REPORTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCIES: E
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL prison terms for peaceful exercise of religious beliefs
Members of the Ahmadiyya community were sentenced to prison terms solely for the peaceful exercise of religious beliefs.
In July an Ahmadi place of worship in Sambrial was raided. Six Ahmadis were charged with writing Islamic expressions of faith on the building's walls. They stated that the writings, painted over by police in 1986, had been exposed by recent heavy rains.
In October parliament adopted an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), already introduced by ordinance in July, increasing the maximum punishment for "offending anyone's religious feelings" from two to 10 years. Ahmadis have been frequently tried and sentenced for this offense.
Amnesty International Report 1992
U.N. Special Rapporteur
48. In a communication of 30 October 1992 addressed to the Government of Pakistan, the following information was transmitted by the Special Rapporteur:
It is feared that the amendment to Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code concerning the offence of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammad (Gustakh-e-Rasool) may be particularly prejudicial to Pakistani citizens belonging to the Ahmadi faith who are estimated to number 3 to 4 million. Since reference by Ahmadis to the Prophet Mohammad is considered by orthodox Muslims as blasphemy, the amendment mentioned above would make the death penalty the mandatory punishment for the peaceful exercise of their religious beliefs, although it applies to anyone showing disrespect to the Prophet.
Ahmadis were declared a non-Muslim minority by an amendment to the Constitution introduced in 1974. Large-scale agitation against Ahmadis has already led to bloodshed in 1953 and 1974.
In 1984, Ordinance XX introduced Sections 298B and 298C into the Pakistan Penal Code which, referring specifically to Ahmadis, prohibited them from calling themselves Muslims and using Muslim practices in worship or in the propagation of their faith. The infringement of these laws was punished with a term of imprisonment of up to three years and the payment of a fine. In 1991, Ordinance XXI which was promulgated on 7 July amended Section 295A of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to increase the maximum punishment for outraging the religious feelings of any group from 2 years to 10 years of imprisonment. Although the majority of Ahmadis who were charged and convicted under the Sections 298B and C and 295A were released on bail, they have sometimes had to wait for periods extending from several months to several years before being brought to trial.
Ahmadis are reportedly accused of committing the following offences when they are prosecuted under Section 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code: offering daily prayers, the use of Kalima Tayyaba, Azan, preaching, using Muslim epithets and verses and 'posing as Muslims'. Ahmadis are alleged to have been charged of 'posing as Muslims' also under Section 295C which now carries the death penalty. Some of the following acts are alleged to be considered as 'posing' if carried out by Ahmadis:
Using the greeting 'Asslam-o-Alaikum';
Writing 'Assalam-o-Alaikum' and 'Inshallah' on invitation cards for inaugural ceremonies or the opening of a shop;
Writing 'Bismillah' on wedding invitation cards or on the face of a shop;
Displaying a verse from the Koran on a neon sign or a calendar with Koranic verses;
Reciting the Koran out loud;
Offering 'Janaza' prayers;
Writing 'Kalima' on a tombstone.
It has been reported that a number of Ahmadi mosques have been desecrated, sealed, damaged or completely destroyed or burnt without the prosecution of those who were responsible for such acts. Ahmadis are said to be denied burial in common cemeteries and their bodies have allegedly been exhumed from their graves. In addition, prominent Ahmadis have allegedly been harassed and on occasion fire was set to their homes. Ordinance XX has reportedly been invoked to have 'Kalima' stickers removed from vehicles and its inscription erased from walls. Ahmadis are said to have been denied the use of loudspeakers at their religious gatherings. It has also been alleged that mullah Manzoor Chinioti had urged the audience at a public gathering in Sukheki, Gujranwala, to start the Jihad (holy war) against Ahmadis since they were apostates and as such deserved the death penalty. The same clergyman is also said to have announced plans to eradicate Ahmadis from the city of Bhakkar. It has further been alleged that Mr. Maqbool Elahi MaLik, the Advocate General of Punjab, had stated that an Ahmadi imparting religious education to his children would be liable to capital punishment as this would amount to religious propaganda aiming to make the children apostates.
The following specific incidents involving Ahmadis have been brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur:
Abdul Shakoor, the owner of 'Shakoor Opticians Rabwah' store in Sargodha whose case was mentioned by the Special Rapporteur in his report (E/CN.4/1991/56), had been arrested on 11 March 1990 for wearing a ring with verses from the Koran. On 27 July 1991, Mr. Shakoor is said to have been sentenced by Mr. Ejaz Hussain Baloch, Magistuate Ist Class in Sargodha, to three years' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 rupees.
On 14 June 1991, the authorities of Khando, Larkana district, did not allow an old Ahmadi woman's body to be buried in the cemetery of that locality. Relatives who came to attend the funeral and who were ultimately obliged to bury her in the courtyard of the Ahmadi mosque, are said to have been subjected to intimidation by opponents of their faith.
Rana Karamatullah, an elderly farmer and businessman from Abbotabad, North-West Frontier Province, was among a group of 55 Ahmadis who are alleged to have met on 12 January 1990 for a prayer meeting in a private household. Khatme Nabuwat Youth Force, a local Islamic group, is said to have informed the Deputy Commissioner of Police of the meeting and the following day cases were registered against 12 of the participants for offering prayers and citing from the Holy Koran under Section 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code. They were allegedly also accused under Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance and Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code for disturbing law and order despite the peaceful nature of the meeting. Mr. Karamatullah, who had been subjected to repeated arrests since 1984, was among the 12 persons against whom cases had been registered. On 30 June 1991, Mr. Karamatullah reportedly died in a car accident together with nine other persons, allegedly in suspicious circumstances.
