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www.real-islam.org In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Ever Merciful In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Ever Merciful

 Report on The Situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan 

President Zia told the author,

“Ahmadis offend me because they consider themselves Muslim...Ordinance XX may violate human rights but I don't care.”

Dr. Karen Parker


REPORTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCIES: B

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Members of the Ahmadiyya community continued to face arrest and up to three years' imprisonment for calling themselves Muslim or using Muslim practices in worship...

cash receipt pad

...In Mardan, more than 15 Ahmadis were arrested and charged. They included two brothers..arrested because the cash receipt pad used in their shop was inscribed with a Muslim epithet, "In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful". They were sentenced to five years' imprisonment..

place of worship was demolished 

...On the morning of 17 August, the Muslim festival of Eid, over 100 Ahmadis who had gathered at the community's place of worship in Mardan were taken into police custody after which their place of worship was demolished by a group of local people. All were released late the same night, except for four prominent members of the community who were charged under Section 298. Similar arrests took place in Karachi, Quetta and other parts of the country. Those convicted were sentenced to between one and 10 years' imprisonment. While awaiting trial or appeal hearings, these prisoners were released on bail.

Amnesty International Report 1987

HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES: REPORT OF DR. KAREN PARKER

It is beyond dispute that Ordinance XX violates the freedom of religion of Ahmadis...

wedding invitation

Since the promulgation of Ordinance XX, Ahmadis in all areas have been subject to government persecution in the form of arrest and detention for acts such as wearing religious insignia (Kalima), and including a prayer on a wedding invitation...

"legitimate" grounds for violent retaliation

Additionally, the Government has arrested many people under other laws such as the West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (1960). These arrests clearly illustrate the Government's position that the mere presence of Ahmadis “acting like Muslims” would cause “real” Muslims to be “legitimately” offended and, more ominously, give them “legitimate” grounds for violent retaliation. The following sample cases clearly show the arbitrary nature of Ahmadi arrests and detention in contravention of human rights law.

kalima hurting feelings

Between April 26 and May 1, 1985, 13 Ahmadi leaders in Tharparker (Sind) were arrested under the West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance of 1960 and ordered to be held for 30 days. The orders and memorandum of grounds, issued by District Magistrate, Rasool Bakhsh Baloch, charges that the Ahmadis courted arrest by wearing the Kalima, “which is hurting the feelings of Muslims.”

Al-Fazal shut down

The Ahmadi daily newspaper Al-Fazal has been shut down since December 12, 1984 when the press was sealed (the District Magistrate's order to seal the press was not actually issued until January 23, 1985). Prior to the time the press was sealed, the newspaper had received notice of a need to submit Rs.30,000 as a surety, and had virtually all editions severely censured. Most issues simply received prohibition orders reading “entire contents”, with the explanation that the material is “likely to create or excite feelings of enmity, ill-will and hatred.”

According to the Daily Jang (Karachi), September 18, 1986, the Government of Pakistan has set up a committee to review all publications of Ahmadis...

The monthly publications of Ahmadi women and youth groups have also been banned. The monthlies Khalid, Ansarullah, Misbah, Tash-Hizul Azhan, and Review of Religions, have frequently been proscribed. Review of the orders banning these publications reveals claims that the publications are likely to offend Muslims.

In addition to periodicals, a number of books published by Ahmadis or descriptive of their faith have been banned, including four translations of the Quran... President Zia told the author, “Ahmadis offend me because they consider themselves Muslim... Ordinance XX may violate human rights but I don't care.

