The year 2009 was worst for Ahmedis
The year 2009 was one of the worst for Ahmadis (a religious minority community) in Pakistan.
Since the promulgation of the anti-Ahmadiyya law in 1984, there has never been a year when less than 11 Ahmadis were killed.
Apart from this, numerous attempts have been made on the lives of Ahmadis by their opponents who felt encouraged by the jaundiced attitude of the authorities against Ahmadis.
The federal government maintained its posture as if in continual denial of the human rights and freedom of religion of Ahmadis. The provincial governments, particularly in the Punjab and Azad Kashmir openly supported the Mullas (Muslim fundamentalist leaders) in their anti-Ahmadiyya campaign.
The government of the Punjab sponsored and held an ‘end of the prophet hood conference’ at the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore on April 11, 2009. At the occasion they even burnt an effigy of the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya community. Clerics, one after another, unrestrainedly proposed the denial of religious freedom to Ahmadis and indulged in slander and abuse. The conference was paid for with public funds. The federal Minister of Religious Affairs also addressed the conference.
On July 1, 2009 Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of the Punjab province, presided over a meeting of high ranking clerics on the issue of terrorism. At the end of the conference a Declaration was issued and in its clause 2 the conference declared that
“Anyone who is guilty, directly or indirectly, openly or by implication, of even minor insolence to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is an infidel (Kafir), apostate (Murtad) and must be put to death (Wajib-ul-Qatl).”
They linked this statement in the text to the ‘end of prophethood’.
The declaration was given wide publicity through an advertisement campaign in the vernacular press.
The Central Police Office of Azad Kashmir issued an office circular dated March 5, 2009 on the subject of Suppression of Ahmadiyyat.
A prominent sectarian leader Pir Atiqur Rahman has been appointed Minister of Auqaf (Religious Trusts) of Azad Kashmir government.
In District Layyah of Punjab province, five Ahmadis including four school-going children were arrested on a fabricated charge of blasphemy. They suffered in prison for almost six months before they were released on bail.
Thirty two Ahmadis of Lathianwala, Punjab province, were accused of blasphemy in a single case on July 25, 2009 with FIR 486/09 at Police Station Khurarianwala, Punjab. The authorities took four months to drop the fabricated charge of blasphemy. A heavy police contingent raided their mosque and homes on August 10, 2009 and removed all religious and Arabic inscriptions on their walls. YouTube displayed the video of the outrage under title: Acts of Blasphemy by Pakistani Authorities.
Seventy-four Ahmadis were booked during the year under anti-Ahmadiyya and religious laws on spurious grounds. These laws carry penalties of death and long-term imprisonments.
A woman school teacher, Bushra Naheed was booked on March 5, 2009 under section PPC 295-A, which is section of law that deals with deliberate and malicious act to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting the religion or religious beliefs. The charge is triable in an anti-terrorist court, and it is punishable by ten years imprisonment. The lady was only accused of speaking harshly to a woman worker.
Ahmadiyya mosques continued to be targeted throughout the year. One mosque in Kalaswala, Punjab, was destroyed by miscreants while another was attacked by a grenade in Sialkot. Freedom of worship was denied to Ahmadis at Chiniot and Tatle Aali by police officials. A police party used chisels, cement and paint to remove all Arabic inscriptions from the Ahmadiyya mosque in Lathianwala, Punjab.
At Pir Mahal, District Toba Tek Singh Mullas agitated, attacked and defiled an Ahmadiyya graveyard in June 2009. The local authorities, rather than taking action against the clerics, proceeded to cancel the allotment order of the graveyard land to Ahmadis.
A Summary of the Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan
From January 1 – December 31, 2009
Ahmadis murdered for their faith
1. Mr. Saeed Ahmad was killed in Kotri on Jan 19, 09.
2. Mr. Mubashir Ahmad was shot dead on Feb 20, 09 in Karachi.
3. Mr. Shiraz Bajwa and his wife Noreen Bajwa both doctors were brutally murdered on Mar 14, 09 in Multan.
4. Mian Laiq Ahmad was killed in Faisalabad on May 29, 09.
5. Two Ahmadis, Mr. Khalid Rasheed and Mr. Zafar Iqbal were shot dead on Jun 24, 09 in Quetta.
6. Rana Ata-ul-Karim was murdered on Jul 06, 09 in Multan.
7. Mr. M. Ahmad Farooqi was shot dead on Sep 26, 09 in Uch Sharif,Bahawalpur.
8. Zulfiquar Mansur was murdered brutally on Sep 11, 09. He had been abducted a month earlier.
9. Rana Saleem Ahmad, the Deputy Amir of Jamaat Ahmadiyya Sanghar was shot dead on Nov 26, 09.
Ahmadis behind bars
1. Mr. Muhammad Iqbal was imprisoned for life in a fabricated case of blasphemy. He was arrested in March 2004, and is currently incarcerated in the Central Jail, Faisalabad. An appeal has been filed with the Lahore High Court against the decision of the Sessions Court. It is registered as Criminal Appeal No. 89/2005. He is now in the sixth year of his imprisonment.