On 9 July 1991, the police, acting on a complaint filed by the local mullah (Muslim clergyman), Salman Munir, allegedly raided an Ahmadi place of worship in Sambrial, Sialkot district, and charged the following six Ahmadis, including the president of the local community, under Sections 295A and 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code for having written Kalima on the walls, thereby hurting the feelings of Muslims: Mr. Syed Harrnid-ul-Hasean Shah, Mr. Mahmud Ahmad, Mr. Malik Inayat-ullah, Mr. Khwaja Muharamad Amin, Mn Malik Nisan Ahmad and Mr. Muhammad Youaaf. The men reportedly answered that the inscription had been painted over by the police in 1986 but that heavy rains had taken off the whitewash and made it visible.
On 29 August 1991, the body of Mr. Mubasher Ahmad Qadiani was ordered exhumed and removed from the Muslim cemetery in Bahawalhagar by the District Magistrate.
On 29 October 1991, Mr. Habibullah, a social security officer from Shahdara town, Lahore, was accused of blasphemy by an opponent of the Ahmadi faith, immediately arrested and charged under Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code which carries the death penalty. Mr. Habibullah was reportedly denied release on bail on 25 March 1992.
On 5 December 1991 and on 30 January 1992, the president of the Ahmadi community in Dera Ghazi Khan, Mr. Khan Mohammad, and Mr. Rafiq Ahmad Naeem were arrested and charged under Sections 295 B and C for translating the Koran into the Surayeke language. Both reportedly remain in detention.
On 9 January 1992, Mr. Chaudhry Munawar Ahmad, president of the Ahmadi community in Jaranwala, Laiealabad district, and Mr. Rafiq Ahmad, vice-president of the community, were arrested and charged with writing the Kalima Tayyaba (Islamic creed) and calling the Azan (call to prayer).
On 25 January 1992, Dr. Javaid Akhtar, a medical doctor from Mari Allah Bachaya village, Bahawalpur, was transferred to Rulianpur after two clergymen had accused him of preaching the Ahmadi faith.
Mr. Abdul Latif Momin from the town of Bhakkar and his son, Abdul Qadeer, were charged under Section 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code on 19 October 1991 for identifying themselves as Muslims on a college admission form. They were reportedly each fined with 500 rupees. This fine was allegedly increased to 600 rupees when an adversary of theirs appealed the 500 rupee fine. The verdict was only given in January 1992.
On 9 February 1992, an announcement reportedly appeared in the 'Jang' daily newspaper in Lahore inviting applications for admission in a four-year nursing course for girls at the General Nursing School in Sheikhupura. One of the conditions for the candidates' applying for the course was that; they should make a written statement that they do not belong to the Ahmadi faith.
The local clergymen in village chak 35 North in Sargodha district reportedly filed a complaint against Mr. Malik Khuda Yar, the president of the village Ahmadi community, Mr. Malik Muhammad Ashraf, Mr. Malik Abdul Aziz and Mr. Malik Abdul Ghafoor after reportedly having heard that they intended to build an Ahmadi place of worship, A number of non-Ahmadi villagers and the village headman stated in court that they had no objections regarding such a building. Although no action had been undertaken to start construction, the four persons mentioned above were nevertheless each sentenced on 25 February 1992 to two years' imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 rupees.
On 9 March 1992, two brothers from Mansehra who belong to the Ahmadi faith, Mr. Taj Muhammad and Mr. Mubarak Ahmad, were reportedly charged under Sections 298C and 506/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code for stating that they were Muslims. Mr. Taj Muhammad is said to have been arrested and his release on bail denied. On 31 march 1992, a case was reportedly registered under Section 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code in Kotri, Sind, against Mr. Naeir Ahmad Baluch, Mr. Mubashir Ahmad Gondal and Mr. Ghulam Sari Saif who were accused of propagating the Ahmadi faith.
On 3 April 1992, about a dozen persons reportedly raided the house of Mr. Nasir Ahmad Baluch in Kotri, Sind, and threatened the women and children residing there. They are reported to have encircled the house until 5 a.m. the following morning.
On 3 April 1992, a police squad led by the local magistrate reportedly raided an Ahmadi place of worship in Kotri, Sind, and arrested all the persons gathered there, including two young boys, Ferhan and Mehtab, Some of those arrested were reportedly beaten at the police station, Houses of Ahmadis were reportedly raided subsequently and charges were reportedly brought against 20 persons under Section 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code. A number of persons were allegedly also charged under Section 295C which carries the death penalty. All the imprisoned persons were subsequently also charged by the police for breach of peace under Sections 103/117 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
On 4 April 1992, Mr. Hafiz Muzaffar Ahmad was arrested in Rabwah for inviting Ahmadis to fast during the month of Ramadan. He was reportedly charged under Section 2981 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
On 23 April 1992, 12 Ahmadis from Basti Rindan village, Dera Ghazi Khan district, were reportedly charged under Sections 295 and 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 16 MPO for offering prayers.
On 16 May 1992, Mr. Nasir Ahmad and 12 other Ahmadis from Nankana were reportedly charged under Sections 295A and 298C for writing the inscription 'Bismillah-ir-Rahman-i-Raheem, Nahmaduhu wa Nusalle Ala Rasool-i-hil Karrem' on a wedding invitation. Mr. Nasir Ahmad and Mr. Babarwere reportedly arrested on this occasion.
