It is now more than fifteen years since the Ordinance was promulgated. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has suffered a great deal after Dictator Ziaul Haq promulgated Ordinance XX in 1984. The suffering continues unabated. It is a touching story and this Souvenir tells only a part of it. (read it online
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Report on the Situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan
REPORTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCIES: E
Ateeq Ahmad Bajwa, an Ahmadi advocate of Vehari, and Amir of Ahmadiyya community there, addressed a group of lawyers of the Vehari Bar Association on July 29, 1992 to explain the concept of social justice. Presently the mullahs denounced him for preaching his religious beliefs under the pretext of social justice. The police arrested him and registered a case under Section 295-C and 298-C for defiling the name of the holy Prophet and violating the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
prison terms for peaceful exercise of religious beliefs
Members of the Ahmadiyya community were sentenced to prison terms solely for the peaceful exercise of religious beliefs.
In July an Ahmadi place of worship in Sambrial was raided. Six Ahmadis were charged with writing Islamic expressions of faith on the building's walls. They stated that the writings, painted over by police in 1986, had been exposed by recent heavy rains.
In October parliament adopted an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), already introduced by ordinance in July, increasing the maximum punishment for offending anyone's religious feelings from two to 10 years. Ahmadis have been frequently tried and sentenced for this offense.
Amnesty International Report 1992
imprisoned for exercise of religious faith
Members of the Ahmadiyya community continued to be imprisoned solely for the exercise of their religious faith.
sentence for call to prayer
In November 10 Ahmadis of Chak village in Faisalabad district were sentenced to three-year prison sentences for having distributed invitations to a prayer meeting; on of them, Mohammed Ali was given an additional three-year prison sentence for having made a call to prayer.
Ahmadis were increasingly tried on blasphemy charges
, both individually and in groups, but none of the cases had been completed by the end of 1992.
In March, 20 members of the Ahmadiyya community in Kotri were arrested during the Friday prayer and charged with blasphemy and with propagating their faith. They were released on bail after two weeks.
Amnesty International Report 1993
OPEN LETTER TO THE POLITICAL PARTIES
Political prisoners and members of religious minorities like the Christian and Ahmadiyya community continue to be detained in Pakistan for the peaceful exercise of their political activities or religious beliefs.
Open letter to the political parties September 1993, AI Index: ASA 33/04/93, DISTR: SC/CO
DR. KAREN PARKER
footnotes in original given in square brackets -SS
On July 3, 1993, the Supreme Court of Pakistan decided Mujib-ur-Rehman Dard v. Pakistan (the Ahmadi case)…the Court refused to find Ordinance XX of 1984, which severely penalizes Ahmadi Muslims for holding their religious beliefs and practicing their religion in violation of either Pakistan's Constitution or international human rights law…five criminal defendants… were returned to jail for the remainder of their sentences imposed for wearing a religious badge containing the Kalima Tayyaba. [The Kalima Tayyaba, a pronouncement of faith in Allah and Muhammad as His messenger is cardinal to Muslims.]
ORDINANCE XX VIOLATES FREEDOM OF RELIGION ON INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
… Ordinance XX adds two new sections to the Pakistan Penal Code and provides prison terms of up to three years and unlimited fines for any member of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam … who uses certain words of address, who calls his or her place of worship a masjid (mosque), or who recites the azan … as used by Muslims … poses himself as a Muslim … refers to his or her faith as Islam, … preaches or propagates his or her faith or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims. …
freedom of religion is a non-derogable right
Under international standards, freedom of religion is considered a non-derogable right. [International Covenant, article 4. The freedom to hold religious beliefs and opinions is absolute. Braunfeld v. Brown, 366 U.S. 599 (1961)] International human rights standards also protect religious groups from advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. [International Covenant, Article 20]
The three international instruments safeguarding religious freedoms all provide for some limitations on the right to manifest a belief…when necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others [Religious Declaration, Article 1….] Limitations may not be imposed in order to provide a theological preference limiting rights of one group over another…
It is patently obvious that Ordinance XX violates these international standards because it penalizes Ahmadi Muslims for believing they are Muslim and for worshiping and assembling as they wish…It denies to them even the language and terminology of their religion … it clearly subjects Ahmadi Muslims to persecution…
… Ordinance XX has already been denounced by the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities as a violation of human rights…
In adopting its resolution 1985/21, the UN Sub-Commission had clearly rejected justifications presented by the government of Pakistan … The real gravamen of the Pakistani position at that time was that Ahmadis offend because Ahmadis consider themselves Muslim, which of course, they have the right to do under international standards. In defending Ordinance XX, then President General Zia-ul-Haq told this author Ahmadis offend me because they consider themselves Muslim … Ordinance XX may violate human rights but I don't care. [Author's interview with General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, in Rawalpindi at Army House (May 5, 1986)]
Laws that discriminate are instigators of religious-based violence
Laws and acts that discriminate … are themselves instigators of religious-based violence. As stated Mrs. Elizabeth Odio Benito in her Study of the Current Dimensions of the Problems of Intolerance and of Discrimination on Grounds of Religion and Belief, [U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1987/26.] intolerance … can lead to stirring up of hatred against or persecution of individuals or groups of a different religion. … and identifies Pakistan's treatment of Ahmadi Muslims … as one example of government action arising from prejudice and bigotry that had given rise to outright hatred, persecution, and repression.
THE AHMADI CASE
Pakistan's Constitution protects the right … to profess, practice and propagate religion [Const. Pakistan, Art. 20 (a).] and the right of religious groups to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions. [Id., Art. 20 (b). Article 20 contains a limitation provision similar to provisions in the international instruments.] … many hoped that the Supreme Court would restore basic rights of Ahmadi Muslims by finding Ordinance XX unconstitutional in light of Article 20 of the Constitution.
ruling far outside acceptable bounds
The majority … issued a ruling that is far outside acceptable bounds
and sullies the judicial history of Pakistan. This majority chose to ignore the Pakistani Constitution as well as international human rights law standards of freedom of religion and to instead deliberate on whether or not the Ahmadi Muslims were theologically Muslim … According to the majority analysis, Ahmadis are only entitled to their religious belief that they are Muslim and the practices they carry out in their belief that they are Muslim if theologically correct. If not … the Ahmadis' right to believe themselves Muslim may be curtailed and their right to live as a Muslim may be prohibited. The bulk of the majority case … was devoted to showing that Ahmadi Muslims are not theologically correct…
The majority then provides a series of decisions from other jurisdictions on … limitations to religious practices … Not one of these decisions … addresses the types of limitations and criminalization of religious beliefs found in Ordinance XX and cannot be properly cited to defend such limitations. Indeed, if these cases were correctly read, they would all support a finding that Ordinance XX, by criminalizing prayer, religious terminology and the inherently benign practice at issue in this case (wearing the Kalima Tayyaba), clearly provides for unacceptable limitations …
More distressing than the impossibly flawed reasoning, however, is the ominous ridicule of Ahmadi beliefs and individual Ahmadis in the opinion
. The majority
overtly demonstrates intolerance and hatred … The majority
… denigrates Ahmadi Muslims by referring to them as hyper-sensitive.
