5 Ahmadis detained without proof of blasphemy: HRCP

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5 Ahmadis detained without proof of blasphemy: HRCP

* Report says relative of local MNA, elements belonging to banned organisations pushed police to register case
* Commission demands prompt, transparent investigation into matter

Staff Report

LAHORE: The five Ahmadis detained on the charges of blasphemy in Layyah district have been held without any proof or witness, the Human Rights Commission (HRCP) said on Thursday.

The commission, which had sent a fact-finding team to Layyah district last week, said its findings concluded that an investigation, mandated by law prior to the registration of a blasphemy case, had not been held.

The HRCP team learned that a prayer leader in the village had allowed Ahmadi students from a nearby tuition centre to offer prayers in the mosque. The students were later threatened by a government schoolteacher, and they never went to the mosque again, the commission said. About a week later, some villagers claimed finding blasphemous writings in the mosque’s toilet.

The complainant said in the first information report (FIR), “Since these Ahmadis are the only non-Muslims coming to the mosque, therefore they must have committed the offence.” The argument was heard time and again during the HRCP team’s interviews with the mosque administration, some villagers and the local police. The police and villagers conceded that there were no witnesses or evidence of the Ahmadis’ involvement.

Involvement: The HRCP team found that elements belonging to banned extremist organisations, and that a relative of a member of National Assembly (MNA) from the area had pressured the police to register a case. “It is clear that a local politician has also used his influence” to book the Ahmadis, the commission’s report said.

HRCP said the complainant and his ‘extremist’ supporters were adamant that the Ahmadis should be punished on the basis of presumption.

Investigation: The HRCP demanded a prompt and transparent investigation into the matter to ensure that innocent people were not victimised. It also demanded the government ensure that the Ahmadiyya community in the village was not harassed or ostracised. The commission asked the government to take prompt measures to rule out misuse of the blasphemy law. The detailed fact-finding report can be accessed at the HRCP website: www.hrcp-web.org



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