On 19 May 1992, charges under Section 16 MPO were reportedly brought in Jhang against the publisher and printer of the Ahmadi monthly Khalid publication for the use of Islamic terms in their publication.
On 29 May 1992, similar charges under Section 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code were brought by the District Magistrate of Jhang against the editors, publishers and printers of the Ahmadi publications Ansarullah, Khalid, Misbah and Tasheez-ul-Azhan.
Mr. Muhammad Manzoor, a student of health education from Mirpur Azad Kashmir reportedly indicated that students had decided to organize a social boycott against him because he belonged to the Ahmadi faith. He is said to have been told that he was not clean and that he would not be allowed to use the cutlery at the school cafeteria but had to bring his own if he wished to eat there."
81. The Special Rapporteur has also been preoccupied by the recent modification of the Pakistan Penal Code which under section 295C stipulates that the application of the death penalty is now mandatory for persons who have been convicted of defiling the name of the holy Prophet. In the case of certain religious minorities, this offence may reportedly be invoked for the mere peaceful expression of their religious beliefs. An additional disquieting development in Pakistan has been the mandatory mention of religion on identity cards as of 13 October 1992 which is feared to entail an increase in discrimination against members of minority religions.
1992 U.N. Special Rapporteur Report (E/CN.4/1993/62)
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF INTOLERANCE AND OF DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RELIGION OR BELIEF
report submitted by Mr. Angelo Vidal d'Almeida Ribeiro, Special Rapporteur appointed in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1986/20 of 10 March 1986
Members of the Ahmadiyya community continued to be imprisoned solely for the exercise of their religious faith.
In November 10 Ahmadis of Chak village in Faisalabad district were sentenced to three-year prison sentences for having distributed invitations to a prayer meeting; on of them, Mohammed Ali was given an additional three-year prison sentence for having made a call to prayer.
Ahmadis were increasingly tried on blasphemy charges, both individually and in groups, but none of the cases had been completed by the end of 1992.
In March, 20 members of the Ahmadiyya community in Kotri were arrested during the Friday prayer and charged with blasphemy and with propagating their faith. They were released on bail after two weeks.
Amnesty International Report 1993
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: OPEN LETTER TO THE POLITICAL PARTIES
Political prisoners and members of religious minorities like the Christian and Ahmadiyya community continue to be detained in Pakistan for the peaceful exercise of their political activities or religious beliefs.
DR. KAREN PARKER
footnotes in original given in square brackets - SS
On July 3, 1993, the Supreme Court of Pakistan decided Mujib-ur-Rehman Dard v. Pakistan (the Ahmadi case)...the Court refused to find Ordinance XX of 1984, which severely penalizes Ahmadi Muslims for holding their religious beliefs and practicing their religion in violation of either Pakistan's Constitution or international human rights law...five criminal defendants... were returned to jail for the remainder of their sentences imposed for wearing a religious badge containing the Kalima Tayyaba. [The Kalima Tayyaba, a pronouncement of faith in Allah and Muhammad as His messenger is cardinal to Muslims.]
ORDINANCE XX VIOLATES FREEDOM OF RELIGION ON INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
... Ordinance XX adds two new sections to the Pakistan Penal Code and provides prison terms of up to three years and unlimited fines for any member of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam...who uses certain words of address, who calls his or her place of worship a masjid (mosque), or who recites the azan ... "as used by Muslims"..."poses himself as a Muslim" ... refers to his or her faith as Islam, ... preaches or propagates his or her faith or by "visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims."...
Under international standards, freedom of religion is considered a non-derogable right. [International Covenant, article 4. "The freedom to hold religious beliefs and opinions is absolute." Braunfeld v. Brown, 366 U.S. 599 (1961)] International human rights standards also protect religious groups from advocacy of "hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence." [International Covenant, Article 20]
The three international instruments safeguarding religious freedoms all provide for some limitations on the right to manifest a belief...when "necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others" [Religious Declaration, Article 1....] Limitations may not be imposed in order to provide a theological preference limiting rights of one group over another...
It is patently obvious that Ordinance XX violates these international standards because it penalizes Ahmadi Muslims for believing they are Muslim and for worshiping and assembling as they wish...It denies to them even the language and terminology of their religion...it clearly subjects Ahmadi Muslims to persecution...
... Ordinance XX has already been denounced by the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities as a violation of human rights...
In adopting its resolution 1985/21, the UN Sub-Commission had clearly rejected justifications presented by the government of Pakistan ... The real gravamen of the Pakistani position at that time was that Ahmadis offend because Ahmadis consider themselves Muslim, which of course, they have the right to do under international standards. In defending Ordinance XX, then President General Zia-ul-Haq told this author "Ahmadis offend me because they consider themselves Muslim ... Ordinance XX may violate human rights but I don't care." [Author's interview with General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, in Rawalpindi at Army House (May 5, 1986)]
Laws and acts that discriminate ... are themselves instigators of religious-based violence. As stated Mrs. Elizabeth Odio Benito in her Study of the Current Dimensions of the Problems of Intolerance and of Discrimination on Grounds of Religion and Belief, [U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1987/26.] intolerance ... can lead to "stirring up of hatred against or persecution of individuals or groups of a different religion." ... and identifies Pakistan's treatment of Ahmadi Muslims ... as one example of government action arising from prejudice and bigotry that had given rise to outright hatred, persecution, and repression.
