Ghari Shahu attacks anniversary: 88 Ahmadis killed. 1 year on. 0 justice.

Published: May 28, 2011
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A policeman stands guard inside the compound of an Ahmadi worship place, May 30, 2010. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

A policeman stands guard inside the compound of an Ahmadi worship place, May 30, 2010. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

LAHORE: 

As grieved Ahmadi families prepare to mark the first anniversary of the deadliest attack on their community in Pakistan’s history, investigations stand still.

On Friday, May 28, 2010, over 88 people were killed in twin gun-and-bomb attacks at Ahmadi places of worship in the Garhi Shahu and Model Town areas in Lahore. Investigations were launched and arrests were made but little has come out of the investigations.

According to police, a charge-sheet against the accused was prepared after investigations and has been submitted before an anti-terrorism court in Lahore. “The remaining attackers were killed in the operation and no other attackers or facilitators have been identified,” Civil Lines Superintendent of Police (Investigations) Captain (retd) Liaquat Ali Malik told The Express Tribune. “Police responded effectively and killed all of the attackers.”

But many members of the Ahmadiyya community believe that the police response was sluggish.

In its annual report released in January, the London-based Ahmadiyya Jama’at said that police took a long time to arrive in numbers and the delayed response led to more casualties due to lack of medical assistance for the injured. “There was inadequate supervision of the police operation. The contingent present at Garhi Shahu received no orders to mount a prompt counter-attack,” the report says.

Ahmadiyya Jama’at Pakistan spokesperson Saleemuddin says that the police has made scant progress in investigations. “The two attackers against whom a charge-sheet was prepared were tackled by worshippers themselves in Model Town. The police has neither identified any other attacker nor has it taken the matter seriously,” he said.

Ahmadis have many fears over their protection in the country. According to the Ahmadiyya Jama’at, 99 members of the community were killed in 2010. The number is confirmed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its State of Human Rights 2010 report. The HRCP adds that 64 Ahmadis were charged with blasphemy that year.

The Lahore attacks, according to Ahmadiyya Jama’at, were not a big surprise as the provincial government had been forewarned by various sources about the likelihood of such an attack.

Even after the attack, no special measures were taken to secure Ahmadi places of worship. In September 2010, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a worship place in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where worshippers were offering Friday prayers.

The Ahmadi population, estimated to be around four million, has been marginalised since Pakistan’s parliament declared Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974. Ten years later, in 1984, then president General Ziaul Haq enacted an ordinance forbidding Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims and refer to their places of worship as mosques. Under the law, Ahmadis can serve up to three years in prison for “posing as Muslims”.

Saleemuddin believes that the silence over the plight of Ahmadis could lead to more such attacks. “If anti-Ahmadi laws are not repealed, their lives in Pakistan [will continue to] remain in danger,” he says.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • muhammad tanvir fahad
    May 28, 2011 - 10:14AM

    We’ve treated the ahmadi community like animals.Of all the minorities it is the ahmadis who’ve been treated the worst by us.Christians,hindus,parsis etc. don’t feel ashamed in letting people know of their religion but ahmadis have been made to feel like criminals & outcasts only because of their religious beliefs.

    The media chooses to ignore the ahmadis as their numbers are too few & they have no power anywhere in the world.The govt. chooses to ignore them as the ahmadis don’t have significant amount of votes or the economic power to be of use to the politicians & so they’ll continue to suffer & that too in absolute silence.Recommend

  • usman naveed
    May 28, 2011 - 10:19AM

    88 pakistanis killed & our media chooses to remaind silent on the anniversary.No mention of this atrocity on any of our tv channels,no anchor has the guts or the character to mention this sad day in our country’s history when a minority was attacked only because of their religious beliefs.

    The ahamadis face such horrific ostracisation in our society that it’s difficult to believe such shocking discrimination could be taking place in our country in the 21st century.Why the international media remains silent on this state sponsored discrimination is beyond me but i guess the ahmadi community has also to realise that they’ve not lobbied the international media well enough,not made sure that their plight receives coverage on cnn,bbc or newyork times.If one doesn’t make efforts to raise one’s voice & be seen raising one’s voice then the others won’t do anything for you.Recommend

  • asif bawany
    May 28, 2011 - 10:23AM

    There is no freedom of expression or religion in pakistan.One can’t say anything that the fundoo brains of the majority won’t be able to handle.Athiests,agnostics & ex-muslims aren’t allowed to say anything as otherwise the rabid maulvis will chop off their heads like goats or cows.If one tries to talk rationally then one is immediately labelled as a yahodi or RAW agent.
    If one tries to point out the absurdities in most of the things that the ulema say one is threatened with severe violence.The ahmadis are a minority in pakistan whose views are not liked by the overwhelming majority of our population,so unfortunately it is their fate to suffer the violence & daily indignities they suffer.Recommend

  • salman siddiqui
    May 28, 2011 - 10:29AM

    It is not just a tiny minority that supports religious fanaticism in our country.The problem is that a vast majority of our public supports religious terrorism & they can’t bring themselves to face the truth that our sick fixation with religion is responsible for all the bloodshed we have suffered for the last many years.