2.Three Ahmadis; Mr. Basharat, Mr. Nasir Ahmad and Mr. Muhammad Idrees along with seven others of Chak Sikandar, Punjab province, were arrested in September 2003 on a false charge of murdering a cleric. The police, after due investigation found no evidence against the accused. Yet they faced a ‘complaint trial’ for a crime they did not commit. They are being held on death row at a prison in Jehlum, while their appeal lies with the Lahore High Court. They are now in the seventh year of their incarceration. Their appeal to the Lahore High Court is registered as Criminal Appeal No. 616/2005 dated 26 April 2005.
3. Dr. Muhammad Asghar was arrested on a fabricated charge of blasphemy in June 2008. The judge rejected his plea for bail. The police investigation found him innocent. Subsequently his plea for bail was rejected by the High Court – and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has directed his expeditious trial which is now in progress. It is learnt that his plea for bail has now been accepted by the Supreme Court, but he was still in prison on December 31.
Ahmadis who were made to face charges
1. Thirty-seven Ahmadis were wrongfully booked under the dreaded blasphemy laws.
2. Fifty-seven Ahmadis were charged under Ahmadi-specific laws.
3. Ms. Bushra Naheed, an Ahmadi school teacher was falsely charged under PPC 295-A, triable in Anti-terrorism court. She is accused only of speaking harshly to a woman worker.
4. An Ahmadiyya mosque was desecrated in Lathianwala; Kalima (Islamic Creed) and Islamic terminology written on the walls of the mosque as well as Ahmadis’ houses was covered with cement and paint by the police. A case was registered against 32 Ahmadis under 295-A, 295-C and 298-C, etc.
1. A murder attempt was made on Mr. Muhammad Iqbal Abid, an Ahmadi religious teacher on February 25, 2009 at Vehari.
2. An Ahmadi college lecturer, Mr. Mubashir Ahmad Tahir escaped death from murderers in Chakwal. He received serious injuries when they tried to behead him.
3. An Ahmadi lawyer Mr. Riasat Ali Bajwa was attacked on May 4, 2009.
4. Another Ahmadi Mr. Javed Ahmad escaped a murder attempt on August 12, 2009 in Kunri.
5. Mr. Luqman Ahmad Gondal s/o Mr. Nasir Ahmad Gondal (president of the local Ahmadiyya community) closely escaped an attempt on his life on September 12, 2009.
6. Mr. Muhammad Ayaz, 20-years old son of a former president of the district Ahmadiyya community became the target of an attack on his life on February 7, 2009.
7. Dr Pervaiz Zareef of Bhati Gate, Lahore closely escaped an attempt on his life on November 25, 2009.
Abduction of Ahmadis
1. Qamar Ahmad, an Ahmadi was abducted by two men in the vicinity of his home at about 21:30 on March 16, 2009. He was left unconscious on roadside.
2. Mr. Bashir Ahmad Advocate, President of the local Ahmadiyya community, Achini Payan, near Peshawar was abducted on April 1, 2009. He has not been recovered yet.
3. Mr. Rashid Karim, a well-known Ahmadi in Faisalabad, was abducted on May 9, 2009. He was released 5 months later after payment of heavy ransom.
4. Mr. Zulfiquar Mansur was abducted at Quetta in September 2009. A month later his dead body was recovered from roadside in city’s suburbs.
1. Four school-going children of 9th and 10th grade were falsely charged under PPC 295-C in Layyah; they remained incarcerated for about 6 months.
2. An Ahmadiyya mosque was attacked with a grenade in Sialkot.
3. A gang of religious extremists, comprising approximately 50 men attacked an Ahmadiyya mosque in the village of Kalaswala on October 27 and destroyed it.
4. All Ahmadi teachers were fired from Qurban High School in Lahore under the pressure of mullas.
5. Four rockets were launched against an Ahmadi-owned industrial plant in Feb 09.
6. Anti-Ahmadiyya Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Conference was held in the Royal Mosque, Lahore under the auspices of the provincial government in April 2009.
7. An Ahmadiyya graveyard was attacked and desecrated by rioters in Pir Mahal, Toba Tek Singh in June 09. Thereafter the authorities cancelled the land allotment order issued by them to Ahmadis 20 years ago.
8. Two Ahmadis were assaulted for their faith on August 7, 2009 in Nankana.
9. A Khatme Nabuwwat Conference was held in Rabwah by rabid mullas on 15, 16 October 2009. It is worth noting that Ahmadis, who are 95% of the Rabwah population, are not allowed to hold their gatherings and sports competitions in this town, while the authorities allow the fundamentalists to hold conferences in Rabwah, in which they use highly provocative language against Ahmadi residents of Rabwah.
10. SHO Police Station Chiniot City, ordered Ahmadis of Kot Muhammad Yar to stop their weekly Friday worship.
11. Ahmadis of Tatle Aali, District Gujranwala were forbidden by the local police to congregate for prayers.
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984. The above statement has only been forwarded by the AHRC.