Ahmadi plight: Dead but not resting in peace

Published: December 4, 2012

The desecration of the Ahmadi graves is only another indication of the quickly contaminating mind-set. PHOTO: RABIA MEHMOOD

Pakistan is the bastion of Islam, and Muslims in Pakistan the vanguards of the Islamic movement. They will shortly take over the world and govern it with Shariah laws.

The only problem is for us to draw a consensus as to who really is a Muslim; the Sunnis or the Shias, sub categorised further into Barelvis, Ithna Asharis, Deobandis, Wahabis, the Ismailis or any other less popular sects?

We’re at least a step closer to achieving that end. Ahmadis are non-Muslims, and our constitution corroborates that stand; if people from that sect still decide to be tactless enough, so as to defy us on it, well we have article 298B and 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to ensure they fall in line.

So, my contention is not if Ahmadis are Muslims or not, nor is it on if they have a right upon the Islamic terminologies and symbolism. No folks, I’m a man of democracy and of rule of law, therefore, if my parliament decides upon a law ordering something to be the case, I won’t speak otherwise. However, where a law exists and is not being implemented, I think of it as my moral duty to point it out and to request the authorities concerned to adhere to it.

When a noble woman, named Fatima, committed a theft and Usama ibn Zayd was made to intercede on her behalf by the Arabs, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) asseverated that all are equal before law, and that not even Fatima (RA), Prophet (pbuh’s) own daughter, would have been spared the punishment had she committed the crime.

Immunity, therefore, is the very antithesis to the Islamic teachings. Muslims or non-Muslims, patricians or plebeians, rich or poor, whosoever disregards legal rules must be held accountable.

Why then should those who contravene article 297 of the PPC, a part of the much argued blasphemy laws, not be brought to book?

The article reads as quoted below:

297. Trespassing on burial places, etc.:

“Whoever, with the intention of wounding the feelings of any person, or of insulting the religion of any person, or with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby, commits any trespass in any place of worship or on any place of sculpture, or any place set apart for the performance of funeral rites or as a, depository for the remains of the dead, or offers any indignity to any human corpse or causes disturbance to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.”

The purpose of blasphemy laws wasn’t strictly to defend Islam, but rather to prevent religion related conflicts, and to ensure that non-Muslims enjoy equal protection through these laws as Muslim do. They need to be utilised the same way.

The latest episode of the infringement of the article 297 of the PPC occurred in the model town area of Lahore, when fifteen armed men vandalised over 100 graves belonging to the marginalised Ahmadi minority.

No case has been registered; no one has been booked.

In fact, the concerned police authorities have feigned ignorance.

Earlier this year, similar incidents have been reported from Hafizabad and Jeranwala too.

Blasphemy, I cry.

No vigilantes to ensure justice, however, not that I condone it, no suo motu.

I do not intend to harangue the readers, nor is it my intention to give out a sermon as to what miseries the denial of justice can inflict upon a nation, but it must be emphasised that without providence of justice we cannot expect the people to obey laws. Accountability, wherever neglected has brought about a culture of delinquency, corruption in the government departments being a case in point.

The trespassers of the Ahmadi cemetery, therefore, must be prosecuted to create a good precedent.

Besides, Pakistan’s track record with regards to its minorities is already despicable. Incidents of the sort of Gojra, persecution like that of Rimsha Masih and the exodus of the Hindus of Sindh lays bare any claims we may have that we treat our minorities with compassionIn fact, Hindu marriages can’t even be registered in Pakistan.

It is perturbing to see that the situation is only worsening by the day. The intolerance that has pervaded our society has made us forget the basic essence of Islam and everything that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) stood for.

The desecration of the Ahmadi graves is only another indication of the quickly contaminating mind-set.

We may notice the plight of the Gazans or the Rohingya Muslims, but fail to notice the excesses right under our noses. We too are Zionists to a few. We too are Burman monks to some.

The nation needs to be taught that you’ve to give respect to earn respect. Empathy with the other kind, unfortunately, is not our best trait. If you cannot value the sentiments of others, you too would be affronted. That is the way the world functions. That is the truth of the times.