THE AHMADI CASE
Pakistan's Constitution protects the right ... to "profess, practice and propagate religion" [Const. Pakistan, Art. 20 (a).] and the right of religious groups "to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions." [Id., Art. 20 (b). Article 20 contains a limitation provision similar to provisions in the international instruments.] ... many hoped that the Supreme Court would restore basic rights of Ahmadi Muslims by finding Ordinance XX unconstitutional in light of Article 20 of the Constitution.
The majority ... issued a ruling that is far outside acceptable bounds and sullies the judicial history of Pakistan. This majority chose to ignore the Pakistani Constitution as well as international human rights law standards of freedom of religion and to instead deliberate on whether or not the Ahmadi Muslims were theologically Muslim ... According to the majority analysis, Ahmadis are only entitled to their religious belief that they are Muslim and the practices they carry out in their belief that they are Muslim if theologically correct. If not ... the Ahmadis' right to believe themselves Muslim may be curtailed and their right to live as a Muslim may be prohibited. The bulk of the majority case ... was devoted to showing that Ahmadi Muslims are not theologically correct...
The majority then provides a series of decisions from other jurisdictions on ... limitations to religious practices ... Not one of these decisions... addresses the types of limitations and criminalization of religious beliefs found in Ordinance XX and cannot be properly cited to defend such limitations. Indeed, if these cases were correctly read, they would all support a finding that Ordinance XX, by criminalizing prayer, religious terminology and the inherently benign practice at issue in this case (wearing the Kalima Tayyaba), clearly provides for unacceptable limitations ...
More distressing than the impossibly flawed reasoning, however, is the ominous ridicule of Ahmadi beliefs and individual Ahmadis in the opinion. The majority overtly demonstrates intolerance and hatred ... The majority... denigrates Ahmadi Muslims by referring to them as "hyper-sensitive".
... the majority also seriously confuses the issue of freedom of religious expression and national regulation of commercial speech ... The Court cites a number of provisions in foreign jurisdictions allowing restrictions on commercial speech and protection of certain words and phrases through application of copyright law ... restrictions on commercial speech are used ... to defend restriction on religious terminology ...
No jurisdiction cited ... treats restriction on commercial speech in the same way as restrictions relating to freedom of religion. None of these jurisdictions ... would allow the restrictions ... allowed by Ordinance XX. Citing these ... limitations appears to be an attempt ... to appear learned. The result is the opposite -- the justices have regrettably but severely jeopardized their credibility in a way that would be comic if the potential outcome in Pakistan were not so tragic.
Further comment on this decision is pointless -- the majority approach is so irreparably flawed that it contradicts the whole notion of religious freedom ... under international human rights law Ahmadi Muslims have the right to believe and practice as they do ... the Pakistan Constitution can clearly be construed to conform with this international mandate ... There is simply no excuse for this legal atrocity.
... The author is not unaware of ... the serious difficulties facing the government as it seeks to preserve the unity of Pakistan ... The Sikri group, the Deobandi group and Shi'a Muslims are but a few of other Muslim groups who have face vehement hatred from other Muslims. Sikh, Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and Buddhist groups have also faced hatred and discrimination. Pakistan has suffered from ethnic animosity as well. All of these hatreds are fueled by official actions such as those directed against the Ahmadi Muslims, and can not but serve to further tear apart the social cohesion necessary to maintain national unity.
RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN PAKISTAN:
HUMANITARIAN LAW PROJECT
LAWYER's COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: CRITIQUE OF US STATE DEPARTMENT 1993 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT FOR PAKISTAN
... The report is particularly strong in discussing the fall elections which, while described as "free and fair," actually were closed to religious minorities, to persons living in certain outlying areas and, effectively, to most women.
The report provides a generally accurate account of other human rights problems in Pakistan. Its discussions of the Pakistani legal system and of the widespread abuse of women are especially strong. In several areas, however, the report fails to discuss significant aspects of important human rights problems. This is especially true of the discussions of police violence and of the various manifestations of religious and sectarian intolerance.
The report fails to discuss certain troubling provisions of the blasphemy laws. First, the offense of blasphemy is classified as "non-bailable" and detainees must remain in custody until brought to trial, which may take a year or more. Second, the report fails to describe how the vagueness of the blasphemy laws allows broad discretion to the charging party. Beginning in 1980, intent requirements for blasphemy laws were dropped. Section 295 now provides that "imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly" is considered sufficient to prove a charge of blasphemy.
The report accurately describes the July Supreme Court decision against the Ahmadiyya Movement, or Ahmadis, upholding the Constitutionality of Ordinance XX, which imposes severe criminal penalities on the Ahmadis for the practice of their faith. However, it omits an important part of the majority opinion. In that opinion, the Court endorsed the view allegedly held by the majority Muslim community that the Ahmadi movement is "a permanent threat to [Muslim] integrity and solidarity." The Court also excused violence against Ahmadis and thereby held the Ahmadis responsible for violent attacks on their person. The report rightly mentions continued attacks and harassment against Christians and Ahmadis. It does not, however, adequately describe the extent of anti-Ahmadi actions by the government. In addition to the arrests of Ahmadis during 1993, actions were taken against the Ahmadi periodicals Misbah, Ansarullah and Al-Fazl under section 298-C. Personal attacks against Ahmadis were also more frequent and systematic than the report suggests. In May, lawyer Riaz Qamar, head of the Ahmadiyya community of Haroonabad, Bahawalnagar, was attacked in the middle of the night at his home.
