The Society – 1999

1999

 

In Chaura Suggar, one Samee Basir, developed some grievance against the local Ahmadiyya community and proceeded to use the convenient legal tools against Ahmadis of the village. He contacted the police and had a complaint lodged against seven Ahmadis under PPC 295A and 298C. The accused included Messers Muhammad Din, Muhammad Aslam, Muhammad Akram, Muhammad Khalid, Muhammad Sharif, Muhammad Arshad and another Muhammad Sharif. They were accused of preaching. Under PPC 295A, the accused could be tried in an anti-terrorist court and imprisoned for a duration of 10 years each. Five of the accused Ahmadis were arrested, while two absconded. The FIR was registered by the police on 9 October, Nr 22/99 under PPC 295A/298C at Police Station Warburton, district Sheikhupura.

Registration of this very serious fabricated criminal case against seven Ahmadis caused great concern and worry in the district community. All resources were mobilized to forestall indictment. Higher police officials were contacted and a herculean effort was mounted. A week of hectic activity followed. Lengthy talks were held with the police and the accusers, while the innocent victims suffered in police lock-up. Some of the accused were subjected to police torture. The efforts, however, did not go waste; eventually the case was withdrawn and shelved. The event however showed once again how vulnerable Ahmadis are in Pakistan in the face of the religious laws in force.

 

Mr Azhar Rahman S/o Abdul Rahman, Ahmadi of Jahanian Shah was booked by the police under PPC 298C and 506 on September 22, 1999 at the report of a non-Ahmadi, Muhammad Nawaz. Although the cause of the dispute was the betrothal of Rehman’s brother to a new convert, Nawaz gave the whole thing a religious twist and got the criminal case registered under the anti-Ahmadiyya law. The accused is now faced with penalty of three years in prison.

 

Eighteen Ahmadis of Kunri (Sind), including the President of the District Ahmadiyya Community were charged en-masse under the anti-Ahmadiyya section PPC 298C on May 6, 1999. Such group incrimination is the most cost and time-effective means available to the mulla to harass Ahmadis, as maximum victims can by terrorized with minimum effort.

 

Social pressure

Anti-Ahmadiyya activists are always on the lookout to spread the message of hate and religious bigotry. Among others, they are laying emphases on social boycott. Mr Nasir Ahmad, the local Ahmadiyya community president of Khairpur was invited to the wedding of a non-Ahmadi landlord’s daughter. When the formalities of the ceremony were about to commence, the mulla who was to solemnize the marriage demanded that he would not undertake the rituals until Nasir Ahmad had departed. The incident was reported in the press.

In another case, Mr. Bashir Ahmad, an Ahmadi teacher was transferred from Karundi district Khairpur to a village, Rahan. Mullas arrived there and asserted that being a Qadiani, he could not be a teacher to Muslim children. They also held a press conference and issued posters. Mr. Bashir Ahmad had no choice but to request for still another transfer.

 

Life at Bhauru village

As and when mullas decide to discomfort Ahmadis in any neighborhood, they start an agitation. It gathers momentum like an avalanche. Ahmadis then face police harassment, the Blasphemy law, arrests, prosecution etc. The after effects may linger on for years. A typical case of one such development at Chak No.18 Bhauru, district Sheikhupura is described below.

Bhauru has a fair proportion of Ahmadi population. They needed a bigger mosque, so they made plans to build one on self-help basis. In early March they started to demolish the old structure so as to replace it with a new one. The opponents did not like the idea, and they conspired to obstruct the new construction in all possible ways. Immediately they conveyed to  Ahmadis that they would not permit erection of minarets and construction of a niche in the mosque. Simultaneously they wrote to Maulvi Manzoor Chinioti, the Mulla MPA to intervene to obstruct the construction of the Qadiani mosque.

The pace of construction slowed down for unavoidable reasons. However, the roof was installed on the main hall. In the meantime, the opponents accelerated the pace of their agitation and held anti-Ahmadiyya open public meetings to which mullas were invited from other towns. They formed a Khatme Nabuwwat Organization at the local level and installed a president. Anti-Ahmadiyya literature was widely distributed to agitate the public.

On 28th May 1999, the opponents planned, and acquired a bus for themselves in order to proceed to Rabwah to celebrate the ‘Yom Takbir’ the first anniversary of atomic explosions by Pakistan. Why go to Rabwah?- only they know. On return from Rabwah, they sent an application to the Sangla Hill police station against six named Ahmadis of Bhauru and alleged that they had stolen 35 liters of diesel from the bus during the night and opened its tie-rod in order to prevent their departure for Rabwah. The six Ahmadis named in the complaint were Messers Khalid Javed, Irshad Ahmad (local missionary), Shahid Mahmud, Ahmad Nasim, Khalid Ahmad, Mubarak and Shahnawaz. On intervention of the police, the complaint was withdrawn in the presence of the police inspector.

As the situation at Bhauru had progressively deteriorated for Ahmadis, their district leaders contacted and informed the Deputy Commissioner, the Senior Superintendent of Police, the Assistant Commissioner and the SHO of Sangla Hill police station of the situation and the fresh developments.

