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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Report of the PHRG Fact Finding Mission to Pakistan
Appendix 1

Summary of Itinerary and Meetings

KARACHI: Arrival on Saturday, 13th February 2010

Visited Ahmadiyya Community at 5 pm.
Hosts: Mr. Maudood Ahmad Khan, advocate, President of the Ahmadiyya Community, Karachi, Mr. Kanwar Idrees, ex-Minister and MP and journalist/columnist, Mr. Ali Ahmad Tariq, advocate SC.

Sunday, 14th February

Visited two Shia meetings to hear about their grievances for being treated as minorities.

First group represented Ja’affria Alliance of Pakistan and included:

Allama Abbas Kumaili, President, Ja’affria Alliance (JA)
Allama Mohammad Hussain Masoodi, Vice-President, JA
Allama Syed Mohammad Ayoon Naqvi, Member Supreme Council, JA
Allama Mirza Yousaf Hussain, Shia Scholar
Allama Akram Hussain Tirmizi, Shia Scholar

Main grievances.

  • Shia persecution and murder of 200 member in Parchanar, Khaiber Pakhtunkhava province by extremist and Taliban
  • MMA and JUI are religious organisations who have remained in alliance with government and remain active against Shia communities.
  • General failing of the government in prosecuting the criminal responsible for murders. Criminals are given easy life and no justice is provided.
  • Latest incident during Ashura. No one was persecuted
  • General impression that while Shias are given place in the Islamic Councils, they are still considered non-Muslims. Tolerated only because of their large minority – 15-20% of Pakistan population.

Second Meeting Representatives of various schools from Shia community:

Maulana Mohammad Abbass Abid, Chairman, Majlis-e-Ullama-e-Islamia Pakistan
Allama Syed Ali Karrar Naqvi, Chairman, Immamia Academy, Pakistan
Allama Syed Athar Hussain Jaffari Mashhadi, Chairman, Ittehad-e-Ummat-e-Muhammadi Foundation, Pakistan
Allama Syed Sajid Zaidi
Maulama Ghulam Raza Jaffery
Syed Hasan Mehdi Zaidi.

Their grievances were similar to those expressed at the first meeting.

  • Kalashnikoff and other deadly weapons are used, criminal are arrested but no case is decided
  • No criminal has so far been charged and sentenced.
  • When extremist organisations are banned, they immediately change their name but no action is taken against the members of these organisations or against their actions against minorities.

These meetings lasted from 10 am till 2.pm

Lunch was provided by the courtesy of MQM at their headquarters.

In the afternoon, the delegation was taken to the Command and Control Centre of Karachi and were received by Mr. Mustafa Kamal, the Mayor of Karachi who gave the delegation briefing on its function.

In the evening, the delegation visited the Governor of the Sind Province, Mr. Ishrat-ul-Ibad. Also present was Mr. Raza Haroon, Minister for Information Technology, Government of Sind.13 They both promised to look into the Report of the delegation and provide whatever help they could.

Departure by air arriving in Faisalabad in the afternoon of 15th February.

FAISALABAD, arrival on 15th February

Arrival in the afternoon.

Meeting with the Bishop Joseph Coutts, RC Prelate in Faisalabad, at the Faisalabad Cathedral. The meeting lasted well over 3 hours. The archbishop explained:

  • Depressing picture of future of inter-religious relations of Pakistan society.
  • Government is not strong enough and depends on religious parties for alliance.
  • The police are politicised and does not take any action on religious persecution by the extremist organisations.
  • There is open discrimination against Christians, for instance in restaurants.
  • Blatant misuse of blasphemy laws by the extremists against religious minorities.
  • The Christians have asked the government of Pakistan to allow them to use family laws according to their traditions. The government reaction has been slow and it seems the proposal has been shelved.
  • Criminal cases against extremists are rarely proceeded with and so far there have been no convictions.
  • He explained about the Gojra tragedy and the government took action only because of the attention that was paid to this event by the foreign press and governments.

Tuesday, 16th February

Full day at Rabwah, the headquarters of the International Ahmadiyya Community.

Arrival at 11 am. During the morning the delegation had detailed meeting with many departmental heads of the administration. Mirza Khurshid Ahmad, Chairman, Chaudhry Hamidullah, Chief Administrator, Mr. Mansoor Khan, Foreign Affairs and, Capt PN (retd) Shamim Ahmad, Head of Human Rights and many other assistants.

The meeting was very detailed and informative, with the Mission delegates being able to receive answers to many questions. The Mission members were also provided with a number of documents.

In the afternoon, the delegation interviewed some of the victims of the persecution.

The members of delegation were also taken on a visit to see the educational institutions that are still in the possession of the government and the state of neglect of Rabwah because Ahmadis have no say in the local Council. They also saw other main buildings like hospitals and graveyard that are privately maintained by the Ahmadiyya community.

Returned to Faisalabad at about 7 pm in the evening.

