extremely hard (khoon paseena baha kar) since 1997 to make the Motor Police (sic) a success story. This department has the distinction of being free from corruption, while this IG intends to make it the most corrupt. The affected employees have obtained a stay order from the Lahore High Court against the IG’s decision.

The DIN report is mostly a fabrication. The reporter did not make the effort to find out even the correct name of the targeted official.

 

Op-ed:   Our intolerant ways

Islamabad: Mr. Babar Sattar who is a lawyer based in Islamabad wrote an article in The News International of November 20, 2010, titled: Our intolerant ways. He wrote this after a recent court verdict of death on charge of blasphemy against Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman from Nankana Sahib (Punjab). His is a penetrating, scholarly, and sagacious opinion not only on the blasphemy laws but all religious laws in Pakistan. Excerpts:

 

“The biggest challenge for Pakistan is curing the disease of intolerance afflicting our state and society. It is intolerance toward the choices of other individuals, groups and identities and a violent exhibition of such intolerance that lies at the heart of most of our fault-lines and conflicts. The death sentence slapped on Aasia Bibi – the 45 year old Christian farm worker from Nankana Sahib – under Pakistan’s unconscionable blasphemy law is only the latest manifestation of our intolerant ways. The immoral and unjustifiable laws forming part of our statute books, the discriminatory manner in which laws are applied by state institutions, and the bigoted cultural ethic prevalent in the society that encourages the state to institutionalize intolerance in the name of religion, honor or order, together create a vicious cycle that dismembers the foundational promise of our Constitution i.e. all citizens are to be treated as equals.”

 

“In Pakistan we have unfortunately opted for the retrogressive path. Instead of identifying our social, cultural and religious biases and drafting laws to curtail them, we have incorporated laws to endorse and reflect our bigotry. Our greatest folly as a nation has been that we have erased the distinction between crime and sin, and endowed the state with the obligation to implement religion and piety. We are probably the only country in the world that insists that the state has (or can have) a religion. Once a state claims to have a religion (as opposed to its citizens in their individual capacities) how can it ever function as a group professing a different faith? Such a state can be benevolent and can patronize individuals who believe in a different religion, but can it ever deliver on its guarantee of equality?”

 

“If we wish to be a society where individuals are legally equal and (to borrow from Martin Luther King) judged by the content of their character and not the label of religion that attaches to them due to their incidence of birth, we must take the state out of religion. So long as the state actively interferes with the lives of citizens to implement religious diktat as opposed to providing a framework where everyone is facilitated in practicing his/her religion without interference from anyone else, our fellow Pakistanis who associate with Christianity. Hinduism, Sikhism and other religions will remain lesser citizens. Let us start by seeking the abolition of the blasphemy law, but on the basis of principle and not as apologists seeking charity for others.”

 

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