LAHORE: A day after Premier Nawaz Sharif posthumously acknowledged the contribution of the first Pakistani Nobel laureate physicist, Dr Abdul Salam, who was an Ahmadi by faith, Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) raided the community’s headquarters in Rabwa and detained four of its members.
Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan’s spokesperson Saleemuddin said the officials, who arrived in three vans, made their forceful entry into the offices of the Jamaat at Rabwa in Chiniot district by beating a guard on duty.
They took into custody four of their members affiliated with their magazines – Alfazal and Tehrik-e-Jadid – and also booked five others in the FIR registered under 298-B, 298-B(a), 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code and 9-II(w) of Anti-Terrorism Act against them.
According to the FIR, the CDT officials raided the headquarters to stop printing of ‘banned’ magazines.
Saleemuddin told The Express Tribune that the magazine was banned on December 19, 2014 and the Lahore High Court (LHC) had granted a stay order on June 2, 2015. “The case of banning the magazines is pending before the LHC, which has issued a stay in this regard,” he said
On Tuesday, a petition demanding to stop printing of the magazines was taken up by LHC Judge Ali Akbar Qureshi. However, the judge referred the matter to Justice Ayesha A Malik when he was informed that Justice Ayesha had already granted stay and the matter was pending before her.
Saleemuddin said that since June 2015 the magazines have regularly been published, claiming that the police chose that particular day – when Dr Salam’s services were acknowledged to some extent at the state level – for the raid on the pressure of some anti-Ahmadi elements.
He said the raid, which is the first of its kind at the headquarters of Jamaat Ahmadiyya, was illegal and amounted to contempt of court. He said they have also sealed their printing press for 15 days. “We publish material only for Ahmadis so how can they term it hate material?” he asked.
Talking to The Express Tribune, CTD Punjab’s Additional Inspector General Rai Muhammad Tahir said he had consulted his legal team at the Faisalabad office about the court’s stay and he was informed that there was no stay order up till now.
He said a full team of CTD sat to deliberate on the point and it was decided that there was no judicial bar on conducting raid against the magazines.
“It is not true to associate this raid with Dr Salam’s acknowledgement. It is a purely local action and has nothing to do with some religious pressure group or some government quarters in Islamabad or any minister,” he said, adding that the raid was conducted on a complaint.
Meanwhile, the Tahafuz Khatam-e-Nabuwat on its Facebook page claimed that the CDT conducted the raid on its complaint and recovered hate material and illegal weapons from their custody. However nothing like weapons and hate material is mentioned in the FIR.
Different religious clerics are issuing statements against the prime minister demanding that he withdraw the decision of naming the Quaid-e-Azam University’s National Centre of Physics (NCP) after Dr Salam.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2016.