Johar Town, Lahore; May 18, 2015: Three Ahmadis, Mr. Iqbal, Mr. Aslam and Mr. Aamir Shehzad own a furniture factory in Thokar Niaz Beg. Mr. Iqbal left the country as he found the general hostility unbearable. Mr. Aamir Shehzad, his nephew, now acts as the manager of the factory. On May 18 when he came out of the building to receive a container, he requested the nearby shopkeepers, most of them members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, to reposition their vehicles to facilitate parking of the container. They did not oblige. Instead, one of them asked him in where a number of mullas were present. Not knowing his family relationship with the senior proprietor, they asked him as to why he was working for a Qadiani. Aamir attempted to avoid the interview. They however were bent upon conveying their message. “If we could, we would kill these Qadianis today. They are Wajib-ul-Qatl (must be killed),” one of them insisted. At this, Aamir came out, although they called him to come back in.
Their message was a cause of great concern to Aamir and Aslam.
Hate Crime: Man held for degrading Ahmadis gets bail – promptly
Lahore; 9-14 December, 2015: A hateful poster was put up and was noticed on December 9; it conveyed the message in Urdu: Qadiani (dogs) not allowed entry here. This happened in Hafeez Centre in Gulberg. Raza Rumi, a renowned journalist and his friends reported it on social media and protested. A large number supported this campaign against the outrage, and the authorities were moved into action to handle what was called shameless act of hate.
It is learnt that the authorities removed the poster, in the face of ‘no support’ from the market’s shop-keepers. As the hateful poster blatantly violated the NAP, a DIG police ordered the arrest of the shop-keeper, Abid Hashmi and an assistant Noman. Taking into account the gravity of the sectarian offence, a judicial magistrate sent the accused to prison on two weeks’ judicial remand. An FIR was registered against them under section PPC 295-A and MPO-16.
The traders, thereafter, in a show of solidarity with their colleague, gathered outside the Centre holding placards and chanting slogans against the arrest of the accused. They blocked the traffic in the Boulevard for about an hour. The authorities were quick to get intimated and decided to step back.
Noman was released without recording his arrest. Hashmi was taken to the Model Town courts complex where some traders and activists of a Khatme Nabuwwat organization assembled to raise slogans. An A&S judge released the accused on bail. He had remained behind bars for approximately one day only.
That tells a great deal about the staying power of the Punjab government when confronted with a barefaced act of religious extremism against Ahmadis.
The spineless and hasty retreat of the government in the face of bigots disappointed a large number of citizens who were initially delighted to see authorities taking a stand against ‘pious’ goons. There were many op-eds and comments in the English press. One such comment by Musharraf Zaidi in the daily The News of December 16, 2015 mourned the hopeless situation:
“So now we have this Hafeez Center thing. What did we expect? Born and raised on a diet of tumours, tumours of stupidity beyond redemption, and tumours of self-righteousness to the point of being suicidal (literally). Were we expecting little brown baby Justin Trudeaus to come out of the bag of tricks we’ve turned in the name of our republic, our freedom, and our faith?”
No sale to Ahmadis
Hafizabad; September 8, 2015: The president of the local Ahmadiyya community went to the market with his two sons, Talha Mubarak and Anas Mubarak. They entered a shop to buy some utensils. When they came to the counter for payment the attendant pointed their attention to a notice, No dealing with Qadianis at this shop and asked whether they belonged to that group. The children nodded and he refused to sell them the goods.
A social boycott of Ahmadis is in force in this area and shopkeepers refuse selling goods to Ahmadis for their faith.
Hostile moves against an Ahmadi
Jhangar Hakim Wala, District Nankana; December 2014: Anti-Ahmadiyya activists became overly active here and harassed the Ahmadis greatly. An Ahmadi, Mr. Bilal Saif who was deported from Sri Lanka, was specifically targeted. A few incidents are reported below.
- On December 6, 2014, Saif went to a sports club for exercise. On seeing him some young men used foul language against the community and pushed him out of the club.
- Saif went to a medical store to buy some medicines. A mulla of the Khatme Nabuwwat faction present there abused him. The pharmacist asked Mr. Saif to leave – without medicine.
- Some motorcyclists stopped him on the way to his home and warned, “Desist from your activities, otherwise you will lose your life.”
- One day, Mr. Saif was going somewhere with his uncle on a motorbike when some members of the Khatme Nabuwwat organization stopped them on Warburton Road in front of Punjab Hotel and abused him. They also shouted life threats to Mr. Saif and his uncle, and warned them to not use that road in future.
Note: Some other Ahmadis in the town have faced similar incidents in the past, which is a cause for great concern, for such situations tend to deteriorate and become life-threatening.
