Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan

16 PERSECUTION OF AHMAD1 MUSLIMS IN PAKISTAN (Rashid Ahmad Chaudhary) Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continue to bear the brunt of persecution at the hands of the Pakistan Government as well as a small number of government backed ultra-orthodox mullahs. The persecution started in 1984 when the President of Pakistan promulgated Ordinance XX. The ordinance, not only contravenes the fundamental rights vouchsafed in the U. N. charter, but also gives the authorities and the mischieveous mullahs, (Muslim priests) a free hand to harass the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. As a result many Ahmadis have .been killed, a large number have been arrested for merely professing and practising their faith. There are numerous cases of murder and arson against the Community. Members have been persecuted and discriminated against in many respects. The incidents have been investigated and confirmed by the independent world agencies like Amnesty International, International Commission of Jurists, and Human Rights Advocates over and over again. The subcommission of U. N. Commission on Human Rights declared the ordinance a prima facie breach of the International norms of freedom of conscience. In addition to the above, Ahmadi Muslims are facing a most intolerable barrage of abuses, ridicule and contempt. The media, especially the newspapers, use extremely foul and filthy language in relation to the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community and its leaders. The teachings of Ahmadiyyat are misrepresented grotesquely so as to create enmity and hatred against the members of the Ahmadiyya Community. The mullahs pour their venom and incite people to kill Ahmadis in their public speeches. Even in Rabwah, the headquarters of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Community, with 99% Ahmadi population, the Ahmadis have been barred from holding their annual function for the last four years, while the mullahs have been holding their conferences frequently for the sole purpose of provoking the Ahmadis. Filthy abuses are hurled on the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community and its leaders. Can there be any worse mental torture for the Ahmadis than to have to listen to these false accusations against their spiritual leaders, the ones for whose sakes they are willing to sacrifice their lives ? PERSECUTION IN PAKISTAN 17 These mullahs are let loose by the government and they roam the cities and villages inciting the people against the Ahmadis with their lies. The result is that a number of Ahmadis have been killed, their houses burnt, their mosques sealed, or demolished or set on fire or in most cases desecrated. In 99.9% cases it is the administration or the police who has desecrated the mosques. It also appears that the assasins have also full backing of the authorities that is why none of them have been reprimanded and even those who were caught red handed by the public and handed over to the police went scot free after a mock trial and with ridiculously low sentences. ‘ Perhaps the extent of mental torture that Ahmadis go through can be gauged to some extent by the excerpts of letters which we now produce from the mail of the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya ‘Community, who receives about 400 letters each day from his followers in Pakistan. It has to be noted however that these letters are written with extreme care as the Ahmadis do not want to communicate to their spiritual leader anything which is not true. They tend to suffer quietly rather than adding more to his worries by mentioning their predicament to him, but there reaches a stage when they can take no more and then they write to him mainly -to seek his blessings and prayers. We quote extracts from some letters received: Dated 16th February 1988. Report from Okara state: On January 26th, 1988, an Ahmadi, Mr. Muhammad Sadiq, died; and was buried in the part of the graveyard where other Ahmadis lie buried. The non-Ahmadies did not object to the burial. Later on the village mullah, who is a newcomer to the village, started1 a campaign against the burial, and demanded that the body be removed. A deputation of 9 people met the District Commissioner Okara for this purpose. The D. C. instructed the Duty Magistrate to go to the village and find a solution to the problem created by the mullah and his followers. When the magistrate visited the village, the mullah and his followers exerted pressure on him. The magistrate summoned Mr. Muhammad Sharif, the son of the deceased, and suggested that the matter could be resolved if he signed a declaration to the effect that he was no longer an Ahmadi. Mr. Muhammad Sharif declined this ridiculous suggestion. As no other solution could be found, the police decided to remove the 18 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS corpse. They dug up the grave six days after the burial with the help of prisoners in their custody, and handed over the body to Ahmadis, who buried it at another place. 16th February 1988. Bahawalnagar. Sheikh Imran Nasir, an Ahmadi, printed some invitation cards on the occasion of his sister’s marriage, with the phrases: “In the name of God, Most Beneficient, ever Merciful” “Assalamo Alaikum” (Muslim greeting) “God willing” A mullah, Muhammad Ismail, made an application to the authorities that a case be brought against both parents of the bride and her two brothers under Section 298c. A case under Section 298c has therefore been registered against Sheikh Imran Nasir. 16th February 1988. Jehlum (Punjab) The local administration, assisted by the police, removed the Kalima (Declaration of Faith) inscription from the local Ahmadiyya mosque. It followed a public meeting addressed by fanatic mullahs in which they warned the administration to remove the inscription from the Ahmadiyya mosque immediately. The Deputy Superintendent of police removed the inscription before the meeting ended. The speakers at the meeting praised the officers concerned. 