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Karachi, June 2, 2007: The police booked two Ahmadis, Messrs Shahid Mahmud Ansari and Amir Ahmad Ansari of Gulshan Sir Syed under PPC 298-C and 506-B, and arrested them. They were lodged in Landhi Jail. An appeal for bail was moved in the magistrate’s court; the decision is awaited.
The case was registered at Police Station Sarjani Town. Addition of PPC 506-B (threat to cause death or grievous hurt) to the Ahmadi-specific clause PPC 298-C is obviously a fabrication and malafide. If declared guilty, the two accused could be imprisoned for seven years.
Till now, more than three and half thousand Ahmadis have been charged under criminal laws for their faith. Religious and anti-Ahmadi laws continue to be applied to Ahmadis for registration of criminal cases. The present regime has done nothing to discourage registration of such cases. The mulla and those having personal vendetta have free and ready access to these laws to harass and persecute Ahmadis.
Nakdar, District Sargodha; June 8, 2007: Mr. Saeed Ahmad, Ahmadi was booked under PPC 298-C at Police Station Nakdar, District Sargodha on June 8, 2007 in FIR No 73/2007. He was arrested subsequently. He is a septuagenarian.
The accuser, mulla Mushtaq Ahmad is an Ushar collector. He accused Saeed Ahmad spuriously of preaching. In the written complaint for FIR, he urged the police to register the case against the Ahmadi under the Blasphemy law, PPC 295-C. Knowing that the mulla was not reliable, they down-graded the charge to PPC 298-C. Even then, the victim is exposed to three years in prison.
Later, when a plea for release on bail was moved with the magistrate, it was learnt that they had added Clause 9 of the Anti-terrorism Act to the charge sheet. This is tyranny — pure and simple. The bail application was rejected, of course. The accused remains in prison.
Khuda Abad, District Badin, Sindh: June 8, 2007: The mulla agitated and the administration cooperated with him to force Ahmadis disinter the dead body of an Ahmadi woman from the common graveyard and bury her elsewhere.
Ms Bambi Bibi, wife of Mr. Ilyas Ahmad died on June 5, 2007. She was buried at the local common graveyard where her husband was buried eight years ago. Other Ahmadis are also buried there for decades past.
Subsequent to the burial a few mullas started agitating. In the lead was a cleric Mulla Abdus Sattar Chawara who is a sworn enemy of the Ahmadiyya community. He mustered approximately 200 men and posed a law and order problem.
The administration formed a committee to propose a solution. The committee decided that Bambi Bibi’s remains should stay there, but in future no Ahmadi should be buried there. A few miscreants, however, refused to accept this verdict and persisted in their agitation. The administration, therefore, decided in favour of exhumation, and the police supervised the implementation of the ugly decision.
The Daily Times reported the incident on June 14, 2007, and wrote: ‘An Ahmadiyya spokesman from the community’s headquarters in Rabwah strongly condemned the “discriminatory, unjust and inhumane act”. He said just like previous regimes, the present government had failed to protect their rights.’
Since 1984, this is the 27th recorded incident of disinterment of Ahmadi dead. Such exhumations are a blot on the face of society in Pakistan.
Washington: In a press release on June 11, 2007 the USCIRF ‘deplored’ the abuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan as ‘a severe violation of the universally guaranteed right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief’. It also showed concern over a draft bill on apostasy.
“Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are inherently arbitrary, and they de facto restrict freedom of speech and other freedoms guaranteed by international human rights norms”, said Felice D. Gaer, Commission chair. “These insidious laws lend themselves to misuse and abuse, resulting in severe violations of freedom of religion or belief in Pakistan.”
The press release highlighted the death sentence to Younis Masih, a Christian. It also mentioned Ahmadis in prison on blasphemy charges.
As for the Apostasy Bill, Gaer said, “This proposed bill would violate human rights standards because it would criminalize an internationally protected right. Every effort should be made by the government of Pakistan to ensure that such repressive legislation is not passed.”
As for the amended procedures of leveling blasphemy charges, “In fact, the case against Younis Masih demonstrates that the officially required new procedures are not even heeded”, Gaer said. Among other recommendations, the Commission has asked the US government to:
Rabwah: June this year was a month of severe heat in most of the Punjab. According to one report, at places it was the hottest summer of the past 70 years. Rabwah was no exception. However, its suffering increased manifold when the town’s water supply system broke down, and the residents of Rabwah were deprived of drinking water for days and weeks.
The lethargy and lack of sensitivity of the local government to the plight of the residents was manifest and persistent. It amounts to criminal neglect. A number of households had to shift internally (if they could), while many others fled to other towns where their close relatives provided them shelter. Data is being collected to assess the magnitude of this adversity.
