The District Amir of Nawab Shah (Sindh) assassinated the next day
These incidents were preceded by a GEO TV religious program in which, the participants discussed issues of Jihad and the Islamic obligation to kill etc. during a discussion on Ahmadiyyat.
Sindh: Dr Abdul Mannan Siddiqui, the District President of the Ahmadiyya community Mirpur Khas was murdered at approximately 14:30 on September 8, 2008 in his hospital at Mirpur Khas. He was conducting his rounds of the wards at the time when two assailants, one bearded and the other masked, opened fire at him. He was hit by nine bullets. Mr. Arif, the doctor’s Ahmadi guard was shot seven times and was taken to Karachi in a critical state. Two patients were also shot. The assassins fled after the attack.
Dr Siddiqui, 46, was a highly qualified and respected physician. He was a highly capable man and well known for his sense of charity. He would routinely visit remote rural areas of Sindh on a monthly basis to provide free medical care to the poor. He was also a popular figure among other sections of society. According to the daily Dawn of September 9, 2008, “Later in the day, activists of different NGOs, including HRCP core group, took out a rally in protest against targeted killing of Dr Siddiqui.”
Dr Siddiqui is survived by his widow, a teenage daughter and son and his aged mother.
Dr Siddiqui is the 15th Ahmadi doctor to be killed in Pakistan because of his religion. Since the promulgation of the notorious Ordinance XX in 1984 specifically aimed at Ahmadis, he is the 94th Ahmadi to be killed for his faith.
The day after Dr Siddiqui’s murder another prominent Ahmadi, Seth Muhammad Yousuf, the District Amir of the Ahmadiyya community in Nawab Shah (Sindh) was killed in broad daylight in the local bazaar. He was on his way home from work at about 18:30 on September 9, 2008 when he was repeatedly shot in the head, neck and chest. He was quickly taken to the hospital, but before he could be operated upon, he succumbed to his wounds. Seth Yousuf was 66. He was a sociable, charitable and hospitable man, popular among everyone. He is survived by his widow, three sons and a daughter.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned both murders. Mr. Altaf Hussain, the chief of the MQM denounced this sectarian violence. In a statement the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said they were ‘horrified’ to learn of these two murders particularly as they came shortly after a broadcaster on one of Pakistan’s main TV channels urged viewers to kill blasphemers and apostates as a religious duty (Daily Times, September 13, 2008). The Mullas however claimed that the murders were a part of Judo-Christian conspiracy and a result of internal strife within the Ahmadiyya community. (The daily Aman, September 15, 2008)
On 7th September, a day prior to Dr Siddiqui’s murder, GEO TV aired a live discussion on its ‘Aalim online’ program, commemorating the 34th anniversary of Ahmadis being given ‘non-Muslim’ status by the government of Pakistan. Two mullas participated in the discussion via a live phone link. One was Saeed Inayatulla, a visiting cleric, interestingly based in Makka, Saudi Arabia and the other one was Shah Turabul Haq Qadri. The discussion panel in the studio comprised of two mullas, Muhammad Amin of the Madrassah Banoria, and mulla Muhammad Amin Shaheedi a Shia cleric, and was chaired by Aamar Liaquat, the anchor man. The three participants used highly provocative and slanderous language against the holy founder of Ahmadiyyat and promoted hatred against the Ahmadiyya community. They used the words “blood, Jihad and Duty to kill (Wajib-ul-Qatl واجب القتل)” etc. in this context, thereby openly violating one of the laws of the country. Such sectarian campaigns are rarely conducted by clerics through the electronic media, however whenever they have been carried out in the print media or from their pulpits, they have often resulted in bloodshed. Given the troubling situation in the Kurram Agency, the malicious content of the GEO program amounted to opening up a new battle front.
Individuals and groups that are committed to anti-Ahmadiyya violence are well-known to the police and the administration. These people are very open about their aims and objectives and have a history of shedding Ahmadi blood. The authorities can easily bring them to justice if they are asked to do so by the ruling elite. Currently Mr. Qaim Ali Shah of the PPP is the Chief Minister of Sindh.
Is it not surprising and quite absurd that under these circumstances, the response of the authorities was to register a criminal case under the Ahmadi-specific laws against a number of Ahmadi traders and businessmen in Rabwah, who published Ramadan time-tables and used the words ‘Imam’ and ‘Khilafat’, thereby allegedly injuring the feelings of Muslims.