17th February 1988. Rana Sardar Khan of Khushab. “I want to pass on a very sad item of news. A police party came to our mosque on 17th Feb. 1988 at about 10 p.m. The doors were locked. They broke them open, and wiped off the Kalima, i.e. the Declaration of Faith.” PERSECUTION IN PAKISTAN 19 1st March 1988. Mrs. Mumtaz Faqurallah of Muree. Dear Huzur, Assalamo Alaikum I have no wish to communicate the sad news to you, but you are the only one to whom I can turn for prayers at this time of grief and misery. It turns my brain to think of the dreadful tragedy that has befallen us recently. I offered Friday Prayer on February 19th in the beautiful Ahmadiyya mosque but when I went there on the 26th, I found a heap of ash and dust and bare walls. The enemy had set it on fire. I fell down with sudden shock, and was taken to hospital where I was revived after 4 -hours. Huzur, the police have not registered the case yet. The local mullahs have threatened my life, if I do not leave my house and go somewhere else. Huzur, I am not afraid of their threats. I go to see the mosque daily or whatever is-left of it, sit there in silence and shed tears. The mullahs have announced that no contractor or builder should venture to undertake the job of contruction, but I am determined, and I have resolved that I would construct the mosque with my bare hands if nobody else comes forward, and I would lay down my life in this cause, and feel it an honour. 25th Feb. 1988. Rashid Ahmad Qamar Nankana, District Sheikhupura. Dear Huzur, Assalamo alaikum We are passing through a very difficult phase. The opponents of Ahmadiyyat, leave no stone unturned to injure our feelings when we are passing through a street. Some shout “Million of curses be on you”, some spit at us with hatred. 23rd Feb. 1988. Rafiq A. Shad. I own some agricultural land in a village in District Khairpur Sind. Though a few Ahmadi children live there, yet there are only two male members. The rest are women and children. 20 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Sir, an opponent of Ahmadiyyat, Mr. Allah Yar, always creates mischief against the Community. In the past, he has been involved in theft cases in Ahmadi houses. He has also brought some false cases against Ahmadis in order to harass them. Sir, when I write to you, I write with extreme caution, as we are told in the Holy Quran to be precise and accurate in our accounts. We beg you, sir, to pray for us fervently and urgently. The fact is that, being small in number, we might be killed. We are very worried. We remain awake during long nights in fear. Please pray that God will give us courage and strength. From Ghulam Din Chandie of Gorgej District Larkana Sind. Dear Huzur, Assalamu Alaikum Some days ago I went to the nearest town and asked a laundry man to iron my clothes. He refused to do so, and said that he would not iron the clothes of Ahmadis. A few days later, I ordered food at an hotel, but service was refused. I was told that they do not serve food to Ahmadis as the utensils used by an Ahmadi become Haram (not usable by Muslims). Recently we were offering our prayer in our mosque, and some mullahs threw stones at us, and ran away. 16th February 1988. Warah, Distt. Larkana Sind. A deputation of mullahs met D. C. Larkana complaining that Ahmadis say Adhan, and offer prayers in their mosque at Warah. Also, that they teach the Holy Quran to their members. The D. C. sent a magistrate to enquire. He asked the Ahmadies whether they have constructed the mosque, and what was their purpose in building it. The Ahmadis replied that they had built it 5 years ago for God’s worship. The magistrate searched the mosque and found nothing except the Holy Quran. The magistrate called the councillor of the village who was from the Brelvi sect. He informed the magistrate that the Ahmadis pray in their mosque very quietly. Small children say the Adhan before the prayers, and the people have no complaint against the Ahmadis. The magistrate returned with that PERSECUTION IN PAKISTAN 21 report. Now the mullahs are trying to campaign that the magistrate is an Ahmadi as well, therefore they are approaching higher authoritis. 15th February 1988. Ghafoor Ahmad, Skrund, Sind. Two years ago when my son was abducted, we left our village and went to live in the town. Occasionally we go to the village to look after our land which we had given on lease. We have to pass through a village in which a staunch “Deobanidi” Haji Saadullah Anter lives. Huzur, as we pass through the village, the above named mullah instigates the children of the village to chant abuses and insults on the Founder of our Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Highly offensive language is used for his holiness, but we pass on quietly for fear of more trouble. 16th February 1988. Chak No.37/12L Tehsil Chichawatni, Distt. Sahiwal. A revered old Ahmadi Chaudhary Muhammad Boota died. As the whole village belonged to one clan, the elders of the village, though they are all non-Ahmadia, decided to bury Him in the common graveyard of the village. A mullah of a neighbouring village came to know of this, and sent telegrams to the President, Governor of Punjab Province, and the Suprintendent of Police demanding that the body be exhumed and buried elsewhere. The local administration along with the elders of the village got together and decided that the body would not be exhumed. They constructed a wall round the grave in order to separate it from the main graveyard and to pacify the opposition, but the mullahs are still adamant that the body be removed from the cemetery. Various statements of the mullahs have appeared in the newspapers demanding the removal of the dead body. Huzur, the most worrying thing is that according to the Daily Jang, the Government has now instructed all Deputy Commissioners that Ahmadis cannot be buried in the graveyard where Muslims are buried.