majority confuses issue of freedom of religious expression and regulation of commercial speech
… the majority
also seriously confuses the issue of freedom of religious expression and national regulation of commercial speech… The Court cites a number of provisions in foreign jurisdictions allowing restrictions on commercial speech and protection of certain words and phrases through application of copyright law … restrictions on commercial speech are used … to defend restriction on religious terminology …
the justices have regrettably but severely jeopardized their credibility in a way that would be comic if the potential outcome in Pakistan were not so tragic
No jurisdiction cited … treats restriction on commercial speech in the same way as restrictions relating to freedom of religion. None of these jurisdictions … would allow the restrictions … allowed by Ordinance XX
. Citing these … limitations appears to be an attempt … to appear learned. The result is the opposite -- the justices have regrettably but severely jeopardized their credibility in a way that would be comic if the potential outcome in Pakistan were not so tragic.
no excuse for this legal atrocity
Further comment on this decision
is pointless -- the majority approach is so irreparably flawed that it contradicts the whole notion of religious freedom … under international human rights law Ahmadi Muslims have the right to believe and practice as they do … the Pakistan Constitution can clearly be construed to conform with this international mandate … There is simply no excuse for this legal atrocity.
… The author is not unaware of … the serious difficulties facing the government as it seeks to preserve the unity of Pakistan… The Sikri group, the Deobandi group and Shi'a Muslims are but a few of other Muslim groups who have face vehement hatred from other Muslims. Sikh, Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and Buddhist groups have also faced hatred and discrimination. Pakistan has suffered from ethnic animosity as well. All of these hatreds are fueled by official actions such as those directed against the Ahmadi Muslims, and can not but serve to further tear apart the social cohesion necessary to maintain national unity.
RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN PAKISTAN:
THE AHMADI CASE AT THE SUPREME COURT
A Commentary by Karen Parker, J.D.
for International Educational Development
Humanitarian Law Project
A Non-governmental Organization at the United Nations
HUMANITARIAN LAW PROJECT
International Educational Development, Inc.
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Los Angeles, California 90048
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LAWYER's COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS:
CRITIQUE OF US STATE DEPARTMENT 1993 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT FOR PAKISTAN
elections closed to religious minorities
… The report is particularly strong in discussing the fall elections which, while described as free and fair, actually were closed to religious minorities, to persons living in certain outlying areas and, effectively, to most women.
The report provides a generally accurate account of other human rights problems in Pakistan. Its discussions of the Pakistani legal system and of the widespread abuse of women are especially strong. In several areas, however, the report fails to discuss significant aspects of important human rights problems. This is especially true of the discussions of police violence and of the various manifestations of religious and sectarian intolerance.
intent requirements for blasphemy laws were dropped
The report fails to discuss certain troubling provisions of the blasphemy laws
. First, the offense of blasphemy is classified as non-bailable and detainees must remain in custody until brought to trial, which may take a year or more. Second, the report fails to describe how the vagueness of the blasphemy laws
allows broad discretion to the charging party. Beginning in 1980, intent requirements for blasphemy laws
were dropped. Section 295
now provides that imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly is considered sufficient to prove a charge of blasphemy.
The Court also excused violence against Ahmadis
an anti-Ahmadiyya wave swept Lahore's University of Engineering and Technology and Allama Iqbal Medical College towards the end of the year
The report accurately describes the July Supreme Court decision against the Ahmadiyya Movement
, or Ahmadis, upholding the Constitutionality of Ordinance XX
, which imposes severe criminal penalities on the Ahmadis for the practice of their faith. However, it omits an important part of the majority opinion
. In that opinion
, the Court endorsed the view allegedly held by the majority Muslim community that the Ahmadi movement is a permanent threat to [Muslim] integrity and solidarity. The Court also excused violence against Ahmadis and thereby held the Ahmadis responsible for violent attacks on their person. The report rightly mentions continued attacks and harassment against Christians and Ahmadis. It does not, however, adequately describe the extent of anti-Ahmadi actions by the government. In addition to the arrests of Ahmadis during 1993, actions were taken against the Ahmadi periodicals Misbah, Ansarullah and Al-Fazl
under section 298-C
. Personal attacks against Ahmadis were also more frequent and systematic than the report suggests. In May, lawyer Riaz Qamar, head of the Ahmadiyya community of Haroonabad, Bahawalnagar, was attacked in the middle of the night at his home. Also, an anti-Ahmadiyya wave swept Lahore's University of Engineering and Technology and Allama Iqbal Medical College towards the end of the year. Groups of students beat up two boys and a girl student and campaigned for the expulsion of Ahmadi students and the dismissal of Ahmadi teachers. In addition, the report does not discuss the intensified campaign to declare the Zikris non-Muslims. A bill to that effect was moved in the National Assembly in January and was referred to a standing committee. In Balochistan, where the Zikris are concentrated, there were attacks on Zikri houses and places of worship. The principal campaigner against the Zikris was the Jamiat-i-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). In April, a case was filed in the Lahore High Court asking that Zikris, Bahais, Ismailis and Ahmadis be declared foreign agents and enemies of Islam.
The report should have described the violence and serious threats faced by other journalists. … The Frontier Post was a frequent target of threats, both for reporting on the activities of sectarian groups and for criticizing the harassment and maltreatment of Ahmadi students and university teachers.
As it did last year, the 1993 report fails to take a position on several important issues. … The report also should have criticized the disenfranchisement of religious minorities through at-large elections rather than simply attribute complaints to the aggrieved minorities….
Excerpts taken from the LCHR critique of the US State Dept. 1993
Report on human rights in Pakistan as found at gopher://gopher.igc.apc.org:5000/00/int/lchr/asia/papers/9.
