Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan

Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan (Rash id Ahmad Chaudhry) Since the promulgation of anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX of April, 1984, General Zia along with his band of mullahs (Muslim priests) has been pursuing a policy of systematic persecution of four million Ahmadi Muslims of Pakistan. Their hatred and animosity against this minority sect of Islam has been fanned, stoked, and spread through official machinery and media resulting in killings of Ahmadis, destruction and desecration of their property. Thousands of Ahmadi Muslims have been arrested, beaten, tortured, or publicly humiliated for declaring their beliefs. The general pattern continues whereby a mullah files a complain against Ahmadi Muslim leaders stating that it hurts his feelings to see “Kalima” (Declaration offaith) written on Ahmadiyya Mosques, or on a badge pinned on the shirt of an Ahmadi Muslim. The police then register a case against the Ahmadi leaders and arrests are thus effected. One such case is that of Rana Ata Ullah Patwari, a government official of Khushab, in the district of Sargodha. On March 29th, this year, the local police raided the houses of the following Ahmadi Muslims in Khushab: Rana Ata Ullah, Social Secretary; Abdul Ghafoor Khan, President of Ahmadiyya Community of Khushab city; and Choudhry Bashir Ahmad, Deputy Amir of the Ahmadiyya Community of district Sargodha. They were taken to the police station and locked up without reason. It was only after a good deal of effort to obtain a copy of the police FIR that the pretext for the arrests turned out to be “re-writing of the Kalima Tayyabah” on the local Ahmadiyya mosque, hence the charge under section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code! Rana Ata Ullah, along with other Ahmadis, was released on bail by the Senior Judge on April 5th, 1987, the City Magistrate having rejected their bail in an earlier application. The fact of the matter is that the Kalima on the Khushab Ahmadiyya mosque, like any other mosque, was inscribed when it was built years ago. It is customary to write the Kalima on mosques when they are built. It is interesting to note that no one objected to these inscriptions during that period. However, after Ordinance XX of 1984, these declarations of faith have become so offensive to the mullahs of Pakistan that they are now demanding the death penalty for the Ahmadis, because of these inscriptions! 38 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS On April 13th, 1987, Rana Ata Ullah and four other prominent leaders, namely, Rana Hamid Ullah, Mubarak Ahmad, Masood Ahmad, and Muhammad Hakim were summoned to the police station where the Inspector of Police interrogated them in the presence of an anti-Ahmadiyya mullah Saeed, with regard to their faith. Mullah Saeed’s attendance there appeared to be pre-planned. The main interrogations were about the prophethood of the founder of Ahmadiyya Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Rana Ata Ullah clarified the Ahmadiyya viewpoint by corroborating references from the Holy Ouran and the Sayings of the Holy Prophet. Mullah Saeed flared up at the quotations of the Holy Ouran and Hadith, saying that Rana Ata Ullah, being an Ahmadi, should not be allowed to refer from the Holy Ouran or Hadith. This, he claimed, amounts to preaching. At about 7 p.m. all the five Ahmadiyya leaders were allowed to return to their homes but only to be rounded up later from their local mosque where they were attending a religious meeting. They were charged under Section 295-C of the notorious addition to Pakistan Penal Code, which carries a penalty of death. The charges levied against them were that they: a) Offered Friday Prayers, b) Re-wrote Kalima Tayyabah on the Ahmadiyya place of worship. c) Used certain houses for preaching their faith. The main respondent to the queries at the police station was Rana Ata Ullah who has been implicated in yet another case, again under Section 295-C on the charges of i) Refusing to remove Kalima Tayyabah from the Ahmadiyya mosque. ii) Reciting verses from the Holy Ouran. iii) Preaching regarding the subject of Prophethood and asserting the prophethood of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The latest development in this case is that Rana Ata Ullah has been suspended from his government job as Patwari, by the Assistant Commissioner/Collector, Jauharabad sub-Division, vide his order No. 132- 34/AClPA, dated July 08, 1987. Instances of such persecution against the Ahmadiyya Community are on an increase in Pakistan. The question to be asked is for how long will the conscience of the world remain mute and ineffective and until when will the UN Charter of Human Rights be allowed to be flouted by the usurper of power in Pakistan?

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