Read more by Badar here or follow him on Twitter @badarchaudhary

Badar Chaudhary

Badar Chaudhary

An engineering graduate from Cardiff University, Britain, Badar tweets as @badarchaudhary

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Pessimist

    What a shameful incident it was. I feel for the Ahmadi community of Pakistan. I’ve said it before, you can differ on whether Ahmadis are muslims or not, but to treat them like this is beyond disgusting.
    There’s so much more to say but I know it is pointless. The hatred against Ahmadis is not confined to a particular class. Everyone, from the labourer to the CEO, has ill feelings against the Ahmadis. The lower class result to actions such as grave destroying & murders, whereas the elite class discriminates against Ahmadis in the workplace.
    This nation is hopeless….Recommend

  • athar mahmood

    i really feel sorry being a pakistani when i see like this . vandalizing one’s grave mean even you can’t put up with their remains.dead ones can’t create conspiracies against pakistan nor they can cry against shariah. Recommend

  • sars

    Very well said. Why are crimes against minorities not taken seriously?

    What do others beliefs have to do with us if they are not forcing them on us?

    Why do well feel a pathological need for everyone to follow our beliefs exactly the way we want them to do?

    who are we to deciede who is a muslim , that is a job only for the Creator.

    We need to stop using religion as a weapon (literally)Recommend

  • Khanum

    Zero tolerance for religious extremists .Recommend

  • Ahmad

    I am speechless.It seems there is no limit to which the ignorant and misguided can stoop to.I say leave everything on the Day of Judgement.Let Allah Decide and Punish the Transgressors. Intolerance seems to be an alien words to us Pakistanis.To be silent on matters like this is a form of affirmation of this Zulam.May Allah Have Mercy on Us All.Amen.Recommend

  • Jay

    Pakistan is fast turning into a nation of witch-hunters in a state of moral panic. Anyone whose beliefs you do not agree with can be labelled a ‘kaafir’, a ‘blasphemer’ or an ‘infidel’ and then you have the right to harass and kill them. While we are at it, why don’t we return to the 18th century and start burning all perceived infidels at the stake. Oh wait, we already do that! In fact, we are a step ahead because we don’t even spare those who are already dead for they might rise up as zombies and threaten our social values and religious sentiments. So better destroy their graves as well.
    Pains me to see where this nation is headed to! Recommend

  • Ahmad

    @Ahmad: sorry instead of Intolerance the word should be TOLERENCERecommend

  • http://India Feroz

    The biggest canard spread by the Media and PR managers over the last 65 years is that a majority of the Pakistani population is moderate. No one has seen any evidence of this so far. Waiting for spin Doctors to give an explanation for this atrocity too.Recommend

  • lodi

    Ahmadis have been declaired non-muslims by the elected assembly of Pakistan so they are non Muslims by all standards. But desecration must be investigated to save the Muslims from the onslaught of poisonous propaganda.Recommend

  • Mukarram Khan

    Muslims are the one who accepts Prophet (P.B.U,H) as a LAST prophet, but qadeeyani and ahmadi are not accepting this. Ismailis are also not muslims. And all others are muslims. don’t spread confusionRecommend

  • Sultan Khan

    @Mukarram Khan:
    No doubt Muslims, even of today accept Hazrat Muhammad(PBUH) as the last Prophet but unfortunately they do not accept his teachings that is PEACE, TOLERANCE and NON-VIOLENCE. Recommend

  • Lams

    Really enjoyed your article, truely an eye opener and thought provoking. I think this phrase of yours sums up the situation “We may notice the plight of the Gazans or the Rohingya Muslims, but fail to notice the excesses right under our noses.” May there be light in all this darkness.Recommend

  • Ahmadi

    @lodi:

    Dear Lodi, according to our belief Islam was created and given to us by Allah through prophet Muhammad pbuh. There is no authority on the earth who can change or amend this religion except Allah. Pakistani parliament had no authority or jurisdiction to interfere in the religion of Islam. Allah will decide on the day of judgement who was Muslim and who acted upon His teachings. Your certificate of Islam issued by Pakistani parliament has no value and I am sure you will not be pardoned due this certification. May Allah give you strength and wisdom to understand Islam. Recommend