The Daily Express, Faisalabad, in its issue of June 28, 2007 published the following ’letter to the editor’:
Faisalabad: The village Mangat Unche in District Hafizabad has a sizable Ahmadiyya community and is thus targeted by the mullas of Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat. In the year 2004 the clerics inflicted three of the local Ahmadis with an accusation of defiling the Holy Quran, under PPC 295-B. The Additional Session Judge (ASJ) found the prosecution witnesses unreliable, even liars, so he acquitted two of the accused. However, based on the testimony of those very liars, he convicted the third accused and awarded him imprisonment for life for burning pages of the holy book. He also wrote, rather unjustifiably, “It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused acted in ill will manner and willfully through separate evidence if injurious act was voluntarily done without a lawful excuse, the defile is presumed and proved”. (Para 33). The ASJ thus violated a fundamental Islamic principle that ‘intentions’ are basic and crucial to acts. Also a number of Islamic scholars are of the view that the burning of old or torn pages of the Quran is permissible for their disposal.
Anyhow, this third accused, Mr. Mansur Ahmad, was imprisoned in the Central Jail of Faisalabad. He appealed against the sentence in 2005, and also applied for release on bail. There is a long waiting line of appeals at the High Court. He had to wait not for months, but years. Now he was in the third year of incarceration. At the end of May, 2007 a good judge at the Lahore High Court accepted his plea for bail.
The judge proceeded on short leave after the announcement of his decision, so it took some days’ delay before the bail orders reached the Sessions Court at Hafizabad. There, it was noticed that the name of the prisoner had been misspelt, ‘Manzur Ahmad’ instead of Mansur Ahmad. So the High Court had to be approached again for correction of the name. This was done on June 11, 2007, and the decision was conveyed again to the Sessions at Hafizabad. Surety bond was accordingly submitted. However, when the release orders were delivered to the prison authorities at Faisalabad, they raised three objections: 1) A copy of the Decision should be attached, 2) The release is indicated as that of a ‘detainee’, while the individual is a ‘prisoner’, and 3) The warrant should have at the head the name of the Court that orders release.
Accordingly, Mr. Mansur’s attorneys approached a third time the Sessions Court on June 15, 2007. The clerk pointed out that the letter of objections should be delivered by an official of the prison. So, a transport was dispatched to proceed all the way to Faisalabad to fetch the official from there. However, by the time he arrived, the session judge had departed from the court. Thus the paper work was completed the next day at Hafizabad from where the orders were taken again to the Central Jail at Faisalabad, and the prisoner was released by noon on June 16, 2007 — 16 days after the initial orders of the Lahore High Court.
It is just as well that community volunteers were doing the running around for the poor prisoner, otherwise Mansur would have stayed bogged down in the bureaucratic swamp for months before breathing the fresh air of freedom.
Jauharabad; May 15, 2 007: Mr. Amjad Mahmud, Ahmadi was fired from service in the Atomic Energy Commission. The real and only reason for this was his faith.
Mr. Mahmud was selected as Technician, initially as temporary, among 40 others by the AEC on the basis of merit. At the time of joining, he had declared his religious denomination. Subsequent to security clearance he received the ‘joining letter’ in December 2005. While in service, he developed good reputation as a hard working dutiful technician. However, later on, his Head of the Department who belonged to a religious party came to know of his Ahmadiyyat, and reacted like a cleric. The boss used direct and indirect methods to force Mahmud to quit the service. He fabricated false accusations and issued warning letters to the Ahmadi. Mr. Mahmud was pushed in a corner, and had to apply to the chairman PAEC and Director General SPD for redress. His colleagues were given the status of permanent employees in August 2006, but Mr. Mahmud’s service was terminated on May 15, 2007.
Our records show that some years ago when students of a university were taken on a tour of the atomic plant in Rawalpindi area, a girl student was off-loaded as she was Ahmadi. Dr A Qadeer Khan was outspokenly anti-Ahmadi; he restricted Ahmadis’ induction in the service of AEC and other related facilities. That prejudice persists and the religious establishment continues to exploit the unsupportable practices to its own purposes.
Islamabad; June 23, 2007: Pakistan Peoples Party, despite its liberal and secular labels does not hesitate to immediately jump onto the religion wagon to win some confessional votes of doubtful value. Recently, Ms. Benazir had to face some criticism in Rushdie affair, so her acolytes lost no time to flaunt PPP’s services in he field of ’end of prophethood’. Here is an extract from a report in the daily Khabrain of June 24, 2007 that mentioned the statement of one Khurshid Shah of PPP, on the floor of the National Assembly:
What a secular and liberal party! Taxas Guinan once defined: A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
“Religious bigotry still exists in the new voters’ lists issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP),” The Commission for Peace and Human Development, an NGO, stated in its press release on June 16, 2007. The press release stated further that in the new lists all religious entities were in a combined list while Ahmadis were in a separate list. It also stated that the registration of voters should not be based on religion.
Five years ago, apparently to meet the demand of a few mullas, the president issued orders for placing Ahmadis on a separate list, despite the declared policy of Joint Electorate. Thus a major principle was sacrificed at the alter of religious bigotry, opportunism and self-interest. One has to stretch one’s imagination far to call the elections “free” when these are constrained by the Chief Executive’s Order No. 15 of 17 June 2002 whereby 95% of all the voters have to sign and approve a particular definition of “the end of prophethood”. How can such a scheme flourish and produce fair consequences?