Encouraged by the lack of attention paid to his offenses on GEO by the authorities, Dr Aamar Liaquat wrote an article, which was published in the daily Jang on September 12, 2008. In it Aamar Liaquat not only admitted his sectarian vitriol against Ahmadis, he also wrote that he was proud of it. He based his argument on his ‘love for the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.)’ and insisted that he would persist in his crusade against Ahmadis. A week later, Pakistan experienced its own 9/11 when the Marriott hotel in Islamabad was blown up by terrorists who were motivated by their alleged ‘love for the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.)’. Many innocent people lost their lives in the attack.
Is there anyone in Pakistan who will stop people like Dr Aamar Liaquat and their sponsors like GEO TV and the daily JANG from inciting sectarian violence?
Mr. Kanwar Idrees wrote an excellent article in the daily Dawn on September 21, 2008 on this subject. It is well worth reading.
Dr Liaquat’s outrages on GEO were condemned by column-writers and journalists in the press e.g. the Daily Times, The Friday Times, the Pakistan, the Aajkal etc. The International Union of Journalists also issued strong condemnations.
Except for Mr. Altaf Hussain of the MQM, no other political leader displayed enough courage to condemn these murders.
Karachi: An Ahmadi, Sheikh Saeed Ahmad, was the target of an attack by religious zealots on September 1, 2008 at approximately 11.00 P.M. in Manzoor Colony, Karachi. He passed away on September 13th, 2008.
Saeed was rushed to the hospital by a group of his friends. His wounds were severe and he was in a critical condition. Doctors had to remove his spleen and one of his kidneys. They used 25 bottles of blood to sustain him. After the operation doctors shifted him to the I.C.U. while he remained unconscious.
He made slight recovery after three days, but remained on life-support and still required more blood to stay alive. All in all, 60 bottles of blood were used. His intestine and stomach were greatly damaged by the shots. He struggled for his life for 12 days, but eventually succumbed. His first child was born to his bereaved wife a week after the attack. Saeed was 42 years old and owned a pharmacy. Assailants acting in the name of religion had killed his brother, Sheikh Rafiq Ahmad, two and half years earlier in Karachi. It might also have been the same group which murdered his maternal uncle, Professor Dr. Sheikh Mubashir Ahmad of Karachi, a renowned physician, on September 26th, 2007. Some years ago, unknown murderers killed two Ahmadis in the same locality. All this has caused great concern among the Ahmadi community of Manzoor Colony. The administration and the police have been found wanting in tracing the culprits, although given the circumstances and the well-known extremists who oppose the community, this should not have been difficult.
While all this was happening to Ahmadis at the hand of bigots and extremists in Sindh, the police:
Rabwah; September 5, 2008: While the country suffered major attacks at the hand of religious extremists, the half-witted Punjab Police kept itself busy in a senseless pursuit of peaceful Ahmadi citizens on ridiculous charges. The police in Rabwah (of course, goaded by their superiors and influential mullas) booked ten Ahmadi traders for publishing their ‘publicity and public-service’ Ramadan calendars in which they allegedly used ‘Islamic’ terms like ‘Khilafat’ and ‘Imam’. These ignorant policemen are unaware that these words were a part of the Arabic language even before the advent of Islam, and no one has ever recognized the sole propriety rights of Muslims in their use. The Ahmadi-specific Pakistani law also does not include these two words among the listed Islamic terms. Obviously, the police have acted both unlawfully and maliciously towards Ahmadi citizens in Rabwah.
More specifically, the Rabwah police registered an FIR No. 443/08 on September 5th, 2008 under sections PPC 298B and 298C, based on a report by one Aftab Ahmad, the Inspector Incharge of Investigation, Police Station Chenab Nagar. The FIR mentions the following: Mr. Qadeer Ahmad Gujar and Mr. Munir Ahmad Qaisar, owners of the Alfazal Dairy Malik shop; Mian Latif Ahmad, Alhaj Mian Qamar Ahmad, Mian Shahzeb Asim, Mian Azhar Ahmad, proprietors of Qaisar Jewelers; Owners of International Courier and Cargo Service, Owners of Master Jewelers, and Mian Ghulam Murtaza Mahmud the owner of Alfazal Jewelers and Kashif Jewelers.