  • Leopard

    Well written and presented. Readers to see how the community head is striving hard for peace and how community members (even dead) are being treated in land of pure:
    “On 04.12.2012 in the afternoon, an historic keynote address by the world leader of an Islamic community, to be delivered in the European Parliament, will urge politicians to seek faith-inspired solutions for conflicts rooted in geo-political causes. With the unfolding conflict in the Middle East clearly in mind, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, will tackle head-on the issue of eliminating extremism and promoting peace based on international justice. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is established in 200 countries and is one of the oldest Muslim communities across Europe and America. His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad is the world’s leading Muslim figure promoting peace. His addresses delivered around the world, including Capitol Hill and Westminster, have advocated ways to broker peace in an increasingly globalized and conflict-ridden world. Fundamentally, His Holiness calls for the quest for justice to be put on a par with peace. He stresses that true justice springs from faith and that revealed scriptures, which millions of people hold dear, provide the framework for delivering that very justice they seek. His Holiness said: The establishment of world peace is the most vital and pressing issue facing the world today. However, the truth is that peace and justice are inseparable – you cannot have one without the other. There is little doubt that restlessness and anxiety is increasing in the world, and so disorder is spreading, which is a clear indication that somewhere along the line the requirements of justice are not being fulfilled. World political leaderships have their creative and intelligent minds focused on ideas, plans and indeed a vision of peace. Thus, this issue does not require me to speak from a worldly or political perspective; instead my entire focus will be based on how to establish peace based on religion. For this purpose I shall present some very important guidelines based on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. His Holiness will deliver his address at the European Parliament, Brussels, on Tuesday 4 December. Hosted by The European Parliament ‘Friends of the Ahmadiyya Muslims’ Group, the event will be chaired by Dr Charles Tannock MEP with Vice-Chairs Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Tunne Kelam MEP and Claude Moraes MEP.”Recommend

  • Shahid Imran Ahmed

    @lodi: is declaring someonne muslim or kafir a political issue? Why would the assembly declare then someone non-muslim? Is the definition given by Prophet Muhammad saw not sufficiant for us “pious champions of islam”?Recommend

  • Shahid Imran Ahmed

    Punjab Government and PTI even didn’t dare to perform lip serices in condeming this inhuman act. Both are liasoning with the Takfiris for the election. NO CHANGE atleast for Ahmadis. Our case is only with Allah almighty. Recommend

  • Sultan Ahmad

    @ Lodi
    Elected assembly can decide what is the religion of an indvidual or a group? Vow! Assemblies are not elected to decide the religious issues. All Pakistanis know that for last so many decades that Pakistani assemblies have failed to provide good Governance and honest Governments. These assemblies should concentrate on these issues.Recommend

  • Ismail Mirza

    This is shame for law authorities in Pakistan who encourage these kind of elements to act against Humanity which is totally against the teaching of Islam.
    All law authorities need to take action against these kind of activities which give very bad name to Islam and give none Muslim world a chance to spread anarki and hate against Muslim in the world.Recommend

  • Ihtesham Shahid

    Granted that Ahmadis have been declared non-muslims; they therefore have at least the status of “minorities” in land of the pure. On the basis of being amongst the minorities, the responsibility of their safety – not only their safety but also the safety of their places or worship, their cemetries, etc. – lies entirley on the government. On this account the government has failed miserably. The government spokespersons – the likes of Maliks, Babars and Kairas are all silent – how shameful it is.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Feroz: “The biggest canard spread by the Media and PR managers over the last 65 years is that a majority of the Pakistani population is moderate”
    Perhaps until 1971 it was not a canard – hence the moderate majority went on to form a different country?.

    @Pessimist: You have a fan in me. Every single post of yours that I have seen so far, I agree 100% and they are always well articulated.

    @lodi:”Ahmadis have been declaired non-muslims by the elected assembly of Pakistan so they are non Muslims by all standards”
    Is it upto humans to declare what someone’s faith is – even elected humans? Or should the matter be left to God?