Also, an anti-Ahmadiyya wave swept Lahore's University of Engineering and Technology and Allama Iqbal Medical College towards the end of the year. Groups of students beat up two boys and a girl student and campaigned for the expulsion of Ahmadi students and the dismissal of Ahmadi teachers.
In addition, the report does not discuss the intensified campaign to declare the Zikris non-Muslims. A bill to that effect was moved in the National Assembly in January and was referred to a standing committee. In Balochistan, where the Zikris are concentrated, there were attacks on Zikri houses and places of worship. The principal campaigner against the Zikris was the Jamiat-i-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). In April, a case was filed in the Lahore High Court asking that Zikris, Bahais, Ismailis and Ahmadis be declared foreign agents and enemies of Islam.
The report should have described the violence and serious threats faced by other journalists. ... The Frontier Post was a frequent target of threats, both for reporting on the activities of sectarian groups and for criticizing the harassment and maltreatment of Ahmadi students and university teachers.
As it did last year, the 1993 report fails to take a position on several important issues. ... The report also should have criticized the disenfranchisement of religious minorities through at-large elections rather than simply attribute complaints to the aggrieved minorities....
Excerpts taken from the LCHR critique of the US State Dept. 1993 Report on human rights in Pakistan as found at gopher://gopher.igc.apc.org:5000/00/int/lchr/asia/papers/9.
DOCUMENTATION, INFORMATION AND RESEARCH BRANCH IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE BOARD
... Discriminatory laws, notably sections 298(b) and (c) (Ordinance XX) and 295(c) (blasphemy) ... are still in force and Ahmadis continue to be affected by them ... Ahmadis are forbidden to use epithets reserved for the saints of Islam or to use the word Azan for their call to prayer or the word Masjid for their places of worship ... (p1)
These laws appear to nourish a climate of religious sectarianism ... Pakistani authorities reportedly remain passive and sometimes appear to be implicated in the ill-treatment of Ahmadis. (p1)
In August 1991, the Pakistani Parliament passed an amendment to section 295(c) ... making the death penalty the only sentence for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. Many Ahmadis have been and continue to be charged and imprisoned under sections 298(b) and (c) and 295(c) ... (p1)
... In July 1993 the Supreme Court ruled that Ordinance XX was "well-founded"... As for the resolution on the protection of the places of worship of religious minorities, it would appear that any action is still at the planning stage (Embassy of Pakistan 22 Sept. 1993). (p3)
According to human rights groups and observers of the Pakistani situation, Ahmadis and other religious minorities continue to suffer discrimination, intimidation and harassment, often for political or personal motives, and the Pakistani authorities continue to turn a blind eye and confirm laws which sustain a climate of injustice .. The HRCP also reports some forty cases of assault and murder of members of the Ahmadi community in 1992 (HRCP 1993, 46). (p4)
Most charges against Ahmadis in 1992 and 1993 were laid under sections 298(b) and (c) and 295(c) ... According to the HRCP's 1992 annual report, over 150 complaints against members of the Ahmadi community were lodged under these sections in 1992. The related jail sentences handed down by Pakistani courts have ranged from a few months to two years or more (HRCP 1993, 46)... (p4-5)
... charges were laid against a number of Ahmadi publishers and printers in 1992 and publications were confiscated (HRCP 1993, 32, 46) ... (p5)
The U.S. State Department reiterates in its 1992 report that Ahmadis have little chance of attaining positions of responsibility in the civil service... according to the HRCP, some thirty Ahmadi civil servants were fired in 1992 (HRCP 1993, 46). Similarly, young Ahmadis are encountering increasing difficulty in gaining admission to recognized institutions of higher education... (Country Reports 1992 1993, 1171). The U.S. State Department also reports that in March 1992, an educational institution in Lahore in the Punjab issued a public notice that requiring all applicants to a nursing program to attest in writing that they were not Ahmadis (ibid., 1168) .. (p6)
In 1992, the police continued to close down Ahmadi places of worship (Country Reports 1992, 1993, 1167). Some mosques were attacked; others under construction were subjected to prohibitions and remained unfinished; in some cases graves were desecrated and cemeteries were prohibited by the authorities (HRCP 1993, 46) ... (p6)
... Ahmadis were arrested, sometimes charged and even imprisoned for practicing their faith (Country Reports 1992, 1993, 1167; Amnesty International 1992, 229). The U.S. State Department reports that in early 1992, during a religious event in Kotri in Sindh Province, Ahmadis were arrested while saying their prayers and taken to the police station, where some were allegedly beaten (Country Reports 1992, 1993, 1167). Two weeks later, they were released on bail to await trial on charges of blasphemy (Amnesty International 1992, 229-30). (p6-7)
... According to the HRCP, the Pakistani government encouraged Khatme Nubuwwat's activities during the events leading up to the Nankana Sahib riots, notably by entrusting the organization with maintaining order in what was supposed to be simply a demonstration (1989, 9-12). In January 1990, in North-West Frontier Province, members of the fundamentalist organization's youth wing reported a group of young Ahmadis who had congregated to pray. Five of the Ahmadi youths were arrested and then held in custody for over three months before being released (Amnesty International Sept. 1991, 6). Asia Watch also reports that the Amir of the Khatme Nubuwwat mosque in Dera Ghazi Khan filed charges with the district magistrate against two Ahmadi professors who had published, in London, a translation of the Koran in seraiki, a local language (News from Asia Watch 19 Sept. 1993, 19; HRCP 1993, 46). The two men were accused of having blasphemed the Koran and the Prophet and were brought to trial for having breached sections 295(a), 295(b) and 295(c) (ibid).... (p9)
... The HRCP also reports the case of an Ahmadi in Abbotabad who is said to have been kidnapped and tortured by members of the extremist group's youth wing in November 1992, and then jailed on false charges (Slogan Jan. 1993, 29). (p9.)