LAHORE, arrival on 17th February

Left Faisalabad at 8 am to arrive in Lahore at 11 am. The delegates met the Governor of the Punjab, Mr. Salman Taseer. For nearly one hour.

  • The governor agreed that the extremist organisations are rampant in the province of Punjab and many members of the banned organisations have joined political party that is in power in the province.
  • He conceded that Ahmadis are main victims of blasphemy laws.
  • He, however, did not agree on the separate listing of Ahmadis in the electoral register.

The meeting finished at 12 am.

The Chief Minister of the Punjab had agreed to meet the delegation at 12.am but at the last minute, he had to withdraw the invitation because of some other urgent business.

Afternoon at the Baituz Zikr, one of the main Ahmadiyya mosque and headquarter in Lahore.

Hosts: HC Judge (rtd.) Munir Ahmad Sheikh, the Amir of the Lahore Ahmadiyya community, Maj. Gen. (rtd.) Nasir Ahmad, president of Model Town Chapter, Mr Muhammad Aslam Bharwana, member of the executive. (The Mission notes with regret that, unfortunately, all three died in the attack that took place on the Ahmadiyya Bait-uz-Zikr mosque on 28th May 2010).

The delegation was given the briefing about the situation in Lahore and the activities of the ‘banned’ organisations who are operating actively and sometime with support from the Provincial Administration. They explained that frequently complaints are lodged but these are ignored by authorities. The delegation interviewed some of the victims of persecution.

Thursday, 18th February

Morning was spent with the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Hosts: Mr. I.A. Rehman, President
Mr. Mehboob Ahmad Khan, Legal Officer
Mr. Najam U Din, Research Officer

  • The HRCP members explained that 2009 had been a particularly bad year for Human Rights of minorities of Pakistan
  • Hindus have also been the victims of persecution.
  • Persecution of Shias in Parachanar (see Karachi) has increased because of the influence of Taliban’s attachment with Sunnis
  • Hazara Shias have also suffered in Baluchistan
  • Blasphemy cases against Christian continue. Deobandi, Ahle Hadith and extremist Sunnis have been recipient of Saudi money which they use for their persecution activities
  • The other large Sunni sect, the Brelwis do not receive any funds from Saudis because they are not sympathetic to Wahabi philosophy.
  • Confirmation of the Ahmadis as being the main target of the extremists and collusion with law enforcement authorities.
  • The strict stance of the Council of Islamic Ideology on the death penalty for blasphemy and PPC 295C

The meeting lasted for two and a half hours. The delegation returned to the hotel and in the afternoon at 3 pm visited Lahori Jamaat.

Mr. Kamran Michael, Punjab Provincial Minister for Minorities could not see us because of other engagements.

4.30 pm onward, meetings were held with representative/interlocutors of several organisations, including CLAAS. Mr Nadeem Anthony and Mr Peter Jacobs also visited and briefed the members of the Mission on Gojra atrocity.

ISLAMABAD, arrival on Friday, 19th February

Travel to Islamabad. Arrived around 2 pm.

20th February:

Visit to the Ahmadiyya Headquarters in Islamabad.

Hosts: Mr. Munir Ahamad Farrukh, Ameer, Islamabad Region
Mr. Mujeeb ur Rehman, Advocate SC
And some members of the executive committee.

The morning session was dedicated to meeting in which

  • The Delegation was briefed about the persecution of Ahmadis, particularly in Azad Kashmir
  • Mr. Mujeebur Rehman explained some of the finer legal points about the joint electorate and other issues related to persecution.
  • There were many members of the Ahmadiya Community from Azad Kashmir waiting to see the delegation.

In the afternoon the delegation members interviewed various victims of persecution from Azad Kashmir. The cases are referred to in Report.

This meeting lasted all day and finished at 6.30 pm

Saturday, 21 February

The Mission was due to meet a representative of the British High Commission [“BHC”]. Unfortunately she had other engagements and could not see the Mission neither did the BHC organise anybody else to brief the Mission. Omission of official point of view of the British High Commission is regretted.

The Federal Minister of Minorities was not available but he appointed to the Joint Secretary of the Ministry to meet the Mission on his behalf.

The delegation was given a video presentation of the minorities in Pakistan and how well the ministry is trying to look after them. Unfortunately when it came to specific points of the minorities, the answers were vague and at times appeared patronising.

The delegation’s next meeting was with the Deputy Secretary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Having recently returned from his tenure in the Pakistan Embassy in New Zealand, he was nevertheless aware of the religious intolerance and persecution of minorities including Ahmadis. He argued that the government was wishing to make changes, but could not achieve much because it was not strong enough.

Return to London, arrival on 22nd February

Flight back to England at 11 am, arriving at Heathrow at 3 pm.


13
The Mission gratefully acknowledges the help of Mr. Raza Haroon who organised the meetings with Shia scholars and provided the delegation with police escort during its stay in Karachi.
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