DOCUMENTATION, INFORMATION AND RESEARCH BRANCH IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE BOARD
Discriminatory laws still in force
… Discriminatory laws, notably sections 298(b) and (c) (Ordinance XX)
and 295(c) (blasphemy)
… are still in force and Ahmadis continue to be affected by them … Ahmadis are forbidden to use epithets reserved for the saints of Islam or to use the word Azan for their call to prayer or the word Masjid for their places of worship … (p1)
nourish climate of sectarianism
These laws appear to nourish a climate of religious sectarianism … Pakistani authorities reportedly remain passive and sometimes appear to be implicated in the ill-treatment of Ahmadis. (p1)
death penalty only sentence for blasphemy
In August 1991, the Pakistani Parliament passed an amendment to section 295(c)
… making the death penalty the only sentence for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. Many Ahmadis have been and continue to be charged and imprisoned under sections 298(b) and (c) and 295(c)
… In July 1993 the Supreme Court ruled that Ordinance XX was well-founded … As for the resolution on the protection of the places of worship of religious minorities, it would appear that any action is still at the planning stage (Embassy of Pakistan 22 Sept. 1993). (p3)
authorities continue to turn a blind eye
According to human rights groups and observers of the Pakistani situation, Ahmadis and other religious minorities continue to suffer discrimination, intimidation and harassment, often for political or personal motives, and the Pakistani authorities continue to turn a blind eye and confirm laws which sustain a climate of injustice .. The HRCP also reports some forty cases of assault and murder of members of the Ahmadi community in 1992 (HRCP 1993, 46). (p4)
Most charges against Ahmadis in 1992 and 1993 were laid under sections 298(b) and (c) and 295(c) … According to the HRCP's 1992 annual report, over 150 complaints against members of the Ahmadi community were lodged under these sections in 1992. The related jail sentences handed down by Pakistani courts have ranged from a few months to two years or more (HRCP 1993, 46)… (p4-5)
… charges were laid against a number of Ahmadi publishers and printers in 1992 and publications were confiscated (HRCP 1993, 32, 46) … (p5)
increasing difficulty in gaining admission to institutions of higher education
The U.S. State Department reiterates in its 1992 report that Ahmadis have little chance of attaining positions of responsibility in the civil service … according to the HRCP, some thirty Ahmadi civil servants were fired in 1992 (HRCP 1993, 46). Similarly, young Ahmadis are encountering increasing difficulty in gaining admission to recognized institutions of higher education… (Country Reports 1992 1993, 1171). The U.S. State Department also reports that in March 1992, an educational institution in Lahore in the Punjab issued a public notice that requiring all applicants to a nursing program to attest in writing that they were not Ahmadis (ibid., 1168) .. (p6)
In 1992, the police continued to close down Ahmadi places of worship (Country Reports 1992, 1993, 1167). Some mosques were attacked; others under construction were subjected to prohibitions and remained unfinished; in some cases graves were desecrated and cemeteries were prohibited by the authorities (HRCP 1993, 46) … (p6)
imprisoned for practicing their faith
… Ahmadis were arrested, sometimes charged and even imprisoned for practicing their faith (Country Reports 1992, 1993, 1167; Amnesty International 1992, 229). The U.S. State Department reports that in early 1992, during a religious event in Kotri in Sindh Province, Ahmadis were arrested while saying their prayers and taken to the police station, where some were allegedly beaten (Country Reports 1992, 1993, 1167). Two weeks later, they were released on bail to await trial on charges of blasphemy (Amnesty International 1992, 229-30). (p6-7)
Pakistani government encouraged Khatme Nubuwwat's activities during the events leading up to the Nankana Sahib riots
… According to the HRCP, the Pakistani government encouraged Khatme Nubuwwat's activities during the events leading up to the Nankana Sahib riots
, notably by entrusting the organization with maintaining order in what was supposed to be simply a demonstration (1989, 9-12). In January 1990, in North-West Frontier Province, members of the fundamentalist organization's youth wing reported a group of young Ahmadis who had congregated to pray. Five of the Ahmadi youths were arrested and then held in custody for over three months before being released (Amnesty International Sept. 1991, 6). Asia Watch also reports that the Amir of the Khatme Nubuwwat mosque in Dera Ghazi Khan filed charges with the district magistrate against two Ahmadi professors who had published, in London, a translation of the Koran in seraiki, a local language (News from Asia Watch 19 Sept. 1993, 19; HRCP 1993, 46). The two men were accused of having blasphemed the Koran and the Prophet and were brought to trial for having breached sections 295(a), 295(b) and 295(c)
… The HRCP also reports the case of an Ahmadi in Abbotabad who is said to have been kidnapped and tortured by members of the extremist group's youth wing in November 1992, and then jailed on false charges (Slogan Jan. 1993, 29). (p9.)
According to Hina Jilani, a High Court lawyer and member of AGHS Associates Legal Aid Cell in Lahore, the legal authorities tend to side with the aggressors when the injury has been committed in the name of the principles upheld by religious fundamentalists … (p12)
DOCUMENTATION, INFORMATION AND RESEARCH BRANCH IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE BOARD
QUESTION AND ANSWER SERIES
AHMADIS IN PAKISTAN: UPDATE DECEMBER 1991 TO OCTOBER 1993
DOCUMENTATION, INFORMATION AND RESEARCH BRANCH
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE BOARD
In January and February 1994, charges of blasphemy were brought against five journalists of the Ahmadiyya community; they were arrested on 7 February 1994 and held in Chiniot, Punjab province, till 7 March 1994. On 7 March they were released on bail … If convicted, the five men would be sentenced to death. The death penalty is the mandatory punishment for blasphemy.
Amnesty International believes that these men were prisoners of conscience …
Over the years, various complaints have been brought against publications of the Ahmadiyya community under sections 295 to 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), all of which relate to religious offenses … So far, 34 complaints have been registered against the daily "Al Fazl", 19 against the monthly "Ansarullah", 8 against the women's monthly "Misbah", 11 against the youth monthly "Khalid", 5 against the children's monthly "Tashizul Azhan" and 5 against the fortnightly publication "Tehrike Jadid".
… complaints were registered on 15 January 1994 under section 298-C, PPC by the Deputy Commissioner of Jhang, Punjab province, against five journalists, viz. Noor Muhammad Saifi, aged 77, editor of the daily "Al Fazl", its publisher Agha Saifullah and its printer Qazi Munir Ahmed and the editors of the monthly "Ansarullah", Mirza Mohammad Din Naz and Mohammad Ibrahim …
On 21 January 1994, two more complaints under section 298-C and on 15 February for more such charges were filed against editor, publisher and printer of "Al Fazl". In all cases, the Deputy Commissioner of Jhang, Punjab province was the complainant.
On 7 February the judge in the sessions court in Chiniot not only rejected the application for bail of the five men but added charges of blasphemy under section 295-C, punishable with death … Judging by other similar cases known to Amnesty International the completion of the preliminary police inquiry, the submission of the police report and the trial may take years, during which time the five journalists must live with the possibility of being sentenced to death.
Amnesty International has repeatedly raised its concerns about the violations of human rights of Ahmadis with the Government of Pakistan …
… under the increasingly stringent legislation … members of the Ahmadiyya community can be imprisoned and even sentenced to death solely for the exercise of their right to freedom of expression and their right to freedom of religion, including the right to express their religious beliefs.