According to Hina Jilani, a High Court lawyer and member of AGHS Associates Legal Aid Cell in Lahore, the legal authorities tend to side with the "aggressors" when the injury has been committed in the name of the principles upheld by religious fundamentalists ... (p12)
DOCUMENTATION, INFORMATION AND RESEARCH BRANCH IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE BOARD
QUESTION AND ANSWER SERIES
AHMADIS IN PAKISTAN: UPDATE DECEMBER 1991 TO OCTOBER 1993
In January and February 1994, charges of blasphemy were brought against five journalists of the Ahmadiyya community; they were arrested on 7 February 1994 and held in Chiniot, Punjab province, till 7 March 1994. On 7 March they were released on bail ... If convicted, the five men would be sentenced to death. The death penalty is the mandatory punishment for blasphemy.
Amnesty International believes that these men were prisoners of conscience ...
Over the years, various complaints have been brought against publications of the Ahmadiyya community under sections 295 to 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), all of which relate to religious offenses ... So far, 34 complaints have been registered against the daily "Al Fazl", 19 against the monthly "Ansarullah", 8 against the women's monthly "Misbah", 11 against the youth monthly "Khalid", 5 against the children's monthly "Tashizul Azhan" and 5 against the fortnightly publication "Tehrike Jadid".
... complaints were registered on 15 January 1994 under section 298-C, PPC by the Deputy Commissioner of Jhang, Punjab province, against five journalists, viz. Noor Muhammad Saifi, aged 77, editor of the daily "Al Fazl", its publisher Agha Saifullah and its printer Qazi Munir Ahmed and the editors of the monthly "Ansarullah", Mirza Mohammad Din Naz and Mohammad Ibrahim ...
On 21 January 1994, two more complaints under section 298-C and on 15 February for more such charges were filed against editor, publisher and printer of "Al Fazl". In all cases, the Deputy Commissioner of Jhang, Punjab province was the complainant.
On 7 February the judge in the sessions court in Chiniot not only rejected the application for bail of the five men but added charges of blasphemy under section 295-C, punishable with death ... Judging by other similar cases known to Amnesty International the completion of the preliminary police inquiry, the submission of the police report and the trial may take years, during which time the five journalists must live with the possibility of being sentenced to death.
Amnesty International has repeatedly raised its concerns about the violations of human rights of Ahmadis with the Government of Pakistan ..
... under the increasingly stringent legislation ... members of the Ahmadiyya community can be imprisoned and even sentenced to death solely for the exercise of their right to freedom of expression and their right to freedom of religion, including the right to express their religious beliefs.
Amnesty International calls on the Government of Pakistan to:
- drop the charges against the five Ahmadi journalists arrested on 7 February 1994 as they violate their right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion;
- ensure that no other Ahmadis are charged, tried and convicted for the peaceful expression of their religious beliefs;
- declare a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty imposed under Article 295-C and take steps to abolish the death penalty for this offense;
- repeal all laws affecting the freedom of religion such as the freedom to profess, practice and propagate beliefs and the freedom of expression;
- and implement international standards such as the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based in Religion and Belief.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE
...Religious zealots continued to discriminate against and persecute non-Muslims, basing their activities in part on discriminatory legislation against religious minorities. The Government did little to curb these activities...
... religious legislation has encouraged an atmosphere of religious intolerance which has led to acts of violence directed at Ahmadis and Christians...
A 1974 constitutional amendment declared Ahmadis to be a non-Muslim minority because they do not accept Muhammad as the last prophet of Islam. The Ahmadis, however, look on themselves as Muslims, for whom many Muslim practices are an important feature of their religion. In 1984 the Government inserted Section 298(c) into the Pakistan Penal Code which made it illegal for an Ahmadi to call himself a Muslim and banned Ahmadis from using Muslim terminology. The punishment is up to 3 years' imprisonment and a fine. Section 298(c) has been used since 1984 to harass Ahmadis. According to an Ahmadi rights organization, as of the end of 1992 at least 2,133 Ahmadis had criminal cases brought against them, most of which were still pending before the courts. New cases were brought during 1993.
Attacks on Ahmadi places of worship continued in 1993. On June 20 three youths attempted to set fire to an Ahmadi house of worship in Lahore while Ahmadi elders were praying there. The incident was reported to the police, but no action was taken.
In 1986 legislation was passed inserting Section 295(c) into the Pakistan Penal Code, making blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad a capital offense. The law was apparently aimed at Ahmadis but has been increasingly used against Christians and Muslims as well.
In 1992 the Senate unanimously adopted a bill to amend the blasphemy law so that the death penalty is mandatory in cases of conviction for defiling the name of the prophet Muhammad, and in 1993 a bill was introduced to extend the law to include defiling the names of the Prophet Muhammad's family and companions.
The latter bill, generally supported by anti-Shi'a groups as a means of persecuting the Shia's, had yet to be acted upon.
According to a respected Pakistani human rights organization, since 1986, 107 Ahmadis have been charged with blasphemy under section 295(c) in at least 25 separate cases. As of the end of 1993, there had been no convictions. One case had been dropped, and two persons had been acquitted. At least four Ahmadis were charged with blasphemy in 1993.
In late 1992, the Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to the Ahmadis by granting bail to members of an Ahmadi family accused of using Islamic expressions on wedding invitations. In its ruling, the Court observed that use of Islamic expressions by Ahmadis "does not create in a Muslim, or for that matter anyone else, any of the feelings of hurt, offense or provocation, nor is it derogatory to the holy Prophet Muhammad."
In 1993, however, the Supreme Court ruled against the Ahmadis in a major case regarding the constitutionality of Section 298(c). Rejecting the argument that it violated the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion guaranteed in the Constitution, the Court upheld the law. The judge writing for the majority found that Islamic phrases are in essence a copyrighted trademark of the Islamic religion. Therefore, use of the Islamic epithets by Ahmadis was equivalent to copyright infringement and violated the Trademark Act of 1940. The majority also found that use of certain Islamic phrases was equivalent to blasphemy. Ahmadis and some human rights monitors fear the Supreme Court judgment upholding the law will lead to more cases being brought against Ahmadis and possibly more rapid convictions.
Pakistani passports carry a designation of religion which the Ahmadis find especially vexing. Ahmadis are classified as "non-Muslims" on their passports, leading Saudi authorities to prevent them from performing the religious pilgrimage, the hajj.
Despite having issued an order in 1992 requiring that a similar designation be included on the national identity card, the Government did not submit implementing legislation in 1993. Although the order has not been formally withdrawn, widespread protests in 1992 appeared to have persuaded the Government to abandon the proposal, which is a longstanding demand of fundamentalist religious parties.
... Members of minority religious groups are not permitted to vote in Muslim constituencies. They must cast their ballots in countrywide, at-large constituencies reserved for them in the national and provincial assemblies, an arrangement that has been widely criticized. Many Ahmadis, disputing their designation as non-Muslims, have refused to exercise this option....
There is much discrimination against religious minority groups in employment and education, and several International Labor Organization bodies expressed concern in 1993 that Pakistani laws facilitate discrimination in employment based on religion. In Pakistan's early years, minorities were able to rise to the senior ranks of the military and civil service. Today, many are unable to rise above mid-level ranks...
Officially designated as non-Muslims, Ahmadis in particular suffer from harassment and discrimination and have limited chances for advancement in the public sector. Young Ahmadis and their parents complain of increasing difficulty in gaining admittance to good colleges, forcing many children to go overseas for higher education. They complain that charges are often filed against them for the purpose of harassment or extortion and that the police will not accept their complaints when they and their property are attacked; few cases ever come to trial. Among religious minorities, there is a belief that the authorities, even if they do not prosecute them, afford them less protection under the law than is afforded Muslim citizens. There were several incidents in 1993 in which Ahmadis were physically assaulted by both police and civilians.
PAKISTAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993
JUSTICE JULES DESCHENES
OPEN LETTER OF JUSTICE JULES DESCHENES
Honorable Jules Deschenes
Juge au Tribunal penal international
12 April 1994.
Honourable Andre Ouellet, P.C., Q.C.
Dear Mister Minister
A recent (1) judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has just brought into the limelight a cruel injustice which, for exactly 20 years, has been deeply hurting the convictions of all those throughout the world who believe in freedom and, especially, freedom of religion.
On 17 September, 1974 the Second amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was assented to by the President (2). Parliament had thereby literally excommunicated the Ahmadis and banished them from Islam.
Then, on 28 April 1984 General Zia-Ul-Haq, supreme authority in Pakistan at the time, promulgated Ordinance #XX which introduced into the Penal Code provisions branding Ahmadis as common law criminals, liable to fine and imprisonment.
Those events are of interest to us since Ahmadis are solidly established in Canada. Now, who are they? -- They draw their name from the founder of their movement: Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). Ahmad was born in Qadian, a small village in Northern India. Basing himself on a divine revelation, he announced that he was the Messiah whom the faithful of various religions in the world had been expecting under different names. He preached the renewal of Islam within the respect of tradition.
100 years later, his message has prompted the establishment of flourishing communities in about 125 countries. In Canada the Ahmadiyya Movement has built, in the vicinity of Toronto, the largest mosque in North America which was inaugurated in 1992. Whether or not one shares their faith, the fact remains that the Ahmadis form a group of citizens who are respectful of the laws of our country and contribute to the betterment of the Canadian mosaic.
Now Islamic Pakistan recuses that enrichment. Rightly or wrongly --that is beside the point -- Ahmadis submit that they are aiming at restoring the original purity of Islam and ridding It of the slag which has encrusted It through the centuries. For such a "crime", the Constitution and the Penal Code have made outlaws of Ahmadis. They put them in the category of heretics. They forbid them, under pain of fine and imprisonment, from "posing" as Muslims or using expressions traditionally linked to Islam, as: mosque, muslim, Leader of the believers, Mother of the believers, "Kalima Tayaba: i.e. There is no other God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger."
Typically, as in a society where state and religion are interacting, even merging into each other, religion enjoys the support of the secular arm and the Pakistani State takes over the task of banishing its four million Ahmadis, whom indeed the Supreme Court of Pakistan has itself described as "an insignificant minority" (3).
Hence thousands of indictments against Ahmadis and countless sentences of jail and severe fines which the Supreme Court of Pakistan has now justified, if not even encouraged by dismissing the eight appeals which had reached it from Baluchistan and Punjab.
In each of the first five of those cases Appelant, an Ahmadi, had been arrested in a bazaar where he was wearing a badge of "Kalima Tayaba". One was sentenced to a fine of 3,000 rupees ($750.00), each of the other four to one year in jail and a fine of 1,000 rupees ($250.00).
In the three other appeals, an injunction was granted prohibiting the Ahmadis from celebrating the centenary of the foundation of their movement "by indulging in following activities": illuminations, gates, processions, posters, pamphlets, distribution of sweets to children, service of food to most needy and "any other activity directly or indirectly which may incite and injure the religious feelings of Muslims."!
Yet the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees freedom of religion (art. 20) and protects the right of any citizen to profess and propagate his religion as well as the right of every religious denomination to establish and manage its own institutions. But, according to the Supreme Court those constitutional rights remain subordinate to the law which may restrict them for reasons of public order or morality; and those reasons include the unconditional respect of Islam. Freedom of religion is therefore limited by the duty not to offend orthodox Muslims.
Now for a Muslim, the mere fact of seeing an Ahmadi "posing" as a Muslim or using words traditionally linked to Islam is enough, according to the Supreme Court, to "lose control of himself" (p. 33) and create the risk of public disorder, even civil war (ibid). Hence the legitimacy of the constitutional amendment, of Ordinance #XX and of the excommunication of Ahmadis.
Such an attitude had already been denounced in 1985 in Geneva by the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Prevention of discrimination and the Protection of minorities (4).
The Sub-Commission recalled the Proclamation of Tehran of 13 May 1968:
The Sub-Commission recalled equally the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief (5).
The Sub-Commission then expressed its grave concern on Ordinance #XX which prima facie violates the right to liberty of persons, the right to freedom of arbitrary arrest, the right to freedom of expression, conscience and religion and the right of religious minorities to practise their own religion.
The Sub-Commission further expressed its grave concern at the penalties inflicted on individuals who would have offended Ordinance #XX: fine, imprisonment, confiscation of property, as well as the policies enforced towards affected groups: discrimination in education and employment, defacement of religious property.
The Sub-Commission resolved that the Government of Pakistan should be requested to repeal Ordinance #XX.
There is no dearth of similar expressions of opinion around the world; for instance:
20 years have elapsed since the Second Constitutional amendment and 10 years since the promulgation of Ordinance #XX; yet those unfortunate provisions are still in force and continue to breed their nefarious results, as can be seen from the above-quoted recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Considering the attachment of Canada to spiritual values as well as human right; also taking into account the respect to which are entitled the many Ahmadis living in Canada who share the sufferings of their Pakistani CO religionists, I therefore pray, Mister Minister, that you revive the pressures already exerted by the U.N. on the Government of Pakistan with a view to the repeal of the Second Constitutional amendment of 1974, of Ordinance #XX of 1984 and of the oppressive provisions thereby introduced into the Pakistani Penal Code.
Kindly accept, Mister Minister, the expression of my anticipated thanks for your kind cooperation.
[signed Jules Deschenes]
(1): Zaheerhuddin & al v. Pakistan, 3 July 1993.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN
Actions against Ahmadis August 1992-July 1993
Since the promolugation of anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance of April 1984, 2,183 Ahmadis have been charged with violations of Sections 298-B and 298-C of the Ordinance, and 107 with violations of the so-called Blasphemy Law, under Section 295-C PPC. A number of Ahmadis, denied bail before arrest, were placed behind bars till they could secure bail from higher courts.
Following is a brief description of cases instituted from August 1992 - July 1993.
Cases under Ordinance XX
Cases against the Ahmadi press
Ban on gatherings
Killings and Assaults
Discrimination against students
The Supreme Court of Pakistan dismissed a set of petitions challenging the various provisions of Ordinance XX of 1984 which prohibits Ahmadis from professing Islam as their religion, preaching their faith, calling their places of worship `mosque', reciting the Azan and using Muslim phrases and terminology. The net result of this decision was seen to be to legalize all the restrictions imposed on Ahmadis and to sanction violation of their fundamental rights.
A five member bench of the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the case on July 5, 1993. This decision was said to have singled out Ahmadis for discriminatory treatment. Their victimisation was made much more easy now.
Following passages of the decision are to be particularly noted.
The Supreme Court touched the most sensitive nerve of the Muslim masses by equating Ahmadis with the notorious `Rushdi'.
The decision created serious apprehensions among Ahmadis that they would be made the target of hatred and persecution by the mullah and other fanatic and hostile elements. It is believed that as a result of this decision more and more Ahmadis will be implicated for the violation of the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance on innumerable grounds.
The decision justifies the practice of implicating Ahmadis under 295-C which awards the death sentence for defiling the name of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him). The following passage of the Supreme Court verdict is quite obvious in this regard:
The Supreme Court also enlarged the scope of the Ordinance by giving its sanction to implicating Ahmadis on the grounds which were not specifically mentioned in the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance e.g. `Displaying of Kalima' etc. As such, hundreds of Ahmadis against whom cases are pending in the lower courts about which they have been pleading that they committed no violation of the Ordinance by displaying `Kalima' or performing other religious practices as these were not specifically prohibited by the Ordinance, now stand no chance of getting acquittal from the courts.