In the FIR the inspector mentioned that the calendars containing the Ramadan timings injured the religious feelings of Muslims, without naming anyone in particular or mentioning who had made the complaint. The inspector took it upon himself to assume that the feelings of his ‘fellow’ Muslims had been hurt. Such FIR’s are against the normal practice of the police.
The incompetent inspector did not even bother to learn that one of the accused, Mian Latif Ahmad, is no longer alive. Shah Zeb Asim, another accused is a boy who is not even a teenager.
This FIR is indicative of the religious prejudice and the close relationship between fundamentalist clerics and the District Police. It shows how greatly misguided their priorities are and how insensitive and indeed ignorant the police and the administration are of the actual security risks facing the society. Only a fortnight later, the whole world saw the Marriott hotel in Islamabad go up in flames, on their TV screens. And yet we have not heard of any steps taken by the higher officials in the Punjab to withdraw the ridiculous FIR 443/08 of the Chenab Nagar, Police Station.
The current situation is scandalous. The accused had initially been granted temporary bail, but at the time of its confirmation bail was denied to them. The judge cancelled their bails, except for that of Shah Zeb. They were taken to the Jhang prison on 6th October which is a great distance away from Rabwah. Later the police added eight more Ahmadis to the list of those who were accused. The police have apparently opened a type of ‘imprest account’ through this FIR so as to make this case against other Ahmadis in Rabwah. It is not surprising that UK’s Parliamentary Human Rights Group mission titled its report on Rabwah in 2007: RABWAH: A PLACE FOR MARTYRS?
This human rights violation deserves comment. The government often complains of shortages in the police and judiciary. But see the irrational utilization of what is available. The Punjab is under attack by religious fanatics. The carnage at Wah, the suicide attack on police personnel at Lahore, the terrorism at Bhakkar, the recent explosion of bombs in a market at Ghari Shahu etc should have opened the eyes of any sensible administration for the need of the judicious allocation of human resources and the sensible review of their priorities. The district of Jhang has been home to banned extremist organizations, but they are still very active. In these circumstances, the pursuit and arrest of innocent Ahmadis for alleged misuse of Arabic words is simply idiotic. And to do so, on the behest of the mulla, is an abomination. This gives validity to a remark in TIME magazine that; Yet though Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism, it has also been its enabler. (Time: September 22, 2008). Is the Takht-i-Lahore تخت لاہور (the throne of Lahore) set to repeat the mistake of ignoring the realities on the ground as it did approximately 150 years ago?
Kunri, District Mirpur Khas (Sindh): The extremist elements in Kunri have ensured that the law and order situation in the town remains fragile. Reportedly, someone wrote blasphemous letters against the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h). The police detained a non-Ahmadi doctor Ayub and his colleague, but released them later. Then they took an Ahmadi, Rana Khalil Ahmad, into custody under the same case on September 14, 2008. They also took away another Ahmadi Shafiq Shah. The community elders tried to contact the DIG of Police who was not available at the time as he was away in Karachi.
Later, the police released Shafiq Shah. They had tortured him during the investigation. He supplies biscuits etc to retailers, for a living.
It has been learnt that the police have charged two Ahmadis, Rana Khalil Ahmad and Mr. Rashid Iqbal under PPC 295-A for which the penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment. Rana Khalil Ahmad has been accused of writing a blasphemous letter to the Khatib of Jamia Masjid Kunri. Rana Khalil is an old man who runs a small retail store. He lost a leg in an accident, and walks with the help of crutches. Mr. Rashid Iqbal has been accused of writing something religious on the road with some chalk.
Life for Ahmadis in Kunri is full of risk and uncertainty. The mulla is always busy in mischief, and enjoys the support of some sections of the police.
Kunri (Sindh): It was reported last month that a mischief monger in Kunri had used the oil spill on the road to write the Kalima and the name of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) on the ground. The mulla used it as an excuse to organize a procession, accuse Ahmadis and undertake attacks on the Ahmadiyya centre and Ahmadi homes.
The vernacular press of Karachi, led by the ‘Islamist’ Nawa-i-Waqt reported the incident and published the clerics’ version of events and their press release under a three-column article. The Sunni Tehrik, a politico-religious party and the clerics of the Khatme Nabuwwat jumped onto the bandwagon for their own political gains. They even accused an Ahmadi ‘Muhammad Akbar Iqbal’ and threatened his life for having committed blasphemy. They demanded that he be lynched in public. They telephoned him and told him, “It is your turn now; we shall dispatch the blasphemers to hell.”