Amnesty International calls on the Government of Pakistan to:
- drop the charges against the five Ahmadi journalists arrested on 7 February 1994 as they violate their right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion;
- ensure that no other Ahmadis are charged, tried and convicted for the peaceful expression of their religious beliefs;
- declare a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty imposed under Article 295-C and take steps to abolish the death penalty for this offense;
- repeal all laws affecting the freedom of religion such as the freedom to profess, practice and propagate beliefs and the freedom of expression;
- and implement international standards such as the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based in Religion and Belief.
Five Ahmadi journalists charged with blasphemy
AI INDEX: ASA 33/03/94
UNITED STATES, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
…Religious zealots continued to discriminate against and persecute non-Muslims, basing their activities in part on discriminatory legislation against religious minorities. The Government did little to curb these activities…
legislation has encouraged atmosphere of intolerance
… religious legislation has encouraged an atmosphere of religious intolerance which has led to acts of violence directed at Ahmadis and Christians…
A 1974 constitutional amendment declared Ahmadis to be a non-Muslim minority because they do not accept Muhammad as the last prophet of Islam. The Ahmadis, however, look on themselves as Muslims, for whom many Muslim practices are an important feature of their religion. In 1984 the Government inserted Section 298(c) into the Pakistan Penal Code which made it illegal for an Ahmadi to call himself a Muslim and banned Ahmadis from using Muslim terminology. The punishment is up to 3 years' imprisonment and a fine. Section 298(c) has been used since 1984 to harass Ahmadis. According to an Ahmadi rights organization, as of the end of 1992 at least 2,133 Ahmadis had criminal cases brought against them, most of which were still pending before the courts. New cases were brought during 1993.
Attacks on Ahmadi places of worship continued
Attacks on Ahmadi places of worship continued in 1993. On June 20 three youths attempted to set fire to an Ahmadi house of worship in Lahore while Ahmadi elders were praying there. The incident was reported to the police, but no action was taken.
In 1986 legislation was passed inserting Section 295(c) into the Pakistan Penal Code, making blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad a capital offense. The law was apparently aimed at Ahmadis but has been increasingly used against Christians and Muslims as well.
In 1992 the Senate unanimously adopted a bill to amend the blasphemy law so that the death penalty is mandatory in cases of conviction for defiling the name of the prophet Muhammad, and in 1993 a bill was introduced to extend the law to include defiling the names of the Prophet Muhammad's family and companions.
The latter bill, generally supported by anti-Shi'a groups as a means of persecuting the Shia's, had yet to be acted upon.
In late 1992, the Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to the Ahmadis by granting bail to members of an Ahmadi family accused of using Islamic expressions on wedding invitations. In its ruling, the Court observed that use of Islamic expressions by Ahmadis does not create in a Muslim, or for that matter anyone else, any of the feelings of hurt, offense or provocation, nor is it derogatory to the holy Prophet Muhammad.
Islamic phrases are in essence a copyrighted trademark
use of certain Islamic phrases was equivalent to blasphemy
In 1993, however, the Supreme Court ruled against the Ahmadis
in a major case regarding the constitutionality of Section 298(c)
. Rejecting the argument that it violated the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion guaranteed in the Constitution, the Court upheld the law. The judge writing for the majority found that Islamic phrases are in essence a copyrighted trademark of the Islamic religion. Therefore, use of the Islamic epithets by Ahmadis was equivalent to copyright infringement and violated the Trademark Act of 1940. The majority also found that use of certain Islamic phrases was equivalent to blasphemy. Ahmadis and some human rights monitors fear the Supreme Court judgment
upholding the law will lead to more cases being brought against Ahmadis and possibly more rapid convictions.
Pakistani passports carry a designation of religion which the Ahmadis find especially vexing. Ahmadis are classified as "non-Muslims" on their passports, leading Saudi authorities to prevent them from performing the religious pilgrimage, the hajj.
Despite having issued an order in 1992 requiring that a similar designation be included on the national identity card, the Government did not submit implementing legislation in 1993. Although the order has not been formally withdrawn, widespread protests in 1992 appeared to have persuaded the Government to abandon the proposal, which is a longstanding demand of fundamentalist religious parties.
not permitted to vote in Muslim constituencies
… Members of minority religious groups are not permitted to vote in Muslim constituencies. They must cast their ballots in countrywide, at-large constituencies reserved for them in the national and provincial assemblies, an arrangement that has been widely criticized. Many Ahmadis, disputing their designation as non-Muslims, have refused to exercise this option….
much discrimination in employment and education
There is much discrimination against religious minority groups in employment and education, and several International Labor Organization bodies expressed concern in 1993 that Pakistani laws facilitate discrimination in employment based on religion. In Pakistan's early years, minorities were able to rise to the senior ranks of the military and civil service. Today, many are unable to rise above mid-level ranks…
Officially designated as non-Muslims, Ahmadis in particular suffer from harassment and discrimination and have limited chances for advancement in the public sector. Young Ahmadis and their parents complain of increasing difficulty in gaining admittance to good colleges, forcing many children to go overseas for higher education. They complain that charges are often filed against them for the purpose of harassment or extortion and that the police will not accept their complaints when they and their property are attacked; few cases ever come to trial. Among religious minorities, there is a belief that the authorities, even if they do not prosecute them, afford them less protection under the law than is afforded Muslim citizens. There were several incidents in 1993 in which Ahmadis were physically assaulted by both police and civilians.
"PAKISTAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993"
JANUARY 31, 1994
JUSTICE JULES DESCHENES
OPEN LETTER OF JUSTICE JULES DESCHENES
Honorable Jules Deschenes
C.C., C.R., LL.D., M.S.R.C.
Juge au Tribunal penal international
12 April 1994.
Honourable Andre Ouellet, P.C., Q.C.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dear Mister Minister
A recent (1) judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has just brought into the limelight a cruel injustice which, for exactly 20 years, has been deeply hurting the convictions of all those throughout the world who believe in freedom and, especially, freedom of religion.
On 17 September, 1974 the Second amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was assented to by the President (2). Parliament had thereby literally excommunicated the Ahmadis and banished them from Islam.
Then, on 28 April 1984 General Zia-Ul-Haq, supreme authority in Pakistan at the time, promulgated Ordinance #XX which introduced into the Penal Code provisions branding Ahmadis as common law criminals, liable to fine and imprisonment.
Those events are of interest to us since Ahmadis are solidly established in Canada. Now, who are they? -- They draw their name from the founder of their movement: Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). Ahmad was born in Qadian, a small village in Northern India. Basing himself on a divine revelation, he announced that he was the Messiah whom the faithful of various religions in the world had been expecting under different names. He preached the renewal of Islam within the respect of tradition.
100 years later, his message has prompted the establishment of flourishing communities in about 125 countries. In Canada the Ahmadiyya Movement has built, in the vicinity of Toronto, the largest mosque in North America which was inaugurated in 1992. Whether or not one shares their faith, the fact remains that the Ahmadis form a group of citizens who are respectful of the laws of our country and contribute to the betterment of the Canadian mosaic.