Elections will be fair only if and when, as a first step, the wrong done to Ahmadis is put right. There is no justification to deny Ahmadis their right of vote through devious and malafide rules. If political ambitions are allowed to be unfair and callous to one group, they will be so to all the others as a natural consequence. This will promote only chaos and unrest in the civil society — not a healthy environment for a peaceful, progressive Pakistan.
Sargodha: Mullas have become active here on the anti-Ahmadi front. Haji Mubarak Ahmad and Mr. Irfan Ahmad, Ahmadis own the Al-Mizan Auto Store near the General Bus Stand. A few mullas have taken to propaganda against them urging others to be violent again the Ahmadis. Reportedly they hinted of even a suicide attack.
Also, Mubarak Abdus Salam, an Ahmadi’s house in Model Town was visited repeatedly by some miscreant who came at night and stuck a provocative stoker at his gate. Mr. Salam is worried. In his neighborhood is located the Rahmania Dawakhana which is a center for mullas who normally indulge in violence against Shias. This location is suspect in this anti-Ahmadi activism. Mr. Salam has been assured of support by other Ahmadis by remaining on call on mobile phone.
Faisalabad: The mulla and the government have greatly succeeded in thinning out Ahmadis from the government offices. Now it is a standard technique of the mulla to target the rare Ahmadi employees in public services and malign them through fabricated complaints and (vernacular) media trial.
One such victim is Mr. Mian Fahim, the Deputy Superintendent of the Borstal Jail of Faisalabad. For months he has been maligned in the local press by the Information Secretary of the Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat, the notorious mulla Faqir Muhammad. However, recently Mian Fahim and his boss, the Superintendent held a press conference at the prison, and it was reported in a three-column news in the daily Aman, Faisalabad on June 7, 2007. The two officials informed the pressmen of all the improvements that they have undertaken at this establishment. Here we report only those portions that concern Mian Fahim the Ahmadi Deputy Superintendent. Extracts:
The above report is indicative of the stress and strain of false propaganda that Mr. Fahim has to face — only for his faith, by slanderers like mulla Faqir Muhammad.
Muzaffarabad: The daily Jinnah, Lahore in its issue of June 12, 2007 published the following story (extracts):
Jamaat Al Da`wa had undertaken relief activities in Azad Kashmir after the great earthquake there in 2005. Availing the opportunity, they promoted their own agenda of extremism and Jihad. It would be recalled that an NGO, Humanity First , which has many Ahmadi contributors and workers, also undertook relief work in the earthquake effected area. It did good work. Al Da`wa became jealous and undertook slanderous propaganda against the Humanity First. In January 2006 the weekly Ghazwa (it means: battle), an organ of Al Da`wa undertook a nasty campaign against Ahmadis and the Humanity First. It accused the NGO workers falsely of dressing immodestly, preaching Qadianism, eve-teasing, no relief-work, targeting children, injecting poison etc. (Ref: News Report February 2006)
Jamaat Al Da`wa is the new name of the banned Lashkar Taiba.
Chichi Watni: The daily Ausaf, Lahore in its issue of June 18, 2007 published the following story:
It deserves a mention that the cleric Cheema is quite an extremist and a rabid mulla in the name religion and Khatme Nabuwwat, based at Chicha Watni. Only a few weeks ago the daily Jinnah of Lahore published the following report from Chicha Watni in its issue of April 7, 2007:
And very recently the daily Al Jaridah, Lahore of June 9, 2007 had a story on this very Cheema; headline:
Hypocrisy and double standards seem to prevail worldwide these days. However, in Pakistan perhaps, one notices its extremes. For instance, on the issue of Blasphemy, the Supreme Court of Pakistan gave a formal opinion in a majority verdict in 1993, as follows:
Someone could say, “Unbelievable. Bizarre. Not true”; but the apex court did write that — it can be read in Zaheeruddin vs. State, 1993 S.C.M.R. 1718 at Para 85.
That is one standard. Then there is the other — equally unbelievable, but applicable to others. A minister, Dr Aamer Liaquat, Minister of State for Religious Affairs at the Federal capital wrote the following about the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya community in an article in the daily Jang of June 22, 2007:
This minister is not only a blasphemer, he is also a liar. Subsequent to his death at Lahore, Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s coffin was taken to Qadian by train by official permission of the Civil Surgeon who issued a certificate to that effect indicating that the death was not cholera related.
Dr Aamer Liaquat poses to be a religious scholar but his acts, utterances and appearance betray him as belonging to the world of performing arts rather than piety. In this very article, he eulogizes constable Saqib who, a week earlier, had opened fire with official rifle on three accused of blasphemy who were locked up at Kharian, and succeeded in murdering one of them, Asim Ansari. What a minister in the cabinet of a regime that beats the drum of Enlightened Moderation!