Poor Iqbal was extremely disturbed and fled from Kunri along with his wife and two children and hid himself elsewhere in the country. In the meantime, the police investigated the incident and came to the firm conclusion that Ahmadis had nothing to do with the incident. Dr Zulfiquar Mirza, Interior Minister of Sindh made a statement in the Provincial Assembly that ‘Qadianis were not involved in the blasphemy incident at Kunri’ (the daily Ummat, Karachi of September 6, 2008). He assured the house that he would inform them after tracing the real culprits. The police are well aware of the modus operandi of the mulla; the authorities should look for the real culprits among those protesters who cry the loudest.
Kallar Kahar: Mr. Daud Ahmad Joyia, an Ahmadi was selected and appointed as a lecturer in the Cadet College, Kallar Kahar on August 26, 2008. Later the college administration came to know that he was an Ahmadi. The principal sent for him in his office on the morning of September 10, 2008 and told him that it was not possible for him to retain an Ahmadi lecturer. “Your colleagues will not tolerate an Ahmadi lecturer at any cost”, Mr. Joyia was told. It is likely that one or two other lecturers might have objected to Mr. Joyia’s appointment, but the principal found it convenient to fire the appointee rather than educate those who objected to his employment.
Mr. Joyia asked the principal to discharge him in writing and mention the given reason in the discharge slip. The principal refused to do this, and told him to stop coming to the college.
Thus one can only guess at what kind of cadets the Kallar Kahar college is producing!
Chang, District Hyderabad: The small town of Chang is close to agricultural farms owned by Ahmadis. The local mullas have been active there for weeks to foment religious hatred and prejudice against Ahmadis.
They arranged an open-air meeting (Jalsa) against Ahmadis at Chang. They invited a few Pushtun mullas to address the gathering. A number of minor clerics also participated. They delivered hate speeches against Ahmadis and tried to outdo one another in slander and calumny. Among other exhortations, the mullas urged the audience to:
The Ahmadi assessment is that the public did not respond favorably to the mulla’s rhetoric. The local elders and the administration remain on good terms with Ahmadis.
Earlier in this report, we mentioned the Ramadan calendars in Rabwah, where simply for the use of words like Khilafat and Imam, the police registered criminal cases under Ahmadi-specific laws against 10 Ahmadis and arrested them. Now we refer to another calendar; the contrast will show the nature and scope of discrimination.
A Khatme Nabuwwat organization in the district of Toba Tek Singh issued a Ramadan calendar wherein 70% of the space was allocated to hate propaganda against Ahmadis. Readers were incited against Ahmadis in strong language. It listed 10 questions; the mildest of which was the first one; “Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani robbed the Healer of Doomsday (Shafi Mahshar - sic) (p.b.u.h.) of his finality of Prophethood - what has been your response?” One needs nerves of steel to translate the other questions. The companions of the holy founder of Ahmadiyyat have been called scoundrels (badmoash sathi بدمعاش ساتھی). Muslims have been told that Ahmadis are infidels, cursed and apostates (kafir, mardud aur murtad کافر، مردود اور مرتد). Marriage with them has been declared adultery. Ahmadis have been described as more dangerous than snakes and scorpions, and Muslims, who have friendly relations with Ahmadis, are told that dogs who bark at Ahmadis, are better than them.
This calendar obviously and blatantly violates section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code. However, no case has been registered against its publishers who had the audacity to print their address boldly in the centre of the calendar as:
Rabwah: In keeping with their usual practice, the authorities, permitted the mullas to hold a conference here on September 7, 2008 on the anniversary of the constitutional amendment that declared Ahmadis as Not-Muslims. The mullas converged from distant towns. They were all extremists, and many of them belonged to the ill-reputed Ahrar group. They did not arrange free transportation for their audience so their numbers were limited to 250 people, a very poor showing by Pakistani standards.
Mulla Ludhianwi, who has occasionally faced arrest for his sectarian drives, stated that Jews and Christians have been the enemies of Muslims since the early days.
Maulvi Ilyas Chinioti MPA, who boasts of his intimacy with the PML (N) leadership, said that Qadianis are rebels against the law, and the penalty for rebellion is death.
