Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
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The Author: Mujeeb-ur-Rehman
A chronicle and a critique of the legislative and the judicial events leading to a gradual denial and erosion of religious freedom to Ahmadis in Pakistan. This work is intended to provide an insight into the background of the Supreme Court judgment in the Ahmadis' case.
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Enforced Apostasy: Zaheeruddin v. State and the Official Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan

III. The Decision in Zaheeruddin v. State

Zaheeruddin was the first Pakistan Court case to consider the constitutionality of Ordinance XX. In Zaheeruddin, the Pakistan Court, on July 3, 1993, dismissed eight appeals brought by members of the Ahmadiyya Community. *73 The five Ahmadi criminal defendants, charged for wearing the “Kalima” on their persons and claiming to be Muslims, were returned to jail for the remainder of their sentences. *74

The Pakistan Court, in Zaheeruddin, held that laws restricting the religious practices of Ahmadis are constitutional. *75 The Court ruled that because Ahmadis are non-Muslims, any Ahmadi representation as a Muslim is fraud and deception upon the public. *76 According to the Pakistan Court, because Muslims have exclusive use of their Islamic epithets and practices under the company and trademark laws of various countries, including England and the United States, the Ahmadi use of Islamic epithets and practices are constitutionally prohibited. *77 The Court made this statement although these epithets and practices are not actually registered. The Pakistan Court found that Ahmadi representations as Muslims offend and outrage the religious feelings of Pakistan's Muslim majority. *78 The Pakistan Court also gave examples of statements allegedly made by the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community to illustrate how Ahmadi beliefs offend Pakistan's Muslims. *79 Supposedly to prevent violence and to maintain law and order, Ahmadis are not allowed to offend the masses by practicing their faith. *80 The Pakistan Court misapplied United States case law regarding the free exercise of religion to justify its suppression of Ahmadi practices. *81 Accordingly, the Pakistan Court held that Ordinance XX was constitutional and did not violate the principle of freedom of religion. *82

Zaheeruddin, 1993 S.C.M.R. at 1734-36, 1749-50, 1779. There were five criminal appeals, Criminal Appeals Nos. 31K-35K of 1988 (Judgement of High Court of Baluchistan, Dec. 22, 1987), and three civil appeals, Civil Appeals Nos. 149/89 and 150/89 (Judgement of High Court Lahore, Sept. 25, 1984) and Civil Appeal No. 412 (Judgement of High Court Lahore, Sept. 17, 1991).
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Zaheeruddin, 1993 S.C.M.R. at 1734-36, 1749-50, 1779. Four Ahmadis, Zaheeruddin, Abdur Rehman, Majid and Rafi Ahmad were charged pursuant to Section 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code (Ordinance XX). The four men were charged for wearing badges bearing the “Kalima” while claiming to be Muslims. They were each sentenced to one year of rigorous imprisonment and fined one thousand rupees (Pakistani currency) or an additional one month of rigorous imprisonment. Id. at 1735-36.

Muhammad Hayat was also charged pursuant to Section 298C (Ordinance XX) for the same offense as the four men. Hayat was convicted and “sentenced to imprisonment till the rising of the Court” and fined three thousand rupees or three months simple imprisonment. Id. at 1735. All five criminal defendants were charged in the city of Quetta, Pakistan. Id. at 1735-36.
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Id. at 1779.
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Id. at 1752-58.
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Id. at 1775-78.
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Id. at 1765, 1777.
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Id. at 1765-68, 1775-77.
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Id. at 1758-65.
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Id. at 1779.
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