An Ahmadi family in Khushab says it is being victimised by local clerics who instigated the expulsion of a 16-year-old from his school and are now pressing the police to register blasphemy cases against him and his father.
The father, Hakim Jameel, told The Express Tribune that activists of the Aalmi Majlis Tahafuz Khatme Nabuwat (AMTKN) were also trying to get his other two sons expelled from a college where they are ICom and BSc students.
AMTKN members insisted that the 16-year-old student of class 10 and his father had both committed blasphemy. They also made thinly-veiled threats to this correspondent not to publish this story.
Qari Saeed, the divisional president of AMTKN, and Waqas Ahmed moved the application seeking a case under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code against Rana Sajeel, 16, for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), and under Section 289 against his father Rana Hakim Jameel for allegedly describing Sajeel as a Muslim in the school admission form.
The law does not permit anyone to call Ahmadis Muslims. Jameel denied putting down Islam as Sajeel’s religion, saying he had put down Ahmadi, as he had done when his other sons were applying to colleges.
He said the allegation against his son stemmed from a fight at school. He said that the school’s principal had overheard some students abusing Sajeel and had beaten them up. The students accused Sajeel of telling on them and beat him up. Sajeel then went to the principal to complain. “They made up a story, telling the principal they had attacked him because he made blasphemous remarks,” Jameel said.
He said that the principal of Al-Tahir Public School, Haji Aslam, was an AMTKN supporter and had lost an eye during a protest organised by the group. “The principal expelled my son and then got together with other AMTKN activists to lodge a police complaint,” Jameel said.
He said since the family had been accused of blasphemy, the AMTKN had been organising meetings at a mosque near their residence where they made inflammatory speeches. “People have turned against us,” he said. “We are under serious threat.”
He said that a property dispute may also lie behind the accusations. In August 2011, the Jamaat-i-Ahmadia had moved the courts against a woman named Zaibun Nisa who had tried to sell off land belonging to the Jamaat as her own, he said. Her grandfather had donated the land to the Jamaat in his will, he said.
The court ordered the registration of a case against Nisa and four others for fraud. She spent about three weeks in jail, before she announced that she was renouncing the community and moved in with Qari Saeed. He also arranged for her bail, Jameel said.
Qari Saeed said that he had no doubt that the police would register the blasphemy cases as “hundreds of students” had told him about the incident. Asked why he had not contacted the Khushab DPO when he was summoned as part of the investigation, he said: “The police should come to me if they need me. If I go to the police station, thousands of Muslims will come with me and there will be unrest.”
He admitted that Zaibun Nisa and her family were residing with him, but insisted that had nothing to do with this case. Asked about the property dispute, he lost his temper and hung up. Shortly after, a man identifying himself as AMTKN secretary general Abdullah phoned this correspondent and sought the address of The Tribune offices, saying he would send over some Lahore-based activists. As of late Wednesday night, they had not arrived.
A relative of Qari Saeed who taught at Al-Tahir School, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Sajeel had been his student and he did not believe that the boy had made blasphemous remarks. He said Saeed had a deep personal hatred towards Ahmadis.
Khushab DPO Imran Mahmood said that he was personally investigating the case and would not register the FIRs without substantial evidence. He said he would decide the applications in a few days.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2011.