Human Rights Asia Report
July 12, 2013
The persecution of the Ahmadis, a minority sect, by police and fundamentalist Muslim groups is continuing unabated. In the month of June, two persons from the Ahmadiyya sect were gunned downed by 'unknown killers' in Karachi and Lahore. Another Ahmadi was shot and seriously injured.
In the city of Sialkot, Punjab province, the Ahmadis were stopped from offering Friday prayers and police asked them to produce a No Objection Certificate (no such thing exists) for offering prayers. When Ahmadis went to a senior police official for help, he instead instructed Ahmadis not to observe their Friday prayers until he had spoken to the Mullahs, the Muslim fundamentalists. The authorities do not allow Ahmadis to build a place for worship, nor do they allow them to pray at home. This is the freedom to worship – Punjab style.
The Ahmadis are not allowed to call their places of prayer a mosque and if holy verses of the Quran are written on their mosques the police and the Mullahs (fundamentalists) desecrate and erase them. If any person erases such holy words he/she is accused of blasphemy by fundamentalists but, in relation to religious minorities, the Muslim fundamentalists and law enforcement agencies are allowed to erase them. This practice against the Ahmadiyya sect has been continuous over the past six months.
The Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Pakistan, the organization of Ahmadis, has also detailed the persecution of Ahmadis that has occurred during the last six months.
A young Ahmadi shot dead: Unknown assailants killed Mr. Jawad Kareem, an Ahmadi, at his home because of his faith. Kareem, a resident of Green Town, was coming downstairs to go to meet his wife at her clinic, when unknown assailants entered his house and shot him. The bullet hit him in the chest. He was rushed to the hospital but did not survive. He had no personal vendettas against him from anyone. However, he was an active Ahmadi and had been receiving threats for some time. On hearing the noise from the attack, his elder brother, who lives on the ground floor, came out. The assailants fired a few shots in the air, and told him, "Next, it is your turn."
He is survived by his widow, three small children and brother. His youngest child is only five months old. His mother died of grief the day after Kareem was killed.
Prominent Ahmadi murdered in Karachi for his faith: Mr. Hamid Sami, 48, a chartered accountant, was shot dead in the afternoon on a busy road on June 11 2013. He left his office in Al-Hayat Chambers, M.A. Jinnah Rd., at 6:30 p.m. by car to go home. A friend and a business colleague accompanied him in the car. On the way, some unidentified men on motorcycles approached his car and opened fire. At least 6 bullets hit him on the face, hand and body, killing him on the spot. He left behind a widow, two daughters and a son.
Ahmadi gravely wounded in assault: On June 11 2013, Mr. Naveed Ahmad, son of Rasheed Ahmad, was shot by unknown assailants at 1:15 p.m. in his shop in Jhelum, Punjab, by three unknown men, who came to his shop on a motorbike. He was seriously injured and rushed to the hospital.
One of the assailants had come to Ahmad and asked for water. Ahmad provided him a glass of water. The stranger said, "It's very hot". Ahmad offered to let him come inside the shop to cool down a bit under the fan. The stranger came inside and so did two other people. The first one pointed a pistol at Ahmad. Ahmad resisted but the assailant managed to pull the trigger. The bullet hit him under his left eye and injured his jaw. Another of the men also fired at Ahmad, shooting him under his ribs and injuring a portion of his liver. The assailants fled thereafter. Ahmad was rushed to the hospital. After first-aid, he was shifted to PIMS hospital, Rawalpindi. Several bags of blood were needed to keep him alive. Eventually he became stable and is now out of danger. Mr. Naveed Ahmad is the elder brother of Mr. Laiq Ahmad, the head of the local Ahmadiyya youth organisation.
No Objection Certificate (NOC, a fictional document) required before allowing prayers:On May 31, in Pasroor, Sialkot district, Punjab, Ahmadis offered their congregational Friday prayers at the residence of the local missionary, as they do not have their own mosque. A police inspector arrived there while Ahmadis were offering their Friday prayers. He told the Ahmadis not to offer their prayers there. The Ahmadis explained their position to him. At this, the inspector demanded an NOC (though no such thing exists) for offering Friday prayers there. When he was told that there is no need for an NOC, the inspector said, "They are offering prayers in the mosques and you are offering it in a house, so you need permission. I need to enforce this in view of the law and order situation." Ahmadis then went to a senior police official for help, but he told the Ahmadis not to say their Friday prayers until he had spoken to the Mullahs. The authorities do not allow Ahmadis to build a place for worship and also do not allow them to pray at home. This is the freedom to worship – Punjab style. The Punjab is ruled by the Mian Brothers, who now complain about terrorism.