    @Mukarram Khan: “Muslims are the one who accepts Prophet (P.B.U,H) as a LAST prophet, but qadeeyani and ahmadi are not accepting this.”
    I am not Muslim and so would like you to help me understand which of the 5 fillars of Islam refers to this requirement? Also regardless of whether someone IS or is not a Muslim, how does that justify desecrating their graves? Recommend

  • John F

    I am not a muslim, so can someone enlighten me : If Ahmedias are muslims, then why cant they call themselves as sunni and be done with it? What part of Islam are they not following?Recommend

  • GS@Y

    @lodi: The elected assembly of Pakistani is NO judge of who is or is not a Muslim. That is a question of individual conscience, not of public policy. The assembly actually has no right to make laws like that as they violate the “rational consent” of the people. No citizen can be told by the state that he or she is somehow less or deserves less. So we must speak up when the state makes illiberal and irrational laws. Recommend

  • Karachi Insafian

    we are a moral wreck as a nationRecommend

  • Masood Ahmed

    All I can say “GOD BLESS YOUR HEART” That you wrote a very good article. What a great mature thinking you have. God Bless us all. Amen Recommend

  • Nauman

    Hopeless Islamic Welfare state of Pakistan

    Never a proud Pakistani!Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed

    @John F:
    My dear John I would like to greet you with Islamic greeting Assalamu Alaikum (May Allah keep you in peace). This is not the place where one can tell you the difference of Ahmadis and other Muslims. For this I recommend you to find someone who has proper knowledge of Islam. He/she may not be a Muslim but have knowledge of Islam. Because to find out a real Muslim in modern days is really a difficult task. But not impossible. There are millions of people proclaiming to be the Muslim but they are not as you can see all these comments on the article do you think these comments including the author are good Muslims or even have some knowledge about Islam. Sorry to all but no one making all the comments have even slightest knowledge of Islam or teaching of Holy Prophet.
    I find your heart an innocent one. May Allah bless you and show you the right person to explain your question and show you the right path. (Amen)Recommend

  • Ali

    @Mukarram Khan:

    Who you are to judge and declaring the Ismailies as Non Muslims. I would suggest to read and learn.

    With respect.
    AliRecommend

  • saad

    The heinuous act must be condemned at all levels in society. I am perplexed to see indifferent response from government at provincial or federal level.
    Further, the most important thing to be noted is that there are/were no violent protest made by the community. Each time the community is vandalized, either by shooting their innocent men or destroying property AND graves, they would protest withinn the legal boundary – by writing higher authorities or lodging official complaints, if facilitated by law enforcement agencies. BUT never take the law in their own hands nor will go ad destroy any other sects lives and properties, let alone graveyards. They wont even cuss, just pray to their God and ask for His help. Interestingly, when we say there is only ONE GOD -ALLAH then why do we forget that he will listen to all creatures irrespective of their faith or religious classification by men and national assemblies. What if God comes to answer their prayers? I hope He does sometime soonRecommend

  • Sahil

    We as a nation have plunged into the depths of immorality and intolerance. It has virtually become impossible for minorities to survive respectfully. Successive governments’ indifference to this menace has encouraged the handful of those who exploit the religion for their own vested interests. Even major opposition parties are reluctant to openly condemn the discrimination with minorities…Recommend

  • sabi

    Author,
    1) or of insulting the religion of any person, or with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, or that the religion of any person is likely to be
    What is the definetion of insult?-Big flaw shame.
    2)” No folks, I’m a man of democracy and of rule of law, therefore, if my parliament decides upon a law ordering something to be the case, I won’t speak otherwise. However, where a law exists and is not being..”
    Bravo!! what an understanding od democracy. If some bigots in parliaments decide to burn all the non muslims to death in this country you will accept it as being a man of democracy.
    If you had some basic concept of democracy you wouldn’t have said like that.The day Ahmadis were declared non muslim Pakistani parliament has butcherd democracy in this country.Is this a democracy or a theocracy.Recommend

