Author: Imran Jattala
Monthly Misbah, a women’s magazine published by the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan for decades is ordered banned on the recommendation of a board of mullahs constituted by Shahbaz Shareef, the Chief Minister of the Punjab province in Pakistan.
The District Coordination Officer (DCO) Chiniot, Dr Irshad Ahmad, issued orders to immediately ban the publication because, as Dr Irshad Ahmad cites, the Mutehida Ulema Board [United Clerics’ Board] has made the ‘observation’ to cancel the magazine’s ‘Declaration’.
“In the light of the… observation,” wrote DCO in his order, “I am convinced that Monthly Magazine Misbah is being published in contravention of Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance 2002.”
The DCO did not point out any specific issue of the publication found in any violations.
“It was informed that propagation of Qadianiat [a derogatory terminology for Ahmadiyya faith] is a crime Under Section 298-C of PPC,” wrote DCO, Dr Ahmad in his official order of February 15, 2012. “The monthly Misbah has been declared as propagating Qadianiat and as such recommended to be banned by Mutehida Ulema Board Punjab.”
“Therefore, I Dr Irshad Ahmad, District Coordination Officer Chiniot hereby cancel the declaration in respect of Monthly Magazine Misbah authenticated by the then District Magistrate Jhang with immediate effect,” the order read. “The printer of Monthly Misbah is directed to stop circulation of the Monthly Misbah forthwith under information to this office.”
The DCO Order or the documents relied upon to reach the decision to ban the women’s long-published monthly magazine did not cite what was found to be objectionable.
A few days later, on February 27, 2012, the DCO Office Chiniot again issued a show cause notice to the publisher and printer of the Ahmadiyya Community’s Daily Alfazl for the same purpose, citing the same law, it has been learnd.
“You are informed again that you present yourself in [my] office at 11:00 on 03.03.2012 along with the declaration of the daily/weekly Alfazl and state reasons as to why the said daily/weekly Alfazl’s Declaration should not be cancelled,” read the notice. “In case of your absence, further action will be taken as per rules.”
The recommendation to ban Daily Alfazl is also ‘observed’ by the same band of mullahs employed by the government of Punjab.
The board made up of clerics who openly align themselves with militant outfits, the rights activists say, has been allowed to interfere in the affairs of Ahmadiyya minority and non-Muslim communities like Christians and Hindus.
In Pakistan, the rights activists further point out, the number of dailies and periodicals published by the banned Jihadi organizations run into tens of thousands and enjoy full ‘Freedom of Press’, but the Ahmadi women’s magazine is banned for no reason.
“Colossal violation of Ahmadis’ fundamental rights by the Government of the Punjab,” read the statement by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Foreign Missions Office in the London, UK.
“It was decades ago that the infamous military regime of general Zia banned the publication of Ahmadi daily and periodicals,” said the Ahmadiyya community statement. “It is bizarre that the present day democratic government of the Punjab should undertake similar retrogressive action when the world, and indeed Pakistan itself has moved on to greater freedom.”
“This action of the Sharif government has supported those who accuse PML (N) of being inheritors of General Zia’s regressive ideology and policy,” it was said in the statement by the Ahmadiyya community.
“The Ulema Board, the Home Secretary and the DCO all failed to pin-point the ‘objectionable material’,” said the Ahmadiyya community about the order banning the monthly publication. “A general statement was the only excuse that the magazine ‘preached Qadianiat’.”
Ahmadiyya community said that a magazine for Ahmadi women would “of course guide the readers in Ahmadiyya teachings, not Deobandi or Salafi doctrines.”
Ahmadiyya community confirmed the magazine carries a bold notation on its cover, “For the education of Ahmadi women”.
Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif and his party, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz Group (PML-N) who heads the Punjab provincial government, have come under fire for associating with militant groups in the past.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Shareef made headlines two years ago when he publically requested the terrorists not to target the Punjab as Taliban’s stance on foreign dictation was the same as the PML (N)’s view.
The media and rights groups had called CM Shareef’s assertion ‘a serious deviant tendency in governance.’
The Shareefs who run PML-N have been long accused of running the political party as family business venture and supporting questionable, even banned militant and terrorist groups.
PML-N members have been patrons of, it has been alleged, several known militant organizations such as Tablighis, Khatima-e Nubuwwat majlis, Laske-e Jhangvi (LeJ, Laskar-e Tayyaba (LeT), Jam?’at-ud Dawa (Jud), and even Tehrek-eTaliba, Pakistan (TTP).
Source: Al Ufaq