Weekly 'Lahore' office was ransacked: A religious fundamentalist, Muhammad Yaqub, filed an application with the police to register a case under the blasphemy law against the Ahmadi editor and publisher of the weekly 'Lahore' paper, along with two other persons, for the production and distribution of 'objectionable' material. He also approached a local judge to ask him to order the police to register the case. The above move was reinforced by a vigil by the Khatm e Nabuwwat activists against the office of the weekly publication. In the face of this threat, the editor, Yasser Zeervi, had to stop going to his office, and the publication of the weekly paper came to a stop. On June 13 2013, at around midnight, a group of policemen, accompanied by 3 Mullahs, came to the Lahore office, broke the locks, went inside and collected some books and publications. The presence of the Mullahs with the police party is intriguing, and raises serious questions. It is now known that Mr. Hamid Hussain, an Additional Sessions Judge, ordered the police to register a case under the Ahmadi-specific clause PPC 298C. The case is registered in FIR 282/2013 in the Mazang Police Station, Lahore.
Punjab police desecrate another Ahmadiyya mosque: On June 26, two policemen and one man in civvies came to the main Ahmadiyya mosque in Shaikhupura, Punjab, and told the management that a Mulim fundamentalist, Maulvi Manzoor Vattoo, had filed an application against the Kalima (Islamic creed) written outside the Ahmadiyya mosque and demanded its removal. The management told the visitors that it was not Ahmadiyya practice to remove the Kalima and they also would not allow a private party to do so. Thereafter, four officials from the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) visited the site in the evening and repeated the mullah's demand. They were given the same reply. Then, at around 10:30 p.m., police officers arrived in two vans led by a District Superintendant of Police (DSP). An inspector and four constables came to the mosque gate, climbed a ladder and defaced the Kalima, as demanded by the cleric.
Authorities target yet another Ahmadiyya mosque: On June 14, the police came to Chak 107 RB Sharqi village and forbade local Ahmadis to proceed with the construction of their mosque. The mosque was being built inside an Ahmadi's house and was near completion. The president of the local Ahmadiyya community, Mr. Munawwar Ahmad, was called to the police station. He went there along with a few Ahmadis. The DSP and the SHO were present at the police station. They pressurized Ahmadis and obtained an undertaking from them that they would demolish the mosque by June 16. Ahmadis are trying to resolve this matter peacefully. It is noteworthy that the authorities do not allow Ahmadis to construct a place of worship. They order them to demolish mosques that are being constructed, help miscreants to attack locations where Ahmadis assemble for worship and arrest Ahmadis en masse for alleged violation of laws. This is the unfortunate reality of freedom of worship in Pakistan – for Ahmadis.
Ahmadis behind bars: The police raided the workshop of a book-binder, Syed Altaf Hussain, and arrested him, his son and his workers on February 22 2013. The charge: doing the book-binding of some Ahmadiyya publications. Syed Altaf Hussain is not an Ahmadi. Two days later, the police released four of the detainees but kept Syed Hussain in detention at Old Anarkali police station. Mr. Asmatullah, an Ahmadi, who was also implicated in the Black Arrow case, had been granted bail in that case but was not released because he was also mentioned in this. Syed Hussain (non-Ahmadi) and Asmatullah (an Ahmadi) are still behind bars. The court heard their pleas for bail but rejected them. Mr. Asmatullah has been detained since early January 2013.
Editor and printer of the daily newspaper Al-Fazl and four others incarcerated: On April 10, 2013, the police registered a case against the editor, Mr. Abdul Sami Khan, and the printer, Mr. Tahir Mehdi Imtiaz Ahmad, of the daily Al-Fazl, as well as four others, under the Anti-Terrorism Act and Ordinance XX (which is anti-Ahmadi). The latter four accused are Mr. Khalid Ashfaq, Mr. Tahir Ahmad, Mr. Faisal Ahmad and Mr. Azhar Zareef, and they were arrested in Lahore by the Islampura police. On May 7 2013, the judge granted bail to two of them, Mr. Azhar Zareef and Mr. Faisal Ahmad, and denied bail to the other two, Mr. Khalid Ashfaq and Mr. Tahir Ahmad. They remain behind bars. Lahore High Court heard their pleas for bail on June 6 2013 and rejected them.
Hate is promoted and venom is spit against Ahmadis in different religious conferences, which are held in the sacred name of Khatam e Nabuwwat. In such conferences, ministers also participate in the hate campaign. The audience are provoked against Ahmadis and instigated to attack them. Anti-Ahmadiyya stickers and provocative banners are displayed in public places. As part of the hate campaign against Ahmadis, citizens are provoked to kill them through the publication of decrees of Wajibul Qatl ('must be killed'). The dissemination of anti-Ahmadiyya hate literature is constantly on the rise. The government can easily stop this but they are consciously ignoring it so that a religious fanaticism can be promoted.
Since the promulgation of the anti-Ahmadi Ordinance XX of 1984, 231 Ahmadis have been murdered because of their faith. 51 of these casualties were in Sindh, including 21 in Karachi. Most of the victims in Karachi were well-known professionals in their fields. Not a single killer of Ahmadis has ever been arrested, which shows that Pakistani authorities are colluding with the killers.