Qari Usmani proposed the following resolutions, inter alia:
There were numerous banners at the conference site, including the following:
Prominent mullas who participated, included:
The daily Khabrain reported on September 9, 2008 that similar conferences were held in Lahore, Chicha Watni, Chiniot, Karachi etc.
Bahawalpur (Punjab): Recently the Governor of NWFP told the government of Punjab that they should be mindful of their backyard i.e. southern Punjab, which is now a centre of religious extremism and terrorism. Bahawalpur is an important city in the south of Punjab. The mulla’s activism against Ahmadiyyat is often a good yardstick to measure the extent of religious bigotry and intolerance in that area.
Religious and politico-religious organizations have recently started agitations in the Quaid-e-Azam Medical College and the Federal Government Girls Schools in Bahawalpur. Subsequent to the largely successful disruption they caused in the Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad, they focused their attention on the medical college in Bahawalpur. They implemented an effective social boycott of Ahmadi students there. They put hate-posters on college walls in which they listed the names of Ahmadi students and a lecturer. They also put up the notorious Ahmadi-specific Ordinance XX of 1984 on college and hostel notice boards. The Principal had them removed and asked the heads of departments to suitably guide the students against sectarian activities. This was not appreciated by the mullas who took a delegation of clerics to the Principal and tried to intimidate him. Mulla Ishaq Saqi is a major agitator among the leaders of this mischief; he is the one who has on one occasion toured the district and precipitated a grave incident at the Ahmadiyya mosque of Chak 192 Murad. The local vernacular press, as usual, provided ample space to the clerics’ propaganda.
The mulla also targeted the Principal of F. G. Girls Public School; she is an Ahmadi. The school has very good reputation and is the first preference of many parents for their children’s schooling. The mulla mounted a campaign of complaints against the principal which resulted in surprise visits and inspections by her superiors. She received hate mail and threats. Someone arranged a letter, ostensibly on behalf of the girl students, addressed to the Principal with a list of complaints against her. A copy of this letter, was sent to the following organizations:
The above list is indicative of the initiators, dispatchers and sympathizers of the letter. In the letter, they linked the issue of Faisalabad college, the inflow of money from Denmark and England, preaching etc. – and other types of nonsense. The mulla’s aim is to harm the Principal; he does not care for the harm that will be done to the school that enjoys a great reputation partly due to her excellent leadership. She is of course worried about the situation.
The mulla is on the rampage. He is now waging a jihad against his own people and institutions.
Rabwah: The daily Jinnah, Lahore of August 27, 2008 published a report on the local Girls High School. It printed photos of the people interviewed and the building’s damaged structure, with the note: “The building of Chenab Nagar Nusrat Girls High School is dilapidated and invites death.” The report carried the following headlines:
The report notes with concern that the school building that was declared dangerous 11 years ago in 1997, has not been rebuilt. A tragedy could be in the offing. The last government spent millions on propaganda and publicity on Parha Likha Punjab, but spent little on repair and maintenance of dilapidated school structures. Dozens of girl students and teachers were hurt over the past years due to structural failures. The students feel worried over the risk to their lives. The Deputy Nazim promised to carry out repairs and maintenance.
The daily Aajkal, Lahore rendered a similar report about this school in its issue of August 30, 2008.
Islamabad: Mr. Asif Ali Zardari took the oath of the president of Pakistan at Islamabad on September 9, 2008, as given in the third schedule of the 1973 constitution. Its text is fit for reproduction here as it conveys important messages regarding the state’s attitude towards human rights and freedom of religion. The TEXT:
Lahore: The daily Dawn reported the following in its issue of September 23, 2008:
The governor did well to point his finger at south Punjab. Fundamentalist and extremist elements have flourished there for a long time, and they now exercise plenty of freedom there. Unfortunately they have been, helped in this by officials who perhaps have received no firm directions from Lahore to distance themselves from these elements. For example, in the Ahmadiyya context, since January this year:
All this can happen only when extremist elements are supported by the authorities or when a clear signal is available to them that the state is not bothered by this display of religious vandalism. Thus Governor Owais is right in what he says.
Washington: The Daily Times, Lahore published a US report from Washington, sent by the daily’s rep there, Mr. Khalid Hasan. Headlines and extracts: