Pakistan: Beleaguered Ahmadiyya Community Issues ‘Annual Report of Persecution of Ahmadis in 2017’

 


Since the enactment of the anti-Ahmadi Ordinance of 1984, Ahmadis have been facing discrimination on political, social and legislative level, which is against the principle of the provision of basic and uniform right to the persons of the same environment. 

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Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Press Section / SAA Pakistan
By Press Release | April 28, 2018

2017: The level of the violation of human rights of the Ahmadis in Pakistan touched extremes. Merely to obtain political objectives, the ruling party and opposition both used the revered slogan of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat to incite hatred and contempt against the Ahmadis.

Under pressure from religious extremists, the Ahmadis were denied registration in joint electoral lists. Basic human rights were denied to the Ahmadis by introducing an amendment to the Election Reforms Bill. The preparation for separate electoral lists being prepared specifically for the Ahmadies in Pakistan is the worst kind of discrimination being faced by the members of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan. On the pretext of their religious beliefs, the Ahmadis have been successfully barred from being a part of mainstream politics in Pakistan.

There is a baseless and unconstitutional ban imposed on the publication of the Ahmadiyya literature and periodicals in the province of Punjab. This is an unforgiveable violation of freedom of speech being committed by the Punjab government. The Ahmadis have been denied access even to the peaceful literature of their founder.

Taking advantage of the discriminatory laws against them, baseless cases have been registered against 77 Ahmadis in Pakistan. Consequently, lower courts have badly failed to fulfill the requirements of justice by announcing penalties for the Ahmadis imprisoned under anti-Ahmadi laws.

The baseless and foul reporting against the Ahmadis in the Urdu media in Pakistan continued unrelenting in 2017. Throughout the year more than 3936 news- items and more than 532 articles were published as false propaganda against members of the Ahmadiyya Community.

It is, therefore, seen as the need of the time to restore basic human rights to the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan and to repeal the discriminatory laws against it.

Chenab Nagar (TOA): Issuing to the press the report on the persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in 2017, the spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan, Mr Saleemuddin, said that the persecution and oppression inflicted upon the Ahmadis is touching new heights. He said that in order to achieve their political gains both the government and the opposition exploited the issue of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat in Election Reform Bill 2017 and thus aggravated the sentiments of hatred and contempt among the Pakistani people towards the Ahmadis. The term oath was replaced with declaration in the Electoral Reforms Bill and a difficult situation was created for the Ahmadis as the change is being used to stop the Ahmadis from taking part in politics.

Mr Saleemuddin questioned that when Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and followers of other religions are registered in a joint electoral list, why Ahmadis are not being registered therein merely on the basis of their creeds? He said that this amounts to the clear violation of basic human rights of the Ahmadis living in Pakistan. He further stated that due to the biased and discriminatory behavior of the Pakistani people towards the Ahmadis, Pakistani Ahmadis are being excluded from the mainstream politics, a phenomenon that has allowed religious extremists to divide the people of Pakistan on religious grounds.

Upon the recommendation of the Muttahida Ulema Board, the Government of Punjab banned the publication of Ahmadi literature in 2015. However, the government has so far failed to point out what hate material it found in the Ahmadi publications, as gave it an excuse to ban their literature.  In fact, the presence of hate speech in Ahmadi literature is an allegation that can never be proved, because the Ahmadiyya Community not only preaches the motto of ‘Love for All – Hatred for None’, but also practices it everywhere in the world.

Yet, currently, access even to the books of the founder the Ahmadiyya community is almost impossible for the Ahmadis. This amounts to a clear violation of Article 20 of the Pakistan constitution. Daily Alfazl, the Ahmadiyya Community’s organ that has been in circulation since 1913, has been banned by the government of Pakistan. This is despite the fact that it is clearly written on all publications of the Ahmadiyya community that they are being published for the educational and spiritual upbringing of the members of the Ahmadiyya Community alone.

Speaking about the Urdu media in Pakistan, Mr Saleemuddin said that that in the past year, as many as 3936 news-items and 532 articles which were based on hate propaganda and baseless allegations were published against the Ahmadiyya Community, in spite of the fact that it is the responsibility of the media not to spread hate against any particular group in society, and if there is a news- item or an article published about one party, the viewpoint of the other party should also be taken. This is in accord with the norms of journalism. But, no newspaper gave space to the Ahmadiyya viewpoint.