Then another incident was concocted by the opponents. Some mullas and a few non-Ahmadi youth reported to the police that while they were sitting by the roadside, three Ahmadis and a non-Ahmadi friends of theirs, riding a car, attempted to over-run them, and they could save themselves only by jumping out of the way of the speeding car. They made this complaint at the Shah Kot police station. When the four accused went to the police station to defend themselves, the police detained Mr. Salim Ahmad, the Community President and Mr Amin Ahmad. Mr Mohammad Akram and Ijaz Ahmad, the other two hurried to Sheikhupura to arrange ‘Bail before Arrest’ for themselves. A criminal case No. 199/99 was registered on 12 June 1999 by the Shahkot police against these four under Sections 279, 324, 506, 34, 109 TP for threatening and attempt to murder. It was an entirely false and fabricated case. In the police FIR, the complainants claim to be undertaking a Jihad against Mirzais (Ahmadis). A subsequent investigation declared the complaint false, and the case was dropped. The arrested Ahmadis were released to return home.

Mullas take their anti-Ahmadiyya Jihad quite seriously. They conspired to implicate Ahmadis in another serious criminal case. Someone wrote the Quranic words  بسم اللہ الرحمان الرحیم on pieces of paper and threw them in the village streets during the night. Before sunrise, mullas were blaring on mosque loudspeakers that Ahmadis were defiling بسم اللہ الرحمان الرحیم and Quranic verses. People were urged to look for the defiled chits in streets, collect them and bring them over to the mosques. It was a serious development. The district president was informed who contacted the Superintendent of Police who sent a police team to investigate and report to him. A few respectable non-Ahmadis of the village told the team that Ahmadis could not have undertaken this sacrilege. Accordingly the accusation was dropped.

The next Friday mullas planned to spread the mischief further and create a law and order situation. Ahmadis informed the authorities, so the police and a magistrate arrived in the village to control the situation. As a result, no procession was allowed. Mullas, however, demanded that the Bismilla and Kalima (Islamic creed) etc be effaced from Ahmadiyya residences. The magistrate obliged mullas by telling Ahmadis to comply accordingly. Ahmadis refused to undertake this sacrilege and offered that the government could itself implement its own orders. The magistrate got annoyed, threatened the Ahmadis and gave them an ultimatum to remove the Kalima within four days, or face consequences.

Thereafter, mullas applied to the police that four Ahmadi houses had Quranic inscriptions and Kalima written on them; this amounted to defiling the name of the Holy Prophet and it hurt their feelings and incited them to violence. The police arrived at the scene and told Ahmadis to remove the inscription. Ahmadis refused to do that and offered that the police could undertake the sacrilege themselves. So the inspector directed a constable to do the needful. The constable refused to comply and told the inspector to do it himself. When none was willing to efface the Kalima, the inspector went to the bazaar and procured some paint. On his way back, he commandeered a street-vender to accompany him. On arrival, the inspector ordered him to apply the paint. The poor fellow mustered sufficient courage and told the inspector, “You may punish me as you wish, but I will not efface the Kalima ”. At this, the police party went back.

The shameless administration and police official did not take lightly their inability to force Ahmadis to comply with their demands. They struck at about midnight on 21 June 1999 and arrested Mr Nasir Ahmad Wahla, Ahmadi, under the notorious Blasphemy law, PPC 295C. Three more Ahmadis, namely Messers Ijaz Ahmad, Abdul Hameed and Qamaruddin were implicated by authorities in the same case, however they escaped the police raid. Mr Ijaz Ahmad managed to arrange a provisional Bail before Arrest at Sheikhupura. The other two Ahmadis went in hiding.

The Sangla Hill police finally decided to commit the defiling themselves. They visited Chak Bhauru and wherever Quranic inscription and Kalima was written on Ahmadiyya buildings, they either defaced it by over-painting or used a chisel to destroy the inscription in stone.

The situation continued to simmer all along during the following months and Ahmadis have been made to feel on the edge of a precipice.

According to the follow-up reports, the police kept open the investigation under PPC 295B against Ahmadis whereby they were falsely accused of defiling the Quran. Initially the accusation was more serious-blasphemy against the Holy Prophet. During the investigation, the accusers could muster only one witness who stated that an Ahmadi had damaged a sticker, but the sticker contained no verse of the Quran nor any of Prophet’s Hadith, however it did have on it a salutary epithet i.e. Sallalaho Alaihi Wasallam (i.e. blessings and peace be on the Holy Prophet of Islam). The police apparently was satisfied that the accusation is false.

On 11 October 1999, however, another case under PPC 107/151 was registered against five Ahmadis after a quarrel that was initiated by their opponents. When the news of the quarrel reached the village, mullas took to their loudspeakers and announced that Ahmadis had murdered two Mussalmans and disposed of their corpses. They instigated the population to put Ahmadi houses to torch. The mob accordingly fired some shots.

The situation remains tense in the village. Peace and tranquility is a rare commodity in an Ahmadi’s life.

 

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