These past few weeks are bad weeks.
Every day there would be some unpleasant news about people accused of blasphemy all over the world. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and sadly our beloved country Indonesia.
Until few months ago I did not know the meaning of blasphemy. According to Mirriam-Webster Blasphemy is doing something or saying something that assumed as a great disrespect shown to God or to something holy. And right now this word became a somewhat familiar word for me.
As mush as I want to write about something else, it just don’t feel right if don’t mention about these. More and more people commit violence in the name of God and Islam, when in fact they are driven by a desire for power, and hundreds of people become victims of their greediness. This is just too sad. And for the victims, just like Huzoor said ” May Allah the Exalted bless and always grant such excellent helpers who are loyal to Khilafat and are dedicated to it and who fulfil their pledge.”.
Indonesia is currently in the presidential election campaign. Hopefully in a few months we can have a president who prioritizes basic human rights above all things in his lead. Amin.
This is the copy of my letter as i’m participating in Asian Human Rights Commission’ urgent appeals programme.
DEAR PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN,
PAKISTAN: An Ahmadi was shot dead in police lockup and the lives of others are under threat
Name of victims:
1. Mr. Khalil Ahmad, (65), resident of Sharaqpur, district Shekhupua, Punjab
2. Ghulam Ahmad, resident of Sharaqpur, district Shekhupua, Punjab
3. Israr Ahmad, resident of Sharaqpur, district Shekhupua, Punjab
4. Mubashir Ahmad, resident of Sharaqpur, district Shekhupua, Punjab
Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Muhammad Salim (15), Sharaqpur, district Shekhupura, Punjab
2. Riaz Ali (Shopkeeper, Sharaqpur, district Shekhupura, Punjab
2. Police officials of Sharaqpur police station, district Shekhupura, Punjab
3. Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Shekhupra district
Date of incident: 16 May 2014
Place of incident: Sharaqpur police station, district Shekhupura, Punjab
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the brutal murder of another victim of blasphemy in the police lock with the connivance of Sharaqpur police. The Ahmadiyya community residing in the Sharaqpur, district Shekhupura, is under threat from a sectarian organisation, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ), whose militants have threatened them to leave their houses or face death.
I am shocked to know the 65 year old man was falsely accused and fell prey to the extremist mind set. The man was in the police custody at the time of his assassination. This case shows that the police were equally responsible in the victimâ€™s death as they failed to protect an accused. Killing an innocent in the name of religion is unacceptable. The religious minorities have the right to practice their belief, any act of insult to any religion is against the law and inhuman. The religious minorities need to be provided protection and such incidents should be averted.
According to the information I have received, Mr. Khalil Ahmad (65), belonging to the Ahmadi religious community and a father of four, was shot dead inside the police lockup of Sharaqpur police station, district Shekhupura on May 16, three days after his arrest. The police had not produced him in any court of law after 80 hours of his arrest. According to the law the police have to produce the arrested persons within 24 hours.
I am informed that a shopkeeper had posted derogatory remarks on an Islamic calendar about the Ahmadis, a minority community. Khalil Ahmad and three others went to the shop and asked the shop keeper to remove the sticker with the derogatory remarks, which the shop keeper refused to do and after a heated quarrel, the shopkeeper filed a case of blasphemy allegations against Khalil Ahmad.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), registered under the blasphemy law, six Ahmadis including Khalil, Ghulam Ahmad, Israr Ahmad, Mubashir Ahmad and two others, on May 13 had torn an Islamic calendar hanging on the wall of shopkeeper, Riaz Ali, during a heated religious debate with him.
Mr. Khalil Ahmad was arrested on 13 May and had been in police custody at the Sharaqpur police station. On the evening of 16 May, a teenager, Muhammad Salim came to the police station with a pistol concealed in his lunch box. The police officials allowed him to meet Ahmad and he quickly shot him dead. Salim was arrested but Ahmad was killed instantly. When the police arrested the teenager they found his age to be around 15 and that he is a high school student. He belongs to an Islamic seminary (Madressa) of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ). The ASWJ is the outfit of a banned sectarian organisation that goes by the name of Sipahe Sahaba.
It is reported that Muhammad Salim had visited the Sharqpur Police Station at Sharqpur village, which is some 70 kilometres from Lahore, with the premeditated intention to meet and kill Khalil Ahmad.
I believe the accusation of the Jammat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan that Khalil was killed with the connivance of the police.
The other three Ahmadis accused of blasphemy are on bail and as their lives are under threat they are in hiding. In fact, the entire community residing in Sharaqpur is under threat of attack as the militants of the ASWJ had already threatened them to vacate their houses and not to perform their prayers in the same manner that the Muslims are doing.
After 13 May, Ahmadiyya houses were besieged and families threatened. Eventually, the police arrived but instead of providing protection to the Ahmadis, supported the clergy and their accomplices and at their behest, accused the Ahmadis of committing blasphemy and arrested four of them because of their faith and belief.
I am deeply concerned that although the police arrested the murderer following the shooting it is likely that he will be released under the pressure of the clergy and the indifference of the judiciary towards Ahmadiyya killings.
In the past two weeks filing under the false and fictitious charges of blasphemy was accelerated in Punjab province under the patronage of the provincial government where one prominent human rights defender-cum-lawyer, Mr. Rashid Rehman was shot dead in his chambers, 68 lawyers were charged and booked on Blasphemy for protesting against the police atrocities and six Ahmadis booked on false charges of blasphemy. Among them one was shot dead inside the police lock up in full view of the police. In all these cases the outfit of a banned religious organisation, the ASWJ, was involved. The chief of the ASWJ, Maulana Ludhianwi, has been awarded a ticket from the ruling party, PML-N and he became a member of the National Assembly. He now has a free hand in accelerating his movement for accusing anyone on charges of blasphemy.
I have observed that whenever the chief minister of Punjab, Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, comes into power, his government accelerates the campaign against the religious minorities groups. In his previous government from 2008 to 2013 many Ahmadis and Christians were killed on blasphemy charges, houses were burned and many became displaced from their ancestral places. Two politicians, the former governor of Punjab, Mr. Salman Taseer and the former federal minister on religious minorities, Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated for following the cases of victims of blasphemy.
I therefore urge you:
To provide appropriate security to the Ahmadis, particularly those residing in Sharaqpur, district Shekhupura, Punjab;
Arrest the police officials of Sharaqpur for their collusion in the murder of Mr. Khalil Ahmad;
Hold an inquiry into the killing of an Ahmadi inside the police lockup in full view of the police officials of Sharaqpur police station;
The government must pay compensation to the aggrieved family and provide security to his four children and other family members.
I look forward to your urgent attention to this matter.