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ORDER BANNING CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
The Ahmadi Muslim Community celebrated its centennial in 1989. The following is the text of the banning order of the District Magistrate of Jhang and the result of a court challenge.
TEXT OF ORDER
WHEREAS it has been made to appear to me that Qadianis in District Jhang are going to hold Centenary Celebration of Qadianiat on 23rd March, 1989 for which they have arranged illumination, decoration of buildings, erection of decorative gates, holding of processions and meetings, distribution of pamphlets and pasting of posters on walls, distribution of sweets and service of special food, exhibition of badges, buntings and banners etc. which is highly being objected by the Muslims and likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity and thereby cause danger to human life and property;
AND WHEREAS the Government of Punjab, Home Department, Lahore vide its Teleprinter Message No. 7-1-H-SPL-L11/88, dated 20-3-1989 has decided to ban the said Centenary celebration for Qadianis by the Qadianis in the Province of Punjab;
AND WHEREAS Section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, (Act XLV of 1860) provides that any person of the Qadiani Group who directly or indirectly poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam or preaches or propagates his faith or invites others to accept his faith by words either spoken or written or by visible representation or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims is punishable;
AND WHEREAS in my opinion as also keeping in view the abovementioned Government decision and the contents of Pakistan Penal Code, immediate prevention is desirable and there are sufficient grounds to proceed under Section 144 Cr. P.C. 1898 and the directions hereinafter appearing are necessary in order to prevent danger to human life and property and disturbance of public peace and tranquillity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ch. Muhammad Saleem, District Magistrate, Jhang, in exercise of the powers conferred upon me by section 144 Cr. P.C. 1898, do hereby prohibit the Qadianis in District Jhang from the following activities:
THIS ORDER shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force till 25th March, 1989.
NOTWITHSTANDING the expiry of this order, every thing done, action taken, obligation, liability, penalty or punishment incurred, investigation, inquiry or proceeding pending jurisdiction of powers conferred and fresh proceedings against offenders in the courts of Magistrates having 1st Class Powers under the Criminal Procedure Code 1898 and the punishment in respect of the offenses committed during the enforcement of this order shall be continued or launched as if this order had not expired.
THIS ORDER shall be given wide publicity by beat of drum, by publication in the official gazette, affixing copies thereof on the notice boards of the District Courts, Offices of Superintendent of Police, Jhang, Assistant Commissioner, Municipal and Town Committees, Police Stations in the Distt. Jhang.
GIVEN UNDER my hand and seal of the Court this 21st day of March, 1989.
Signed: Ch. Muhammad Saleem
RESULT OF COURT CHALLENGE: CONVERSION OF CASES TO DEATH PENALTY CASES
The ban on centenary celebrations was challenged in the High Court in April 1989, but was not taken up for final hearing till May 1991. The Advocate-General argued that the order had lapsed and the writ petition had become infructous. However, the Court decided to hear the case.
The judgment of the Court is reported in Pakistan Law Report as Mirza Khurshid Ahmad and others vs. the Province of Punjab, PLD 1992, Lahore, page 1. This judgment opened the way for imposing the death penalty on Ahmadis through 295-C PPC for "offenses" that had been previously tried under 298-C PPC.
The Judge made observations to the effect that when Ahmadis recite the Kalima, they commit an offense under Section 295-C PPC rather than 298-C. As a result many cases under 298-C have been converted to cases under 295-C.