  • Hamid Jalal

    Shame.. shame.. shame.. Its a shame that always.. always the blasphemy laws are used against Ahmadies and Christians. I personally do not encourage blasphemy, but being a lawyer I must emphasize that punishment of this crime and similar ones is a rightful demand by the Ahmadies. Should this crime be ignored by law enforcement agencies, it will increase and spread all around without control.Recommend

  • Yasir

    @Mukarram Khan: Well, that just your opinion. Same thing could be said about whatever sect you belong to.I guess at this point in time its better for them if they don’t call themselves Muslims.Recommend

  • http://gujrat Zalim singh

    if a Hindu claims he is a Muslim, muslims will jump in joy. then why should they be bothered about Ahmedis, who really are muslims?Recommend

  • XYZ

    @gp56

    do you mean that anything not related to the five pillars of Islam is not to be obeyed? And secondly the Quran clearly states that Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H is the seal of Prophethood.Recommend

  • http://gmail.com Iftekhar Khokhar

    **Desecration of Ahmadi graves is highly deplorable act, therefore should be denounced & condemned as much as possible. We fail to understand which are we going? Tolerance, respect, norms, moral values, integrity……. have been extracted from this society. Our social fabric is tainted & torn. No remedial measures are imminent. Recommend

  • gp65

    @XYZ:
    “@gp56

    do you mean that anything not related to the five pillars of Islam is not to be obeyed? And secondly the Quran clearly states that Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H is the seal of Prophethood.”

    I am a Hindu not a Muslim, so I cannot tell you anything about your faith. I can tell you that I don’t know of any Hindu including myself who is able to follow everything that is written in our holy books (we have more than one). This does not mean we keep calling each other as not true Hindu and wajib-ul-qatl or disrupt people’s funeral processions of those that we think are not Good Hindus. We believe that theory of karma will apply, good deeds will be rewarded and bad deeds punished.

    But you tell me about your religion. DO Muslims not believe in a day of judgment where Allah judges you? If a Muslim does not follow something in Quran it is between them and Allah surely? Why then are you performing the task that is Allah’s? Finally what about you? HAve you never disobeyed anything in the Quran?Recommend

  • Salman

    I think Non Muslims will teach Islam to all Muslims. Most of the decent comments are from non Muslims. Recommend

  • Pessimist

    I still don’t know why my posts aren’t being published on this blog! Recommend

  • Haroon Tayyab

    what the hell is going on? i commented 2 times on this blog and neither of them is published.Recommend

  • XYZ

    @gp56
    I do believe that what these people did with the graves is completely wrong and inhumane, but as you said you are a hindu just to tell you that believing in the Holy Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H as the last Prophet is a major part of our religion
    and as you said that there are many things Muslims do not follow that are mentioned in the Quran, this is not following this is believing . Recommend

  • Rambino

    If someone declares themselves to be Muslim, I do not see what business it is of others to dispute it. If they choose to do something that you might not agree with – something that does not affect your worship – that is solely between themselves and God. It is no one else’s concern. Recommend

  • Rania

    Similar to what Bahai’s face at hands of Iranian. The irony is that they don’t even call themselves muslims and are still persecuted as heretic sect of Islam.
    http://www.iranpresswatch.org/post/5346Recommend

  • Milind

    @Pessimist -

    “I still don’t know why my posts aren’t being published on this blog!”

    A Pessimist is mostly a closet realist…and realism is frowned upon in modern times.

    Clearly you’re in the wrong place… Recommend

  • Pessimist

    For Milind:

    I agree. My posts, especially on matters relating to religion are not being published. I have never directly criticized religion, I am however, deeply critical of those who commit atrocious crimes and use religion as an excuse. I have even included my email with my comments, so that ET may perhaps tell me why my posts aren’t allowed. But alas, to no avail… Recommend

  • Nasir

    A brave article by Badar sb, But this country is against the ones who raise their voice for others. Recommend

  • Ahmadi Muslim

    Assalamo alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatohu.