...the Ordinance also violates the right to liberty and the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

...the Ahmadi community has been subjected to egregious violations of freedom of expression and the press as well as freedom of assembly.

assalamo alaikum

A number of Ahmadis have been arrested for using the Muslim greeting assalamo alaikum, used by Pakistanis, non-Muslim and Muslim, for “hello”. One arrest occurred in Manshera on June 5, 1984, when a shopkeeper gave the greeting to passers-by. This person was convicted and given a six month prison sentence.

mosques attacked and defaced with government participation

Ahmadi mosques have been attacked and defaced, frequently with government participation...According to the May 9, 1986 order of Anwar Saleem Ahmad, the District Magistrate, there was "an agitated and violent crowd of over 700 people led by Ulema who were violently claiming possession of the...Ibadat-Gah (place of worship)." The order required the Ahmadis to turn over their mosque to the Government. None of the "violent crowd" was arrested. However, all 85 of the Ahmadis, who were at a prayer service at the time of the attack, were arrested. Four Ahmadis were injured, one seriously.

In mid-August 1986, the Ahmadi mosque in Mardan was attacked by a large mob, including police and the Assistant Commissioner. 90 Ahmadis who were at the mosque for Eid (a holy day) prayers were arrested. The mob spent from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. tearing down the mosque and burning books at the site. Maulana Azizur Rahman, International Spokesman for Majlis Tahaffuzz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, announced that an agreement with the Government had been reached.

The mosque will not be allowed to be rebuilt and the government will not take any action against those who demolished the mosque, including the members of the National and Provincial Assemblies who participated.

businesses defaced

... on May 4, 1984, the Ahmadi mosque in Gujrat was seized by a mob of 200 in the presence of police. The mosque was subsequently sealed by the government and then given to non-Ahmadi Muslims. Mosques in Nawabshah, Skrund and Moro have been sealed...as many as 100 mosques and many Ahmadi businesses have been defaced.

A tragic outcome of the concerted anti-Ahmadi campaign of the Government is that 12 Ahmadis have been murdered in recent years for sectarian reasons. Two murders occurred just after the author left Pakistan: Qamrul Haq and Khalid Suleman, were knifed and axed to death in Sukkur on May 11, 1986 (Mr. Haq's brother, a Sukkur attorney, had narrowly escaped death in January, 1985 in a similar attack).

Ahmadis have been denied employment or discharged or demoted from employment, dismissed form the military, and dismissed from schools.

Human Rights in Pakistan
Report of Dr. Karen Parker, Attorney at Law
Special Representative
Human Rights Advocates, Inc.
An organization with consultative status
(category II) at the United Nations
January, 1987

DR. KAREN PARKER

The speaker made a trip to Pakistan to personally investigate and most sadly reports that the situation was worse than expected.

aim to drive Ahmadis out of Pakistan

During our mission to Pakistan we were presented with the official court records of hundreds of cases involving Ahmadis, arrested or serving sentences for such activities as displaying the Kalema, saying "Assalam-o-Alaikum" or attending worship services. Leading pro-government Muslim clergy told the speaker that their aim is to drive the Ahmadis out of Pakistan, to arrest those who remain and to destroy or sieze Ahmadi religious property.

duty to eliminate heretics

He [General Zia -ss] also told the speaker that Ahmadis "personally offend him" and that it was "his duty to eliminate heretics". He conceded that Ordinance XX violated human rights but stated, he "didn't care".

Persecution of Ahmadis has recently escalated with the promulgation of the Defamation of the Prophet Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1986 which provides death for males and life-imprisonment for females who "defile the holy name of the Prophet Mohammad".

face death

... Information verified by us only yesterday indicates that Ahmadis are now being tried under this Act instead of under military ordinance XX. Thus Ahmadis face death or life imprisonment merely for such acts as displaying the kalema.

Dr. Karen Parker,
speaking for Human Rights Advocates, addressing the Sub-Commission on Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in its 39th Session, August 28, 1987.

ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

millions denied overnight their basic human rights

On 26th April, 1984, the then military dictator of Pakistan, who was aptly hailed by the Western press as a "Mullah in uniform", chose to take a highly questionable step in his efforts to exterminate the religious community of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan because he did not agree with some of their religious beliefs. Under a military decree, called Ordinance XX, millions of Ahmadi Muslims were denied literally overnight their basic human rights, and freedom of conscience and belief was denied to them in that they were forbidden under pain of imprisonment and heavy fines

a) to profess their faith
b) to practice their belief, and
c) to propogate their beleifs.