Now Islamic Pakistan recuses that enrichment. Rightly or wrongly -- that is beside the point --Ahmadis submit that they are aiming at restoring the original purity of Islam and ridding It of the slag which has encrusted It through the centuries. For such a crime, the Constitution and the Penal Code have made outlaws of Ahmadis. They put them in the category of heretics. They forbid them, under pain of fine and imprisonment, from posing as Muslims or using expressions traditionally linked to Islam, as: mosque, muslim, Leader of the believers, Mother of the believers, "Kalima Tayaba: i.e. There is no other God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger."
Typically, as in a society where state and religion are interacting, even merging into each other, religion enjoys the support of the secular arm and the Pakistani State takes over the task of banishing its four million Ahmadis, whom indeed the Supreme Court of Pakistan has itself described as "an insignificant minority" (3).
Hence thousands of indictments against Ahmadis and countless sentences of jail and severe fines which the Supreme Court of Pakistan has now justified, if not even encouraged by dismissing the eight ap-peals which had reached it from Baluchistan and Punjab.
In each of the first five of those cases Appelant, an Ahmadi, had been arrested in a bazaar where he was wearing a badge of "Kalima Tayaba". One was sentenced to a fine of 3,000 rupees ($750.00), each of the other four to one year in jail and a fine of 1,000 rupees ($250.00).
In the three other appeals, an injunction was granted prohibiting the Ahmadis from celebrating the centenary of the foundation of their movement "by indulging in following activities": illuminations, gates, processions, posters, pamphlets, distribution of sweets to children, service of food to most needy and "any other activity directly or indirectly which may incite and injure the religious feelings of Muslims."!
Yet the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees freedom of religion (art. 20) and protects the right of any citizen to profess and propagate his religion as well as the right of every religious denomination to establish and manage its own institutions. But, according to the Supreme Court those constitutional rights remain subordinate to the law which may restrict them for reasons of public order or morality; and those reasons include the unconditional respect of Islam. Freedom of religion is therefore limited by the duty not to offend orthodox Muslims.
Now for a Muslim, the mere fact of seeing an Ahmadi posing as a Muslim or using words traditionally linked to Islam is enough, according to the Supreme Court, to lose control of himself (p. 33) and create the risk of public disorder, even civil war (ibid). Hence the legitimacy of the constitutional amendment, of Ordinance #XX and of the excommunication of Ahmadis.
Such an attitude had already been denounced in 1985 in Geneva by the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Prevention of discrimination and the Protection of minorities (4).
The Sub-Commission recalled the Proclamation of Tehran of 13 May 1968:
11: Gross denials of human rights arising from discrimination on grounds of race, religion, belief or expressions of opinion outrage the conscience of mankind and endanger the foundations of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
The Sub-Commission recalled equally the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief (5).
The Sub-Commission then expressed its grave concern on Ordinance #XX which prima facie violates the right to liberty of persons, the right to freedom of arbitrary arrest, the right to freedom of expression, conscience and religion and the right of religious minorities to practise their own religion.
The Sub-Commission further expressed its grave concern at the penalties inflicted on individuals who would have offended Ordinance #XX: fine, imprisonment, confiscation of property, as well as the policies enforced towards affected groups: discrimination in education and employment, defacement of religious property.
The Sub-Commission resolved that the Government of Pakistan should be requested to repeal Ordinance #XX.
There is no dearth of similar expressions of opinion around the world; for instance:
- U.S.A.: Resolution # 370 of the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring (6);
- Australia: Declaration to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (7);
- Ireland: Declaration, ibid (8);
- International Commission of Jurists, Geneva, Report 1986.
20 years have elapsed since the Second Constitutional amendment and 10 years since the promulgation of Ordinance #XX; yet those unfortunate provisions are still in force and continue to breed their nefarious results, as can be seen from the above-quoted recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Considering the attachment of Canada to spiritual values as well as human right; also taking into account the respect to which are entitled the many Ahmadis living in Canada who share the sufferings of their Pakistani CO religionists, I therefore pray, Mister Minister, that you revive the pressures already exerted by the U.N. on the Government of Pakistan with a view to the repeal of the Second Constitutional amendment of 1974, of Ordinance #XX of 1984 and of the oppressive provisions thereby introduced into the Pakistani Penal Code.
Kindly accept, Mister Minister, the expression of my anticipated thanks for your kind cooperation.
[signed Jules Deschenes]
(1): Zaheerhuddin & al v. Pakistan, 3 July 1993.
(2): Constitution (Second Amendment) Act, 1974, ch. LXIX
(3): Judge Abdul Qadeer Chaudhry, page 22.
(4): 27 August 1985, Resolution E/CN.A/Sub.2/1985/L.42.
(5): Resolution # 35/55 of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
(6): 99e Congres, 2e session, 17 juillet 1986.
(8): # 46.
c.: M. Naseem Mahdi, President, Movement Ahmadiyya Canada
M. Aziz R. Hafiz-Zadeh
M. Pierre Chartier
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN
Vol.IV No.IV October 1993
Quarterly HRCP NEWSLETTER
Actions against Ahmadis August 1992-July 1993
Since the promolugation of anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance of April 1984, 2,183 Ahmadis have been charged with violations of Sections 298-B and 298-C of the Ordinance, and 107 with violations of the so-called Blasphemy Law, under Section 295-C PPC. A number of Ahmadis, denied bail before arrest, were placed behind bars till they could secure bail from higher courts.
Following is a brief description of cases instituted from August 1992 - July 1993.
Cases under Ordinance XX
Sheikhupura: Members of the Syed Wala Ahmadiyya community held a religious gathering on September 1992 to talk about the life of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Six members of the community were booked under Section 298-C and 295 on September 21, 1992 for participating in the gathering.
Sargodha: A case was registered against Mr. Rehmat Ullah of Chak 38, District Sargodha under Section 298-C. He was accused of displaying Kalima Tayyeba on his flour mill. Mr. Rehmat Ullah is the president of the village's Ahmadiyya community.
Sheikhupura : Cases were registered against six members of the community in Saaidwala in District Sheikhupura under section 298-C, 295-A, on Sept. 21 1992, for allegedly violating the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance. Interim bail before arrest had to be secured from the court.
Bahawalpur: A case was registered against four members of the community in Ahmadpur Sharkia under Section 298-C on July 5, 1992, for violating anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance.
Karachi: Syed Ali Ahmad Tariq and Mr. Abdul Majeed were booked for saying Assalamo Alaikum in a court.