    Please remember that no person has a right to declare someone a Muslim or non-Muslim. In the Holy Prophet’s (saws) time, recall that a Muslim once killed an opponent in a battle who declared the Kalima at the last moment before the Muslim killed him. When this was reported to the Holy Prophet (saws), he was furious so much so that the Muslim who had killed that opponent felt it would have been better for him to have died rather than have upset the Holy Prophet (saws) like so. The Holy Prophet (saws) said that the Muslim was not God and had was not All Knowing to know what had been in the opponent’s heart. If he had professed the Kalima, whether it was sincerely done so or simply to save himself from death, a person can not and should not judge because a human can not look into someone’s heart and judge his/her intentions. Only Allah can do that. The Muslim should have spared that man’s life and considered him Muslim after he professed Kalima.

    A point to reflect over to consider how justified one is in his/her hatred and open declaration of Ahmadis as ‘non Muslims.’ Ahmadi Muslims, yes we ARE Muslims, understand this point and drawing from the Holy Prophet’s (saws) life and by following him do not declare anyone ‘ghair Muslim.’ Rather, if the non-Ahmadi Muslims professes to not be Ahmadi, they are referred to as ‘ghair Ahmadi’ Muslims, but NOT ‘ghair Muslims.’Recommend

  • feroz khan

    i am very shocked by hearing the this news, how one can do it?
    inhe sharm aani chahie kia inho ne nahi marna. allah k samne kia joab dain geRecommend

  • vvd

    This country is surly going to the dogs.The only lesson learnt in the last 65 years is to kill or be killed.Recommend

  • Engineer

    aahhh….shame and shame and shame….We are surely heading towards a disaster as a nation. We are calling for trouble..We are getting closer to the “AZAB-E-ELAAHI”.. Is this the way to preach islam??is this the religion presented by Holy Prophet of Islam(PBUH)?? why do these people forget the incidents that took place in the life of Hazrat Muhammad(saw)???why islam cannot be extracted from the life of the Holy Prophet of Islam?? go on you disbelievers..you will not find a peaceful grave if you keep on desecrating graves.. may curse of Allah be upon the people who interpret islam as the religion of such shameful acts… Recommend

  • http://gmail Fateh

    @Nadeem Ahmed: ASLAM O ALIKUM WAREHMAT ULLAH E WA BARAKATAHU
    i agree with Nadeem Ahmed. May Allah Bless youRecommend

  • http://gmail Fateh

    This is a Shamefull act which thay are done. Allah is one witness on this act. So, ready and seen His Judgement/decision.
    All Ahmedies are waiting for His Judgement/decision. Lets see what act will done by HIM(ALLAH).
    WO WAQAT DUR NAI JEB ISLAM AHMEDIYAT KAY NARAY BULEND HON GAY. AUR ALLAH APNA FAZEL DIKHAI GA. (AAMEEN)Recommend

  • major-ji

    @Pessimist:
    How true you are. Being in Khaki one day it was told to me sir your eating utencils have been separated as you are an Ahmadi. No posting at sensitive appointments. During staff course to sit outside with foreign officers as was not permitted to listen lecture on topic of senstive issues. Juniors refused to salute not accepting you as senior just on Ahmadiyyat basis. There are many hardships which an Ahamdi has to suffer in Pakistan. It is just hint. Thinking to write a small book on it so that future generations can know how earlier Ahmadies were treated in Pakistan. As I am confident a day will come when this nation will repent on the atrocities committed against AhmadiesRecommend

  • romeo_chaudhry

    this is INHUMAN ACTIVITY BY HUMANS, under the supervision of strong handsRecommend

  • Lams

    @major-ji

    I’m shocked & saddened to read about your treatment and perhaps of many others like you. As a fellow Pakistani I find it immensely shameful we treat our comrades this way.Recommend

  • G.K.

    “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
    ― John F. Kennedy
    This is the exact situation in Pakistan. Just by not protecting a single community, no other sunni or shiat communities are safe too. They need to understannd the that it was culprits who put rubbish thing that Ahmadis are not Muslims. And made a horrible mistake of fusing religon and politics in adisastrous way. May Allah keep all Ahmadis under HIS protection. AmeenRecommend