Ordinance XX was seen by human rights organisations all over the world as a glaring violation of the most fundamental human rights as cherished in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and as upheld by many other conventions.

third-class citizens

In the wake of Ordinance XX , basic human rights of Ahmadi Muslims were flouted not only in theory but with even greater vigour in practice. The government of General Zia employed the services of notorious mullahs with so-called fundamentalistic inclinations to prowl upon Ahmadi Muslims at their sweet will and get them prosecuted on baseless accusations. Ordinance XX had given the fanatics a licence and had practically declared the defenceless Ahmadi Muslims as a fair game. This made life, honour and property of each and every Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan insecure and at the mercy of their fanatic religious opponents. The concept and pattern of human rights suddenly changed in Pakistan. Ahmadi Muslims were degraded to the status of third-class citizens. In their homeland, their plight was worse than that of illegal immigrants. Hundreds of them are sitting in jails for the crime of professing their faith. Hundreds more are imprisoned because someone simply reported to the police that they had practised their beliefs. They have been put to torture in order to elicit false confessions. About 20 notable Ahmadi Muslims have been murdered in cold-blood and their murderers have not been apprehended. Their shops have been looted, houses burnt down and their places of worship defiled and sometimes set on fire.

Statement of the Anti-Slavery Society for the Protection of Human Rights to UN Sub-Commission on Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in its 39th Session, August 28, 1987.

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS

leading to total suppression

...during martial law ...(the Ahmadis)...began to be subjected to extensive restrictions on the manifestation of their faith. The ordinance by which these restrictions were imposed has proved to be the beginning of a series of measures, either instigated or tolerated by the government, which are having an extremely grave effect on the religious freedom of this sect and which seem to be leading to its total suppression.

...These restrictions have continued after the lifting of martial law and indeed have been extended. Moreover Ahmadis have experienced discrimination in employment and the denial of other civil and political rights and no action seems to have been taken to prevent physical attacks on themselves and their places of worship or to prosecute those responsible.

disenfranchised

...They were, therefore effectively disenfranchised and this position has survived the lifting of martial law ...

The effect of these additions to the Pakistan Penal Code...has been to impose stringent limitations on the religious freedom of the Ahmadis. Not only are they prevented from using many of the Islamic forms that have been part of their traditional religious practices, but they are also expected to repudiate a central tenet of their beliefs as a result of the prohibition on associating themselves or their faith in any way with Islam.

...it is scarcely possible to know in advance whether the section is being transgressed. This is particularly true of the prohibitions on posing, directly or indirectly, as a Muslim and on outraging `in any manner whatsoever' the religious feelings of Muslims, and the range of activities caught by them has indeed proved to be extensive.

... it appears sufficient... for an Ahmadi to be regarded as posing as a Muslim if he engages in any practice which other (non-Ahmadi) Muslims would carry out and it is irrelevant that it is part of his own religious observance. Moreover, insofar as the reference in s.298C to outraging the religious feelings of Muslims is a separate element in the offense, it seems always to be satisfied by the fact of engaging in the religious practice and evidence is not adduced of any disorder or any other signs of outrage.

This judgment [Mujeeb-ur-Rehman v. Federal Government of Pakistan, 1986 F.S.C. 1051, by the Federal Shariat Court] seeks to give the impression that the Ordinance's provisions, while imposing restrictions that are no more than necessary, do not involve any real interference with the freedom of Ahmadis to practice their religion or to worship in their places of worship according to its dictates.

...this is far from so; they have been prosecuted for offering prayers, for the rite of calling their followers to prayer and for using the Quran itself, to say nothing of having their translation of the Quran proscribed. The prohibitions

strike at the heart of the practice of the Ahmadiyya faith

...clearly strike at the heart of the practice of the Ahmadiyya faith and the Court itself explained why this must be so; the ordinance was said to be necessary because the Ahmadis would not deny that in which they believe, namely, that their faith is part of the broad spectrum of Islam.

