Tuesday, March 26, 2013
PAKISTAN: The houses of Ahmadis are under attack and the police are providing protection to the attackers
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the attacks on the houses belonging to Ahmadis. The attackers were from two religious organizations, the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SP) and Khatm-e-Nabowat (KN) and were provided with protection by the police during the attack. The local in-charge of the Ahmadiya Jamat was seriously injured when he was beaten by the crowd and dumped on the street as if he was dead. The members of the Ahmadiya community are virtually under house arrest and the police have warned them to vacate the houses. The member of the national assembly from the ruling party of Punjab province and the highest police officer from the district have extended their support to the attackers in order to get votes in the coming elections. CASE NARRATIVE: Yesterday, (March 25), a crowd of more than 60 persons attacked the house of Mr. Malik Maqsood Ahmed Anjum, a resident of Shamsabad, sub district, Choonia, district Qasoor, Punjab. The family members including women and children locked themselves inside for their protection but the crowd broke open the doors and dragged all of them out. Anjum was beaten by the crowd with iron rods, sticks and fists and kicked before the family, forced to convert to “Islam” and leave the Ahmadi sect. When he fell unconscious the attackers left him on the road thinking that he was dead. When the attack was conducted there were 10 policemen present at the scene but they did not intervene to prevent the violence. After the incident the police party from Chooni police station arrived and rather than providing medical assistance to the victim threw him in a police jeep thinking that he was dead. The police took him to the district hospital of Choonia and when Anjum was found to be still alive the police left him and ran away. They have announced in the Shamsabad village that all the Ahmadis should immediately leave their houses and vacate the village as the local people do not want Ahmadis in their village. It was also announced that the attackers were from a banned organization, the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SP) and also from Khatm-e-Nabowat (KN) and they will no longer tolerate Ahmadis, not only in the village but in the entire province of Punjab. The attackers have told the Ahmadis that they should learn a lesson from the death of the former governor of Punjab, Mr. Salman Taseer, who was killed by his police guard. The attack on the Ahmadis in Shamsabad village has been in preparation since the month of January as the general elections were foreseen in the month of May. At the start of the New Year, four Ahmadis houses were attacked and the residents were beaten and taken to the police station at Choonia. At the station they were asked to take the compensation for the wreckage of their buildings as they would not be paid the actual prices of the house. When Station House Officer (SHO) Inspector Tariq Awan, forced and threatened them they agreed to take a meager amount and left the houses. During these incidents the elder brother of Anjum was also forced to take out his son from the government degree college. To force their demand the crowd from the banned organization, the SP, took out a procession and attacked his house and the principal of the college was forced to rusticate the student, Ahmad Jamal. In the month of February members and representatives of the Ahmadiyya community met with district police officer (DPO) and informed him of the situation. The DPO, Mr. Syed Khurram Ali, assured them that for the protection of the Ahmadis he will construct a police kiosk. But when construction of the kiosk started the local people with the help of one Inspector of Police, Asghar, stopped the construction. They also got help from Mr. Rana Ishaque, the member of the national assembly (MNA) from the ruling party of the Punjab province. Mr. Rana also threatened the DPO for providing protection to Ahmadis. Due to the nexus between the police and banned religious organizations, Mr. Malik Hayat, Mr. Malik Mehmood, Mr. Nasir Kumhar, Mr. Mistri Muhammad Hussain and Iftekhar Ahmed were forced to leave their houses. The Ahmadis remaining in the village are under house arrest and might be attached at any time if not provided with protection by the government. SUGGESTED ACTION: Please write letters to the following authorities calling upon them to stop the forced eviction of the Ahmadis from Shamsabad, sub district, Choonia, district Qasoor, Punjab. Please urge them to take strong action against the police and the banned religious organisations who want to rouse the people for sectarian riots before the general election. Please also urge them to re-house the Ahmadis and provide full protection so as to ensure their safety. The member of the national assembly must be taken to task for his involvement in the attacks on the Ahmadis. The AHRC is writing separate letters to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.