PAKISTAN: Ahmadis are once again persecuted even as the new government is formed 

For some time now anti-Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya (Jaamat) activities have been escalating all over Pakistan and particularly in Lahore. The members of Jamaat have been mercilessly tortured and rebuked in public over fake and felonious accusations. They have been threatened physically and mentally tortured and now live in fear of their lives. They have even been harassed while offering funeral rites for their dead. In Lahore, the person leading these inhuman and illegal activities is Muhammad Hassan Mavia, the son of Hafiz Muhammad Suleman, commonly known as ‘Tooti’. He plays a prominent role in activities against Jamaat members and is the principal complainant in the fabricated cases against them. For this he has also launched a group whose job it is to watch and report on Jamaat activities and make malicious plans to entrap Ahmadis in bogus cases.

On April 28, 2013, Muhammad Hassan Mavia along with his associates targeted a prayer center in Gulshan-e-Ravi. He registered a complaint with the help of his followers who live adjacent to the prayer center. Hassan Mavia came on the scene with his goons and forcibly entered the building. Later someone from the mob called the police claiming that an unknown person had broken into his house ran away and was hiding in the prayer center. Acting on this accusation the mob illegally entered the center, searched the premises in the presence of the police, who did nothing to prevent them, collected books from the library and arrested seven men, a woman and a twelve-year-old child who were taken to the Gulshan-e-Ravi Police Station. The woman and child were released at 3 pm but a report was registered against the arrested persons on the basis of false accusations. Currently the police have sealed the Prayer Center and the arrested persons were shifted to the Central Jail.

In another incident, on April 10, an Ahmadi boy named Khalid Ashfaq was delivering an Ahmadi Newspaper, ALFAZL to the house of a member of the Jamaat when Hassan Mavia along with members of his mob seized ceased the boy, tortured him severely and confiscated the newspapers. Later a case was registered against the boy under 295-B, 298-C and 11WATA charges.

Another fanatic, Mullah Rana Muhammad Tufail, lodged a complaint in the Model Town Police Station that the Ahmadis had inscribed Quranic verses on their graves at Model Town. He insisted that the epigraphs containing these texts should be removed. Hassan Mavia was a witness in the case, the trial of which has been ongoing for a long time. Then in January 2013, unknown miscreants entered the graveyard, desecrated the graves and demolished the epigraphs containing holy verses. It is believed that Hassan Mavia was the person behind this incident.

Another incident in January 2013 was the attack on the house of the president of the Ahmadiya Community, Garhi Sahhu, Mr Abid Chughtai. The names of Allah were removed from the walls of his house, allegedly by the followers of Hassan Mavia.

Hassan Mavia’s harassment continued in the same month when he lodged a complaint under charge sheet 298-B against a sixteen year old boy, named Atif Ahmad, in Samanabad Police Station. The case was registered for keeping religious books by the young boy. Later he was arrested and due to the threats by the plaintiff the family was forced to leave to a safe location.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported on another case in which the owner of the Black Arrow Press along with four of his employees was arrested under 295-B, 298-C and 24-A charges. Please see: PAKISTAN: Persecution of Ahmadis during the month of January 2013. The complaint was registered by Hassan Mavia at the Islam Pura Police Station. The persons accused in this case are still in jail and all efforts to obtain their bail have failed due to the actions of Hassan Mavia and his goons.

Sadly the harassment by Muhammad Hassan Mavia has been going on for several months. In November 2012, the wife of Mr. Munawar Ahmad Sindhi of Bagh Ban Pura died and her funeral was scheduled for 10 pm one evening. Muhammad Hassan Mavia arrived at the scene with the media and his companions to create problems. In order to avoid a confrontation the time and place of the funeral was rescheduled.

The list of problems caused by this man and his followers goes on and on and despite the fact that his actions are clearly illegal the government of Pakistan has done nothing to rein him in. No protection is offered to his victims and even the judges are harassed to the point where, whether they like it or not, they are forced to defer to his demands.

The newly formed government of the ruling party, PML, has 53 tickets to sectarian leaders and the ultimate result of this will be an upsurge of religious violence in the country. The new government will not take any steps to prevent this violence and the people can expect no assistance in the way of protection, fair trial or freedom of expression.

The AHRC appeals to the government of Pakistan to bring an immediate halt to the actions of the extremists. If this violence is left unchecked it will turn Pakistan into a country of religious zealots with no respect or compassion for anyone but their own. The Constitution of Pakistan stipulates freedom of religion and guarantees equality to all citizens, irrespective of their caste, colour or creed. However, there has never been any indication that successive governments will ensure these rights. It is the sole responsibility of the government to enforce these rights and take a firm stand against the extremists that believe it is their prerogative and theirs only to decide who can practice their religion in Pakistan.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-102-2013
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Child rights, Freedom of expression, Freedom of religion, Judicial system, Torture,