July 03, 2023
The Punjab Police have registered five First Information Reports (FIRs) against members of the Ahmadiyya community for slaughtering or attempting to slaughter sacrificial animals on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.
The police have also arrested two people in connection with these FIRs.
The FIRs were registered in Lahore, Faisalabad, Nankana Sahib, and Gojra districts. All the FIRs were registered under section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
In addition to these FIRs, police officials in some other towns and districts of Punjab barred members of the Ahmadiyya community from offering sacrifice. In a video that went viral on social media, Faisalabad police raided the house of an Ahmadiyya individual a day before Eid and “recovered” three goats from the house. The police then took the goats to the police station in a police vehicle.
The District Police Officer (DPO) Hafizabad issued an official order directing all Station House Officers (SHOs) to meet members of the Ahmadiyya community and take an oath from them not to perform animal sacrifice on Eid.
Section 298(C) prohibits individuals belonging to the Ahmadiyya community from calling or representing themselves as Muslims through spoken or written words or visible symbols.
A person booked under section 298(c) can face a jail term of up to three years.
This section, along with a few other amendments in the PPC and Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.), was introduced by former military dictator General Zia ul Haq through a Presidential Ordinance known as the “Anti-Islamic Activities of Qadiani Group, Lahore Group, and Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance 1984.”
Response by Ahmaddiya community
The Jamat Ahmadiyya Pakistan, in a statement, condemned the harassment of the Ahmadi community on Eid and termed it as a violation of their fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.
“For the past few years, Ahmadis have been prevented from performing Qurbani on the occasion of Eid. This year also, the Punjab Police harassed Ahmadis in several places to please extremist elements, so that they do not perform the sacrifice. Ahmadis have been arrested, and cases have been registered against them. Ahmadis have spent this Eid in fear and anxiety,”
the statement read.
The statement added that the police actions are illegal as the Supreme Court of Pakistan, in a judgment in 2022, has already declared that Ahmadis have complete freedom to practice their religion within four walls.
The judgment stated, “To deprive a non-Muslim (minority) of our country from holding his religious beliefs, to obstruct him from professing and practicing his religion within the four walls of his place of worship is against the grain of our democratic Constitution and repugnant to the spirit and character of our Islamic Republic.”
State persecution has forced migrations
The Jamaat-e-Ahamdiyya Pakistan stated that 491 Ahmadis have been booked for ‘posing as Muslims’ since 1984 and 765 FIRs were lodged against Ahmadis for displaying Quranic verses and Kalma.
“At least 1,273 people have been booked or arrested on religious grounds since the promulgation of this 1984 ordinance,” said the spokesperson for the Ahmadi community. “But since 2018, there has been a spike in the registration of cases against the community,”
In 2018, 62 people belonging to the Ahmadi faith were booked under the Blasphemy laws while in 2021 there was a steep increase of 44 percent in the registration of cases. A total of 110 people were named in 15 FIRs.
In 2022, 105 people were booked in 25 FIRs registered under blasphemy laws.
The spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya community highlighted that the human rights violations against the community are directly linked to repressive legislation implemented by the state since 1974 when Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims through a constitutional amendment.
He said, ‘The state has even confiscated all of our religious literature, making it unavailable in our libraries. We have practically been deprived of our literature.’
The spokesperson added that despite the reversal of nationalization policies in the 1980s, all educational institutions of the Ahmadiyya community remain under state control.
He further explained, ‘There is a long list of repressive steps taken by the state that have adversely affected the daily lives of Ahmadis in Pakistan. We are left without rights, both political and religious. Ahmadis face discrimination in every aspect of life. Ahmadi government servants are often transferred solely based on their faith.’
In 2021, an Ahmadi doctor was removed from his post as CEO Health Chakwal just days after his appointment. The removal was followed by an organized hate campaign led by religious organizations like TLP.”
District Bar Chakwal had also called on the authorities to remove the newly-appointed health officer immediately.
In 2022, Punjab government made it mandatory to include the oath of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat [Finality of the Prophethood (PBUH)] in the marriage certificate form (Nikahnama).
The Punjab Assembly unanimously passed a resolution demanding the inclusion of the oath of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (seal of the prophets) in the marriage certificate form to discourage marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims (Ahmadis) by trick.
The resolution was jointly presented by the provincial assembly members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
The text of the resolution read that the Punjab Assembly demands that in order to clarify the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims, Qadianis under NADRA and the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 in the form of an affidavit in the passport form. The proposed marriage certificate form under Rule No 8 and 10 of the established rules should include the column of the oath of end of Prophethood.