PAKISTAN: Threat to public safety, three Ahmadis detained ahead of Eidul Adha ritual

The three Ahmadis are current and former local community office bearers and have been held in the district jail for 30 days

The Friday Times (12.06.2024) – The district administration in Chakwal has decided to pre-emptively detain three members of the local Ahmadiyya Community ahead of Eidul Adha on the pretext that these individuals may indulge in “unlawful activities and acting in a manner prejudicial to the public safety or the maintenance of the public order.”

The Chakwal Deputy Commissioner Quratulain Malik, on June 10, 2024, issued three notifications (Nos 2253-2255), approving the detention of three individuals under Section 3(1) of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance 1967. The three individuals are Tahir Ahmed, Malik Naveed Ahmed and Riaz Ahmed Malik.

All three are residents of the Dulmial in Tehsil Choa Saidan Shah.

In the notice, the Chakwal District Police Officer told Deputy Commissioner Malik that these men “may cause deterioration for law and order situation in the area” while describing the individuals as “miscreants.”

The notification further said that the matter had been discussed in the district intelligence committee, which met on June 10, 2024, and unanimously recommended “that in order to prevent society from their (sic) activities, which are quite detrimental to public peace and tranquility, sectarian harmony, as well as law and order situation, it is very necessary that they (sic) may be detained under section 3(1) of the MPO, 1960.”

“Considering the above-mentioned grounds given by the district police officer Chakwal and evidence of his conduct being prejudicial to public peace as depicted in the report of the district police officer, Chakwal, I am fully satisfied that in order to prevent the said person from acting in any manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order, their detention is necessary and expedient in public interest.”

The deputy commissioner subsequently approved their detention in the district jail for the next 30 days.

The move, however, was deplored by the Ahmadiyya community.

The community said that Malik Naveed Ahmad was the incumbent president of the Ahmadiyya Community in Chakwal, Malik Riaz Ahmad was the former president, and Malik Tahir Ahmad was the secretary general of affairs.

The community claimed that the DPO called these individuals in for a meeting with the relevant Station House Officer (SHO) and Assistant Commissioner for Choa Saidan Shah. The Ahmadiyya Community delegation was pressurised not to perform the ritual sacrifice (Qurbani) on Eidul Adha. The community further claimed that during the meeting, the complainants (opponents of the Ahmadiyya Community) were also present.

The Ahmadiyya delegation informed the officials that there exists no prohibition in law where Ahmadis are barred from performing the sacred rite of Qurbani. Moreover, the Ahmadiyya delegation quoted the recent judgement from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the case of Tahir Naqash etc vs The State etc, and authored by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, where it is clearly stated that Ahmadis have the right to practice their faith within the confinement of four walls.

They further claimed that while the complainants were allowed to leave after presenting their case, the Ahmadiyya delegation was detained until the evening, and afterwards, the said three Ahmadis named were detained under section 3(1) of the MPO in Jhelum’s jail.

“This year, the harassment of Ahmadis is visibly higher than last year,” the community said in a statement, adding that members of their community are not only being forced not to perform the ritual sacrifice, but they are also being forced not to offer the Eidul Adha prayers.

Police to demolish minarets atop worship place

In a separate incident, officials at a police station in Lahore have indicated their intention to demolish minarets erected atop the local Ahmadiyya place of worship (Baitul Zikr) in the Jahman neighbourhood. This worship place was built in 1970 and thus cannot be subjected to the 1984 law against Ahmadis.

“This is a clear violation of Lahore High Court Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh’s decision (Para 16) that protects the minarets of Ahmadiyya places of worship constructed before 1984.”

This alleged proclamation from the police and complainants was against the spirit of Tassaduq Jilani’s judgement, who, in his 2014 judgement, had called on the police to protect the places of worship of every religion, the community claimed.

“By ordering to demolish parts of Ahmadiyya places of worship, how is the police carrying out Justice Jilani’s orders?”

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