The other justification for taking these particular measures against one of an estimated 150 sects in Islam was concern to maintain law and order...However, the Court's explanation as to why there is any threat is solely in terms of the outrage, resentment and hostility which non-Ahmadi Muslims are said to feel towards Ahmadis practicing their faith; there was certainly no suggestion by the Court that the Ahmadis were themselves seeking to instigate disorder. It is not clear, therefore, why the State should be justified in backing the refusal of some Muslims to tolerate the religious practices of others anymore than it would be in supporting an assailant against his victim.

...the claim that public order considerations lie behind the restrictions...does not rest easily with the way in which the government itself appears to encourage the resentment felt by some Muslims towards Ahmadis...many members of the government have been reported as making speeches which are extremely hostile...

...For example President Zia, in a message to the International Khatm-e-Nabuwaat conference in London (August 1985) referred to the measures taken against Ahmadis and said "We will, Insha'Allah, persevere in our effort to ensure that the cancer of Qadianism is exterminated"; Mr. Ghulam Dastgir, Federal Minister for Labour was reported in the Daily Wifaq (20 May 1984) as saying "Qadianis should recognize their minority status and end their conspiracies against Islam"; and Mr. Malik Khuda Bukksh Tiwana, provincial Minister for Auqaaf was reported in Mashraq (28 February 1986) as saying that life for Qadianis in Pakistan would be made impossible and the Ulema were urged 'to guide the Government for the eradication of this issue".

ignoring unprovoked attacks

...the government appears to be either ignoring unprovoked attacks on Ahmadi places of worship or allowing public order to be used as a pretext for stopping acts of worship.

...A number of Ahmadi mosques have also been sealed up on the instructions of local officials.

...It is scarcely credible that it is not possible for the police to guarantee the members of a religious group to worship in their own mosque but there seems to be no intention of trying to do so.

lose their jobs

...Ahmadis are also being denied other civil and political rights...Ahmadis appeared to lose their jobs or were denied promotion because of their faith...some provincial officials have indicated to employers that Ahmadis should not hold `key' positions and they have been removed as a result....in May 1986 the Federal Government received updated lists from the provincial governments of all the Ahmadis who hold `key' government posts following the demand of the Majlis-e-Khatme Nabuwaat that they be removed from their posts and a committee was established by the North West Frontier Provincial Assembly on 3 July 1986 to look into the appointment of Ahmadis to high posts in the province.

...There has also been the repeated refusal to allow Ahmadis to hold the annual meeting of their faith at its headquarters in Rabwah. It is claimed that this refusal is for public order reasons even though the overwhelming majority of the people living there are Ahmadis and most of the land is theirs. Moreover, non- Ahmadi Muslims have been allowed to hold meetings there.

exhumation and reburial

...A final indignity has been the redesignation of where Ahmadis can be buried and the exhumation and reburial of those already interred...

freedom for a religion not their own

...The Ahmadis have suffered a relentless decline in their religious freedom ever since measures began to be taken during martial law in pursuance of the 1974 amendment to the Constitution that re-classified them as non-Muslims. Although they are assured by the government that their religious freedoms will be respected, this is only on the basis that they cease to perform essential rites of the religion and no longer worship in buildings designed and decorated to reflect their belief in the Quran. In effect, therefore, the religious freedom they are offered is for a religion not their own.

...Moreover, while there are public order concerns arising out of the hostility of some Muslims to Ahmadis, these are not instigated by the Ahmadis. On the contrary, they are suffering from violence to both their person and their places of worship with no serious attempts being made to afford them protection...Ahmadis appear to be suffering extensive discrimination on account of their faith...the recognition of Islam as the state religion and the maintenance of public order do not require the persecution which the Ahmadis are currently enduring.

From Chapter VIII of the report:
PAKISTAN: Human Rights After Martial Law
International Commission of Jurists
P.O. Box 120,
CH-1224 Chene-Bougeries/Geneva, Switzerland.


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