Mr Saleemuddin said that the government has surrendered to the extremists in making discriminatory laws against the Ahmadis. He also said that the draconian laws of 1984 are an open violation of basic human rights; similarly they are also against the ideology of Pakistan enunciated by the founder of Pakistan – Quaid-e-Azam – as well as by the constitution of Pakistan. Hence, these laws should be immediately repealed, and basic human rights of hundreds of thousands of Pakistani Ahmadis should be restored.

Since the enactment of the anti-Ahmadi Ordinance of 1984, Ahmadis have been facing discrimination on political, social and legislative level, which is against the principle of the provision of basic and uniform right to the persons of the same environment.

Mr Saleemuddin said that since the enactment of the aforesaid infamous ordinance against the Ahmadis up until 31 December 2017, 264 Ahmadis have been killed for their faith. There have been as many as 379 attempts on the life of the Ahmadis living in Pakistan. As many as 27 places of worship have been brought down, while 33 of them have been sealed. The opponents have taken control of 17 places of worship using force. Graves of 39 Ahmadis were dug up and thus desecrated soon after the burial of the deceased, and 66 Ahmadis were not allowed to be buried in the graveyards shared by people of various faiths.

Generally throughout Pakistan and particularly in Sindh in Punjab, hate literature which was specially prepared for this purpose was distributed against the Ahmadiyya Community calling the people to boycott the Ahmadis and kill them. This has resulted in several unfortunate incidents taking place across Pakistan. On top of it all, the silence of the administration only proves that it supports such elements.

Mr Saleemuddin added that even in Rabwah, where 95% of population is Ahmadi, Ahmadis were not allowed to conduct any religious gathering or Jalsa in 2017. So much so that the sports programs of the Ahmadis were not allowed to be conducted publicly. On the other hand the opponents have an eternal permission to conduct any program they like and whenever they choose to do so in or outside Rabwah throughout Pakistan. They are even allowed to bring out rallies and processions. An anti-Ahmadiyya organization has held there such gathering in Rabwah. No action provided in the law was taken against them.

Speaking about the discrimination going on against the Ahmadi students in the educational system, Mr Saleemuddin said that government took over the control of the educational institutes in the 70s. This also included the educational institutes of the Ahmadiyya community. After the implementation of the nationalization policy the community deposited, according to the prevailing laws, a handsome amount of money into the national exchequer to get back the control of its educational institutions. But, so far, no educational institute has been handed back to the community. On the other hand, following the policy of the government, a number of educational institutions have been returned to their original owners.

Today, sectarianism, killings of the innocent people and the spread of evil is touching extremes. What is required is to ponder over this dangerous situation and look for a durable solution. We must know that the starting point of this entire problem is the interference of the state in religion and the laws that that discriminate between sections of society. The deplorable situation of peace that lies in the hands of religious extremists in Pakistan is a result of the intervention of state in matters of faith. Therefore, in order to improve the situation today, the discriminatory laws which have destroyed the very identity of Pakistan should be abolished forthwith.

The hate campaign against the Ahmadis that is fueled by a nexus of the Pakistan government with religious extremists in the country continues unabated for decades now. Consequently, the life, wealth and honour of the Ahmadis have become so unsafe in their own country. In fact, the Ahmadis are being denied the most basic human rights in Pakistan. The opponents of the Ahmadiyya Community openly and publicly announce that either the Ahmadis should renounce their faith or leave the country; otherwise, life will be made hard for them, so much so that the Ahmadis are labeled as ‘cancer, and ‘rebels’ in their own homeland. The extremist elements publicly declare that they will kill the Ahmadis. Sadly, this agenda is being vigorously pursued. As a result, the year 2017 was proved to be a stormy year for members of the Ahmadiyya Community living in Pakistan. As if this was not enough, the year 2018 has been announced by the opponents of the Ahmadiyya Community as the Year of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat whereby the adversaries of the Ahmadiyya Community have wowed to launch a campaign against the Ahmadiyya faith at every level in the government in Pakistan. The incidents that have taken place ever since the announcement was made shed ample light on the sinister nature of this plan. Pakistan is a signatory to the United Nations Human Rights Charter. The charter was signed by so many world nations who later upheld their promise. However, in Pakistan, we witness the charter being discredited and the promise that was made by signing the charter being ruthlessly dishonored on a daily basis.

Mr Saleemuddin said that there is need for the government in Pakistan to take formidable steps to remove religious discrimination from the country and thus put an end to sectarianism and biased attitudes of the population. He hoped that this would put Pakistan back on the right track and path of true progress, peace and security in the coming days. ###

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