Lodhran: Two lady teachers, Amtullah Saleem and Kaisera Shahzadi, of Government Girls High School, Dunyapur, Lodhran, were accused of reciting their own kalima during the morning assembly. Their kalima was alleged to be different from Kalima Tayyeba of Islam. They were also accused of preaching their faith to the students. While the former belongs to Ahmadiyya community, the latter is only a relative of an Ahmadi. the complainants implicated both of them without ascertaining the truth. A procession was taken out, led by one Soofi Anayat Ali, `President Traders Association'. The processionists burnt tyres and blocked various roads of the town. The police registered a case against the lady teachers under Sections 295-A and 295-C, for defiling the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace), which is punishable with death.
Sambrial: Mr. Nisar Ahmad of Sambrial was booked under PPC 298-C for allegedly preaching his faith and thus injuring the religious feelings of the Muslims. The complaint against him was lodged by one Sheikh Safeer Ahmad at the Sambrial Police Station.
Karachi: A case was registered against 10 members of the Ahmadiyya Community under Section 295-C, 295-A, and 298-C. They were accused of writing `Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem' (In the Name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful) and `Assalamo Alaikom' (Peace be upon you) on letters they wrote to different people. Most of the Ahmadis charged in this case are elders and leaders of the Karachi Ahmadiyya community. Two of them belong to the Headquarters of the community: Syed Ahmadi Ali Shah, who is Deputy Director of Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya (Central Offices of the community), and Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Director of Ahmadiyya Foreign Missions Office. They have been charged for violating the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance and also accused under PPC 295-C of defiling the name of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) punishable by death. Bail was secured for all of them from the Sindh High Court.
Jhang: On October 23, 1992, the Ahmadiyya Community, Jhang Saddar held a religious meeting. Ahmadiyya missionary, Khalid Ahmad Shams, addressed the meeting. He began his address with the name of Allah the Gracious, the Merciful and invoked blessings on the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him). A case was registered against him and two others by the local administration under PPC 298-C on Dec. 21, 1992. They were all accused of committing blasphemy against the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) and of preaching their religion.
Mr. Azhar Rahim of Data, Manshera, was arrested on Oct. 26, 1992 and charged under 298-C PPC, for indicating `Kalima' as his religion on his identity card application form eight years ago. He was earlier abducted by anti-Ahmadiyya activists of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Movement who allegedly tortured him before delivering him to the police.
Four Ahmadis of Basti Rindan, in Dera Ghazi Khan, were arrested on April 26 and 11 others on July 13, 1992. In August, a total social boycott of the Ahmadis of the village was announced and some of them were reportedly beaten up. Later 51 members of the community were arrested. Cases were instituted against a total of 78.
Dr. Bashir Ahmad and Mr. Rafiq Ahmad, both of Chak 565 G.B., Faisalabad, were arrested on Aug. 26, 1992 for greeting some unknown people in a tonga with `Assalamo Alaikom' (peace be to you) in Nankana. They were both charged under Section 298-C and 506/342.
Mr. Mukhtar Ahmad, s/o Mr. Mohammad Shafi, of Village Derwar (Near Rabwah), was Arrested By Rabwah police on August 30, 1992 and charged under section 298-C. He was accused of insulting Prophet Issa, Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), during a religious talk, following a complaint lodged by Maulvi Mohammad Suleiman, a local mullah.
A case was registered against five Ahmadis of Chak 38, Sargodha, under Section 506/34 and 107/151, and four of them arrested, following a visit to the Chak, on Oct. 6, 1992, by Maulvi Akram Toofani, long active in anti-Ahmadiyya campaigning. Aslam Kanchela, a former MPA, had accompanied the mullah and declared that Ahmadis, being heretics, should be killed. The Ahmadis arrested could only be bailed out on sureties of Rs.200,000 each.
An Ahmadi youth of 15 was booked on Sep. 28, 1992 under PPC 295-A for allegedly tearing off a poster having Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem and the name of the Holy Prophet on it. The poster consisted of passages of the decision of High Court Judge Raja Afrasiab, dismissing the bail application of Ahmadis accused of writing Bismillah and Assalamo Alaikum on a wedding card. The poster was published by Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Organisation.
Saeed Ahmad, a photographer of Jhang, was arrested on November 25 for displaying the names of Allah and the Holy Prophet and some of the Quranic verses in his shop. On the day of his bail application, Nov. 28, mullahs packed the court room and the hearing had to be adjourned to Nov. 30, then to Dec. 3. Saeed Ahmad was finally released on bail on Dec. 5, 1992.
In Manshera Tahir Ahmad Jahangiri was arrested for claiming Islam as his religion in his application for identity card. He was later bailed out.
In Sargodha on Nov. 26 1992 Irsaal Ahmad was charged under Section 295-C with defiling the name of Holy Prophet, which is punishable with death. He was also accused by Hafiz Akram Toofani [see item 5 above] for contempt of the Holy Prophet of Islam and challenging the critics of Ahmadiyyas to a religious debate. The interim bail obtained for Israal Ahmad was cancelled by Sessions Court on Dec. 23 and he was rearrested. A fresh application was again rejected by the Sessions Court. Finally the High Court had to be moved to secure his bail.
A case was registered against six persons of Sayed Wala, Sheikhupura, on September 21, 1992, under Section 295-A and 298-C. They were accused of preaching their faith. Their bail before arrest was secured from Additional Sessions Judge, Nankana. Later, on December 2, the bail was cancelled by the Sessions Court and all the accused, including an Ahmadiyya missionary, were arrested. They could not again be bailed out until December 16.
Ateeq Ahmad Bajwa, an Ahmadi advocate of Vehari, and Amir of Ahmadiyya community there, addressed a group of lawyers of the Vehari Bar Association on July 29, 1992 to explain the concept of social justice. Presently the mullahs denounced him for preaching his religious beliefs under the pretext of social justice. The police arrested him and registered a case under Section 295-C and 298-C for defiling the name of the holy Prophet and violating the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance. On December 6, the case of his bail application was heard by the court; it was adjourned until December 12. He was eventually granted bail on February 2, 1993.
Nisar Ahmad of Sambrial, District Sialkot, who was implicated in a case under PPC 298-C for preaching on February 18, 1993, was arrested on March 19, 1993. A bail application was moved for his release. He was released on March 19, 1993. Court proceedings will now start against him.
Rana Irsaal Ahmad, an Ahmadiyya missionary in Sargodha, was falsely charged on Nov. 26, 1992 for allegedly defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) under PPC 295-C. His bail before arrest was cancelled by the Sessions Judge on February 4, 1993, and he was arrested. He was released on March 7, after remaining in prison for more than eight weeks, while the Lahore High Court accepted his bail application. Proceedings were, however, to start against him in the lower courts. The punishment under PPC 295-C under which the missionary has been implicated is death.
Rashid Ahmad Sanori, s/o Bashir Ahmad Sanori, established a new business of garments and a general store at Dera Ismail Khan in May 1993. Since early July members of Majlis Ahrar and Sepah-e-Sahaba Pakistan have been harassing Rashid Sanori and have threatened to burn his shop. On July 17, mullah Abdus Salam Qudoos with a gang of about 15 non-Ahmadi shopkeepers invaded Rashid Ahmed Sanori's shop and took away a wall decoration piece bearing a list of the various attributes of God and reported the matter to the police. Rashid Ahmad Sanori was arrested on July 18, and a case was registered under 298-C. On July 22 bail was refused by the Assistant Commissioner. Efforts were being made to secure his release on bail through the Sessions Court. He continues to be behind bars. Earlier, an anti-Ahmadiyya meeting was held on June 11, 1993 at Dera Ismail Khan undere the auspices of Majlis Tahaffuz-e-Khatme Nabuwwat. Anti-Ahmadiyya mullahs addressed the meeting and accused the Government of being lenient with members of the Ahmadiyya community.
Syed Bashir Ahmad of Phagala was arrested on July 27, 1993 at Abbotabad by the local police. He was accused of giving a book to someone to read. The case was registered under Section 295-C, 298-C. The book was a life-history of the mother of Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Khan, an eminent Ahmadi and a man of world repute, written by him.
On August 1, Bashir Ahmad's bail was secured through the Sessions Court, Abbotabad. Many opponents had gathered at the court premises on August 1. They were enraged when bail was granted and attacked relatives of Bashir Ahmad. Mahbbob Shah, son-in-law of Bashir Ahmed, was seriously wounded and hospitalized. One of the Ahmadis was forced to fire in self-defense and a man was injured.
The police arrested four Ahmadis and registered a case against them under Section 107/151 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
A second case was later registered under Section 307/325 against five Ahmadis, including three who had been already charged under 107/151. Since then the situation has been tense. On August 6, 1993 local mullahs preached against Ahmadis during their Friday sermons. Pamphlets were also distributed.
Cases against the Ahmadi press
Cases were registered against the editors, publishers and printers of the Ahmadiyya daily newspaper `Al-Fazl', and monthly magazines for Ahmadi youth and children, and monthlies `Khalid' and `Tash-heez-ul-Azhan', for printing material which allegedly violates the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance.
Two cases were registered against Ahmadiyya periodicals, the daily `Al-Fazl' and the monthly `Khalid' under Section 298-C. Both cases were registered on the instructions of the District Magistrate Jhang. Rabwah Police Station received 10 copies of the daily `Al-Fazl' and the October 1992 issue of the monthly `Khalid' sent by the District Magistrate, who instructed them to take legal action, and register a case against the paper and the magazine. the police registered cases under 298-C and the editors, publishers and printers of `Al-Fazl' and `Khalid' were obliged to seek bail in the Sessions Court, Chiniot.
A case was registered on Feb. 23, 1993 at Rabwah police station under Section 298-C against the editor, publisher and printer of `Misbah', a monthly magazine for the religious training of the female wing of the Ahmadiyya community. An application to seek bail before arrest was moved in the Sessions Court and granted on March 7, 1993.
Two cases were registered under PPC 298-C against two Ahmadi magazines, the monthlies `Ansarullah' and `Misbah'. Both the cases were registered under the instructions of the Deputy Magistrate Jhang. The editor, publishers and printers of the magazines were implicated. They moved bail applications to avoid arrest.
On March 18, 1993, another case was registered under Section 298-CM against the editor, publisher and printer of the daily `Al-Fazl', the official organ of the Ahmadiyya community on Pakistan.
Two cases were registered against the editors and publishers of the daily `Al-Fazl' and monthly `Ansarullah' (December 1992 issue) on April 17, 1993 under Section 298-C.
A case was registered against the editor, publisher and printer of the daily `Al-Fazl' at Rabwah police stattion under Section 298-C on June 10, 1993, under the instructions of the Home Secretary Punjab. Bail applications were moved in order to prevent their arrest.
Ten members of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat Chak No. 88 G.B., District Faisalabad, were charged in cases under 298-C and 298-B on September 9, 1988.
They were accused of distributing Ahmadiyya literature and issuing the call for prayers (Azan).
Nine of the accused were sentenced to three years imprisonment on November 16, 1992, along with a fine of two thousand rupees (Rs. 2,000) each, by Magistrate Mukhtar Ahmad.
One of the accused, Ali Mohammad, is also to serve a term of three years for issuing the call for prayers. Ahmadis convicted were sent to the central jail, Faisalabad. An appeal against the Magistrate Court's decision was lodged in the Sessions Court. On November 23, the Sessions Court heard the appeal, but the opponents objected to the fact that the official record had not been summoned by the court. November 26 was then fixed for the hearing. The Sessions Court granted bail to the nine Ahmadis arrested and admitted their appeals against the decision of the Magistrate's court for hearing.
February 17, 1993: A case was registered against Qureshi Munawwar Ahmad on Jan. 31, 1991 under Section 298-C. He was accused of writing Kalima Tayyeba, Assalamo Alaikum, and Inshallah, on a calendar and preaching his faith. On February 18, 1993 Mr. Qureshi was sentenced to 3 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of fifteen thousand rupees by a Rawalpindi Magistrate, Abdur Rahman Khalid. The defense counsel pointed out to the Magistrate that in a recent well-published decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, in the case of Nasir Ahmad of Nankana, the learned judges had maintained that the use of such Islamic epithets by Ahmadis did not amount to injuring the feelings of the Muslims. The Magistrate, however, said that the decision of the Supreme Court did not apply in that case because the Supreme Court gave a judgement only in the case of a bail petition and that the case against Nasir Ahmad was yet to be heard by the Court.
Ban on gatherings
Since 1984, all Ahmadiyya gatherings and meetings have been prohibited in Rabwah, which is the headquarters of the community. Annual conventions of various organizations of the community were also disallowed. Even the religious training classes for children and sports competitions of various kinds were banned. In 1992, too, all such gatherings and meetings remained prohibited. There were twelve yearly events held at Rabwah before 1984, but all of them have since been prohibited. The only possible gatherings of the town are Friday Services, and the two occasions of Eid. Two of the leading scholars of the community, Sultan Mahmood Anwar and Hafiz Muzzafar Ahmad, were implicated in cases under Section 298-C for delivering Friday sermons. The latter had to remain behind bars because his bail application was rejected by the court. The opponents of the Ahmadiyya community were however given full freedom to hold their own meetings in the headquarters of the community, where there is only a nominal non-Ahmadi population.
At least five gatherings organized by the mullahs were held at Rabwah during 1992, in which a number of arch critics of the community participated, including Maulvi Fazl-ur-Rahman, Senator Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, Zia-ur-Rahman Farroqi and Maulvi Zahid-ur-Rashidi. Anti-Ahmadi processions were taken out in the town and the speakers abused prominent figures of the community.
Killings and Assaults
Riaz Qamar, President of the Ahmadiyya community, Haroonabad, Bahawalnagar, and a well-known lawyer of the town, and Farooq Ahmad were asleep on the roof of their house on May 19, 1993 when they were attacked at 2 a.m. Riaz Qamar received injuries on his head and hands while Farooq Ahmed received wounds on his head. the police promised to trace the culprits but nothing has yet been done. Riaz Qamar had installed a dish antenna in his house and had invited some of his non-Ahmadi friends on May 14, 1993 to listen to the Friday sermon of the head of the world-wide Ahmadiyya community, telecast from London. Mullahs had opposed the transmission of his sermon.
Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf of Village Jallan District Gujranwala, was killed on December 16, 1992. This was the 23rd murder of an Ahmadi since the promulgation of the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance in 1984.
Three Ahmadis in Sargodha were violently assaulted on October 4, 1992, by the brother of a new Ahmadi convert. the brother was enraged at his brother's acceptance of Ahmadiyyat. All three persons were fired upon from close range and they were severely injured.
On December 26, 1992, somebody rang the doorbell of Jaleel Ahmad of Rawalpindi, Peshawar Road. The lady of the house asked who the visitor was, but received no reply. Eventually she opened the door and a spray of bullets injured her in the legs.
Discrimination against students
The Assistant Director of Education, Faisalabad, has prohibited Ahmadi students from studying `Islamic studies' and `the Holy Quran' in their school, in Chak No. 121 G.B., District Faisalabad. The instructions have been circulated to all education officers in Faisalabad District.
Government College of Education, Faisalabad, has added two items to its admission forms to be filled in by candidates seeking admission to the College. One of the items requires Muslim students to affirm that they do not belong to the Ahmadiyya community. The other asks non-Muslim to affirm that they do not regard themselves as Muslims. Obviously, an Ahmadi applicant can sign neither of the items leaving no possibility for an Ahmadi to study in the college.
Sargodha: Miss Amutashafi, d/o Rana Mohammad Ashraf of Sargodha was expelled from madrassa Dar-e-Irqam, on the grounds of her being an Ahmadi. The Director of the Madrassa wrote to the father of the girl explaining the grounds of her expulsion. According to the letter she was not allowed to commit the Holy Quran to memory for the simple reason that she was an Ahmadi.
Okara: An Ahmadi, Wali Mohammad, of Baseer Pur, expired on September 10, 1992 at 8 o'clock in the evening. Opponents of the Ahmadiyya community in the area refused to allow his funeral service to take place, nor was his burial in the village graveyard permitted. He was buried eventually in the courtyard of his house.
Sargodha: An Ahmadi lady passed away on December 22, 1992 at Chak 88 in District Sargodha. Before her burial mullah Akram Toofani, known for his anti-Ahmadiyya passion, arrived in the village and in collaboration with the police and civil administration prevented her burial in the local village graveyard. The relatives of the deceased were forced to bury her on the family land.
Toba Tek Singh: Chaudhry Lal Din, President of the Ahmadiyya community Chak No. 300/G.B., District Toba Tek Singh, breathed his last on January 26, 1993 and was laid to rest in the village graveyard with the agreement of the local non-Ahmadi population. The mullah of the village, however, started preaching against the burial of an Ahmadi in the village graveyard. Consequently, the mullahs of a nearby town, Gojra, joined hands with the village mullah and organized a protest march in Gojra on February 2 with the co-operation of the Chairman Gojra Town Committee and a local member of the Provincial Assembly. The majority of the village population, however, resisted the mullahs and sided with the Ahmadis.
On February 7, the Area Magistrate visited the village along with a large contingent of armed police and a group of mullahs and exhumed the dead body of the late Ch. Lal Din which was later buried at the agricultural farm owned by the deceased. None of the Ahmadis were allowed to be present during the whole exercise. This was the fifteenth instance of the exhumation of an Ahmadi since the coming of the Ordinance.
Toba Tek Singh: A ninety year old Ahmadi, Umar Din, s/o Maula Baksh of Chak 148/G.B., District Toba Tek Singh, breathed his last on June 7, 1993 at the Civil Hospital of Toba Tek Singh. Relatives of the deceased carried the corpse to their native village for burial. They had just prepared to dig the grave when the D.S.P. Toba Tek Singh, along with a Magistrate and four vehicles full of policemen, arrived at the graveyard and stopped the burial. The D.S.P. insisted that the deceased should be buried in his own land and not in the graveyard. According to the D.S.P. this was being done on the demand of the non-Ahmadi Community of the village. The relatives of the deceased were forced to bring the corpse to Rabwah for burial late at night.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan dismissed a set of petitions challenging the various provisions of Ordinance XX of 1984 which prohibits Ahmadis from professing Islam as their religion, preaching their faith, calling their places of worship `mosque', reciting the Azan and using Muslim phrases and terminology. The net result of this decision was seen to be to legalize all the restrictions imposed on Ahmadis and to sanction violation of their fundamental rights.
A five member bench of the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the case on July 5, 1993. This decision was said to have singled out Ahmadis for discriminatory treatment. Their victimisation was made much more easy now.
Following passages of the decision are to be particularly noted.
"… Can anyone then blame a Muslim if he loses control of himself, reading and seeing such blasphemous material as has been produced by Mirza Sahib? (Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community) (P-55)
"So, if an Ahmadi is allowed by the administration or the law to display or chant in public, the `Shaa'ire Islam', it is like creating a Rushdi out of him." (P-56)
The Supreme Court touched the most sensitive nerve of the Muslim masses by equating Ahmadis with the notorious `Rushdi'.
The decision created serious apprehensions among Ahmadis that they would be made the target of hatred and persecution by the mullah and other fanatic and hostile elements. It is believed that as a result of this decision more and more Ahmadis will be implicated for the violation of the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance on innumerable grounds.
The decision justifies the practice of implicating Ahmadis under 295-C which awards the death sentence for defiling the name of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him). The following passage of the Supreme Court verdict is quite obvious in this regard:
"When an Ahmadi or Ahmadis display in public, on a placard, a badge, or a poster, or writes on walls, or ceremonial gates, or buntings, the `Kalima' or chants other `Shaa'ire Islam' it would amount to publicly defiling the name of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him)." (P-56)
The Supreme Court also enlarged the scope of the Ordinance by giving its sanction to implicating Ahmadis on the grounds which were not specifically mentioned in the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance e.g. `Displaying of Kalima' etc. As such, hundreds of Ahmadis against whom cases are pending in the lower courts about which they have been pleading that they committed no violation of the Ordinance by displaying `Kalima' or performing other religious practices as these were not specifically prohibited by the Ordinance, now stand no chance of getting acquittal from the courts.