Ahmadis Facing Organised Discrimination, Persecution: Political Parties Including PTI Fuelled Hate during 2018 Election Campaign
With the basic human rights being continuously denied to the Ahmadi community, the year 2018 was worse than before, says a report, as it saw unending hate campaigns including the one during the electioneering.
In the annual report for 2018 compiled by the Ahmadi community, it is said that all the major political parties, including the ruling PTI, fuelled hatred against the Ahmadis using the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat card in an effort to gain favour with hardliners. And they were the only community in the country to be placed on a separate voter list in clear violation of both the basic principles of democracy and the joint-electorate system.
The spokesperson, Saleem-ud-Din, in a press release said the Ahmadis had no religious freedoms in Pakistan. “Not only there are legal obstructions for Ahmadis not to preach or talk about their faith, they face increasing difficulty in observing their religious obligations, and they are dragged into unnecessary cases.”
Moreover, changes have also been made to the National Identity Card application form with the introduction of Column No 38 which forces minority groups to declare on oath that they are non-Muslim.
And it is not just extremists who launch hate campaigns, as the political class also fan these flames too – for example a conference held by the federal government last year under the title “The Finality of Prophethood and the Responsibility of Muslims’ during which Maulvi Ahmad Ali Siraj made incendiary proposals against the community.
This discrimination and hate is being systematically inculcated in the minds through curriculum.
Meanwhile, over 2,300 false reports and more than 300 inflammatory Op-eds/ articles were published against the community in the Urdu press during the last year.
“A leading national daily published an advert from the community had to publish hasty retraction and the owner of the newspaper was forced to declare their faith in the subsequent publication and denounce the community. The correspondent who booked that advertisement had his contract terminated as well.”
It added that other newspapers simply refused to carry out the advertisement despite the fact that the community was paying standard or better rate for publishing it.
The report especially mentions the anti-Ahmadi laws of 1984 which have helped empower religious extremists and fostered an environment in which the murder of Ahmadis, the destruction of community worship places, the illegal appropriation of their property and the desecration of Ahmadi burial sites has become the norm. And the authorities have been unable to bridle the extremists even after the launch of National Action Plan (NAP).
The report says 262 Ahmadis have been killed since 1984 with another 388 assaulted for their faith. Meanwhile, 28 places worship have been demolished, 23 set on fire or damaged, 17 forcibly occupied, 39 sealed and the construction of another 58 was barred by the authorities during the same period.
Moreover, bodies of 39 Ahmadis were exhumed after burial and there are 69 cases where burial was denied in the common cemetery.
There are also 43 incidents of removing Kalma from the houses and shops of Ahmadis as well 103 places of worship.
The details of police cases registered against the Ahmadis since 1984 are:
Number of Ahmadis booked for displaying Kalma (765), call to prayers (38), ‘posing’ as Muslims (447), using Islamic epithets (161), offering prayers (93), preaching (819), celebrating Ahmadi Centenary in 1989 (27), celebrating 100 years anniversary of the eclipses of sun and moon that occurred in 1894 as a sign for the Promised Mehdi (50), distributing a pamphlet ‘A Word of Advice’ commenting on the anti-Ahmadi Ordinance (27), distributing “Mubahala” pamphlet – A challenge to the opponents for prayer duel (148), allegedly defiling the Holy Quran (46), charged under the blasphemy law (315), other cases on religious grounds (1,220).
Meanwhile, the former supreme head of the community while living in London was charged in his absence in 16 cases and the present one in two.
The entire population of Rabwah (the Ahmadi community headquarters in Pakistan) was charged under section PPC 298-C on 15-12-1989, and again on June 8, 2008 (population of Rabwah is approximately 60,000).
A case against the entire Ahmadi population of Ahmadis in Kotli was registered for repairs and improvement in their place of worship in 2008.