    We pump bullets into anyone who dares to speak out against religion’s brutal stranglehold on our lives,we declare as heretic & ‘wajib-ul-qatal’ anyone who becomes an ex-muslim.
    Why are people being forced to remain in the fold of islam under threat of violence & intimidation? if one wants to be an athiest or ex-muslim that’s one’s right.Recommend

  • H. Pascal Mian
    May 28, 2011 - 11:38AM

    Yet, even you choose to call them ‘Ahmadi places of worship’ instead of calling them Mosques. A bit hypocritical I think. And No, I am not an Ahmedi. Recommend

  • MN
    May 28, 2011 - 11:55AM

    I hope Express Tribune remembers the attack anniversaries on other Masjids and religious places and publishes similar articles as well.Recommend

  • shy
    May 28, 2011 - 11:56AM

    There is no religious freedom in this Islamic state.Recommend

  • raheela
    May 28, 2011 - 1:16PM

    jazakAllah ET for speaking up for us. At least there is some one who cares about the lose of lifeRecommend

  • IUHS
    May 28, 2011 - 1:19PM

    whats all the fuss about, i cannot understand.

    almost every other day our people are being killed left right and center regardless of the sect they belong to. has anyone gotten justice todate? the answer is no.

    everyone is treated equally in that respect atleast. so please stop crying about something that happened a year back and move on, and be responsible for your own security. our state has totally failed in all aspects except for corruption. peace. Recommend

  • M M Malik
    May 28, 2011 - 1:31PM

    The majority may have severe doctrinal differences with the Ahmadis, but declaring them non-Muslims is not in the ambit of the parliament. Our Prophet (saw) said that declaring kalima reciting a Muslim or non-Muslim is a decision resting solely in God’s realm. Recommend

  • Ravindra
    May 28, 2011 - 1:41PM

    ahmadis better get conerted to reli. of peace like other peoples did in the pastRecommend

  • sultan
    May 28, 2011 - 1:58PM

    may Allah give patience to Ahmadi Muslims and do justice himself.aminRecommend

  • MastMaula
    May 28, 2011 - 2:07PM

    When Muslims(read ahmadies) are not permitted to call themselves as ‘muslims’ how can one expect non-muslims to be safe or treated equal in anyway in Pakistan.Recommend

  • yousuf khan
    May 28, 2011 - 2:30PM

    our media should also cover the plight of Athiests,agnostics & ex-muslims in pakistan.They suffer more than anyone as the the religious fanatics say that anyone who doesn’t believe in our religion anymore will have his head cut off as that is what the quran says.Now tell me,on what ethical or moral basis can you force someone by threat of beheading to stay in your religion?Recommend

  • Adnan
    May 28, 2011 - 3:54PM

    Its pathetic how this country treats Ahmaddis!Recommend

  • M Ali Khan
    May 28, 2011 - 4:04PM

    The trouble and hatred on Ahmedis did not start from 1974. It started way back in 1952 when Maulana Maudoodi published his hate speech book called ‘Qadiyani Fitnah’ and incited a mass bloodshed and rioting towards Ahmedis of Lahore and other Punjab cities.

    One only needs to read the Justice Munir report of 1953 that clearly warned about appeasing maulvis and using their rhetoric for power. Boy has this country failed time and time again!Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 4:26PM

    All our equal, some are more equal than others.Recommend

  • zainab.imam
    May 28, 2011 - 5:37PM

    @ H Pascal Mian: We have to follow Pakistani law. Recommend

  • Rafiq A. Tschannen
    May 28, 2011 - 8:32PM

    @zainab.imam: If some laws are discriminatory they need to be changed. But anyway: does the Pakistani law not demand that murderers should be caught and sentenced. Where are the sentences in this terrorist / murder case?Recommend

  • Syed Zafar Ahmad
    May 28, 2011 - 10:40PM

    Hats off to Rana Tanveer for the write-up. It is however strange that the media in general seems scared of the Mullahs, or how else would you explain the defeaning silence of the media. The systematic persecution of the Ahmadee Muslims in Pakistan at the behest of the so called Ulemas is indeed shameful. The Administration, the Police and the Investigating agencies have undoubtedly shown their bias by conveniently burying the case of the murderers. It this is Islamic justice in a so called ‘Islamic’ state, no wonder, people with little knowledge of Islam would continue to carry misconceptions about a religion that excelled in fair-play, equity and justice. Let me ask as to who are those law-makers taking up the task of deciding on others’ faith, and certifying “Muslims” and “Non-Muslims”. Where from did they get the competence or authority to take over the role of Allah – who alone knows who is Muslim and who is not. Let the enlightened lot of Pakistan search their souls.Recommend