Tense situation in Sargodha, Punjab
Chak no. 71 South, District Sargodha; August 2015: The government planned to make Chak no. 71, District Sargodha a model village. A hospital, schools for boys and girls and a link road to the main road were constructed under this scheme.
The authorities demolished numerous encroachments for the construction of the road and the sewage system in the village. Ahmadi residents were not affected as they had built no encroachments. The anti-Ahmadiyya lobby used it as an excuse to indulge in anti-Ahmadiyya propaganda. One miscreant who belongs to the Jamaat Islami provoked the village-folk against local Ahmadis accusing them of being responsible for the official action. Other mullas also came on board. They invited Bedari, a private TV channel to record speeches made against the Ahmadiyya community. They said, “Mirzais (Ahmadis) are demolishing the houses of Muslims. Mirzai are infidels and must be killed. We announce a war against them. We will shoot them in their heads.” The TV channel aired these speeches.
Ahmadis informed the police of the communal tension in the village. They arrested five miscreants while twelve others fled away and secured their provisional bails the next day. Ahmadis also contacted the DPO and told him of the situation. He took appropriate action. The local MNA, however, supported the anti-Ahmadiyya lobby. This suited him politically. The miscreants used his political support to blunt the police action. In this they met some success.
Ahmadis not allowed to use Islamic epithets
Siyal Mor, District Sargodha; July 23, 2015: Six Ahmadi families reside here. They own four shops, two in the village and two at the bus stop. Representatives of Jazz mobile phone company came there and put up publicity signs on their shops. One of these had the inscriptions, “Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum” (Attributive names of Allah) and “MashAllah” (Whatever God wills!). After a while, Arshad, a leader of Sipahe Sahaba, a party banned for terrorism, came to the site. He created hue and cry and called the police. He shouted at Ahmadis, “You are not Muslims and have no right to use Islamic inscriptions. Erase them.” Ahmadis replied that they did not write them, nor would they erase them. The police called the Jazz people and told them to erase them. They did that, but reluctantly. Most of the locals condemned the mulla’s bigotry.
Effacing Kalima from Ahmadi’s shop
Chowk Data Zaidka, District Sialkot; October 2015: Kalima was written on the shutter of Mr. Tahir Ahmad Malhi’s shop. An opponent of the Ahmadiyya community put up an application to the police to erase the Kalima from there and to register a criminal case against Malhi. A delegation of Ahmadiyya community met the elders of the area and persuaded them to dissuade the complainant from such activities that would disturb the peace of the locality.
The police asked Mr. Malhi to remove the Kalima. He refused to do that and said that if the police in uniform erased it, he would not resist.
Someone during the dark hours erased the Kalima. When Ahmadis complained to the police, they expressed satisfaction over the defiling act.
Ahmadi family faces hostile neighborhood
Chak No. 7 GB, District Nankana; December 10, 2015: Mr. Ijaz Ahmad Khan’s family is the only Ahmadi family in this village. He is facing severe opposition from the opponents of the Ahmadiyya community. On December 10, 2015, the activists of Khatme Nabuwwat movement held a gathering here. Mulla Muhammad Irfan Barq was invited on this occasion. He used filthy language against the Ahmadiyya community and issued fatwa that killing Ahmadis entitles a person to reward from God. “They are murtads (apostates) and murtads are worthy of death,” he asserted. A question-answer session was held at the end of the gathering. Mulla Barq badmouthed Ahmadis in this session too. After this conference, the villagers have completely boycotted Mr. Khan. They abuse him in the village streets.
The opponents are also inciting miscreants of the village to undertake an attack on his house and to inflict loss of life. It is a very difficult situation for Mr. Khan and his family.
Special reference to ‘Qadianis’ in an election pamphlet
Islamabad; November 29, 2015: Zahir ud Din Babur reported on BBC Urdu that Mr Shiraz Farooqi, an LG election candidate in Islamabad had it written in his election manifesto: “Qadianis need not bother to vote for me”.
When questioned, he replied: “When I saw the voters’ list, I lost my bearing; my conscience did not permit me to win with the votes of these people.”
The issue was referred to officials to determine if it was a violation of election rules. One explanation was: “The candidate has not obstructed anyone’s right of vote; he has only excused himself from support, hence no violation has occurred.” However, another official raised the question: “If someone, tomorrow, writes the same sort of remark about Shias or Sunnis – how about that! No discrimination is permissible against any community on the basis of religion or sect.”
Mr Saleemuddin, Ahmadi spokesperson stated that the election rules are discriminatory. Two lists are prepared at the time of elections: one joint list for Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs etc., and a separate one only for ‘Qadianis’. “Ahmadis, therefore do not participate in the elections. In our centre (town) Rabwah there are 33,000 voters; not a single vote was cast in the LG elections,” he said.
It is a cause for concern that separate voters’ list helps extremist element to pinpoint local Ahmadis, according to BBC.