  • AnisAqeel
    May 29, 2011 - 12:59AM

    @zainab.imam:
    You are absolutely right that, “We have to follow Pakistani law”.
    Ahmadies may be wrong or right but where did the law say that 88 innocent and God-fearing people must be slaughtered to call you a Muslim.
    Do you realize that the person who inducted these clauses to harm Ahmadies infect harmed the entire Pakistani nation (we are witnessing the results) and BTW he came to power illegally and the punishment for that treason is death. Although death penalty was enforced on him, not by the law abiding citizens like you, but by the God Himself (Allah-ho-Akbar)!!!
    “Civil Lines Superintendent of Police (Investigations) Captain (retd) Liaquat Ali Malik told The Express Tribune. “Police responded effectively and killed all of the attackers.”
    Captain (retd) Liaquat Ali Malik you should be ashamed of having such an office without having ability to hold it. Our country is going through havoc because of incompetent people like you. Please go through any newspaper archive dated exactly 1 year ago.Recommend

  • AA Choudhary
    May 29, 2011 - 6:32AM

    @IUHS. Government of Pakistan permits speechs, pamphelets and sermons openly calling for the death of Ahmadi Muslims. Mr IUHS wait to understand the situation when mullahs and their ffollowers will call for death to IUHS. May be the time is approaching fast. However, the case of Ahmadis is in the court of Allah. In His court there may be delay, to permit repentence, but justice is never denied.Recommend

  • sarah
    May 29, 2011 - 8:23AM

    i am glad someone raised the voice…….i had thought all had forgotten about it……..how can someone forget!Recommend

  • Mobi.pk
    May 29, 2011 - 12:46PM

    there r very few such attacks on minorties, so its not wise to associate such attacks as attacks on minorties, its act of terrorism. i dono y media highlight such incidents as attack on minorties and demoralize the state … do they forget hundreds of attcacks on masjids and shrines, so can it be called as attack on islam???
    this is attack on Pakistan, whether a masjid a shrine or minorties worship place. we should be wise enough to think logically. Recommend

  • Thinking
    May 29, 2011 - 1:55PM

    Kudos to ET and the intelligent commenters above for empathizing with the fate of this helpless community.Recommend

  • Abdul Alim
    May 29, 2011 - 4:31PM

    @Thinking:
    Alhamdolillah we are not helpless. The Almighty is with us. He speaks when no one else speaks and acts to accept the prayers of those who seem silent. We were called a cancer by Mr. Zial Huq and blamed for creating a state within a state. Mullahs raised hue and cry to persecute us on these baseless issues. Now you can all see the real cancer, militants destroying society. Agencies have become state within the state. We have been warning fellow citizens for over 60 years since 1953 (please read Munir Commission Report). Now chickens have come home to roost and no one is safe. The real challenge to Pakistan’s is not the American incursions. It is all the assorted militants that have been invited by those who did not want Pakistan in the first place to come and destroy our beloved homeland, the homeland for which Ahmadis have laid down their lives. Open your eyes. It is already too late, but prayers can still turn the tide. Recommend

  • Haji Rafiq
    May 29, 2011 - 5:07PM

    Well, I am waiting that all newspapers and news outlets mention that the attacks took place in two Mosques belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (and not ‘places of worship’). Go and see: Exactly the same prayers, in the same Arabic wording, are being said in Mosques belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as in all other Mosques.Recommend

  • Haji Rafiq
    May 29, 2011 - 5:10PM

    Regarding Mosques belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community: Are you afraid to be given 3 years jail sentence? I do not think you would. The Marshall Law Ordinance states ‘Any member of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat who considers himself a Muslim… and calls a Mosque a Mosque…’ Consequently any Muslim not belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community would not be charged with this ‘crime’.Recommend

  • mussarat
    May 29, 2011 - 9:30PM

    @muhammad tanvir fahad:

    Doesn’t make any difference. If they treat Ahmedis like Animals, world is treating (those treat ahmedis or other minorities) like “Pork”.

    Honestly speaking, they are much better and learned, qualified, peaceful and tolerant musims I ever saw in my life. Their only crime is that they offer “Five Time Prayers” very regularly and follow Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and act upon His teachings in real sense.

    They strongly condemn terrorism and firmly believe in Jihad through Pen as taught by the Prophet
    Muhammad (SAW).

    It was one-eyed dictator Zia-ul-Haq who crushed all minorities including shia and Ahmedis minorities in Pakistan to his best while Zulfikar Ali Bhutto declared Ahmedis minorities on the instigation of Mullah who later got him hanged through Zia (Malaoon).

    It is unique verdict of history both died non-biological death.

    May God Bless Pakistan and save all minorities living within it’s bonds, amen.

    Mussarat Recommend

  • Anonymous
    May 30, 2011 - 1:32PM

    @IUHS:
    “whats all the fuss about, i cannot understand.
    almost every other day our people are being killed left right and center regardless of the sect they belong to. has anyone gotten justice todate? the answer is no. ”

    Precisely the reason justice should have been done without delay..Recommend

  • Ahmad M. Qamar
    Jun 19, 2011 - 10:10AM

    @mussarat:
    Very true. Recommend

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