Masood Bhatti is the headmaster of Rahmatabad High School, in Rawalpindi, in Pakistani Punjab (the Punjab province having been divided between India and Pakistan since the Partition of India in 1947), where around 2,000 pupils are educated. He has been appointed recently. According to Pakistani law, he is a criminal. He in fact belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (AMJ) (“jama’at” meaning “community”), and in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan being an Ahmadi is both a heresy and a crime.
In Pakistan there are many of these “criminals,” and members of their community are constantly harassed and attacked, beaten, or even killed, by thugs that think it is their duty to punish them publicly.
Local and state authorities support discrimination and persecution through the Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, passed on September 7, 1974, which declares that Ahmadis are not Muslims, and Ordinance XX, promulgated on April 26, 1984, that forbids references to Islam and even the use of Islamic terms and titles for the AMJ. This is why Ahmadis in Pakistan do not even have the right to be called Muslims. They are indicated with derogatory terms like “Mirzai,” from the name of the founder of their movement, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908), or “Qadiani,” from the fact that Qadian is their holy city in the Indian Punjab, the birth and burial place of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. It is a way of designating them through caricatures and parodies.
The police often leaves violence against them go unpunished, and mullahs agitate brutal mobsters through incendiary propaganda speeches that social media make viral. Now, headmaster Bhatti just became the target of Qari Idrees, Imam of the Ahl-e-hadees Mosque in Eidgah Chowk, Rehmat Abad, Rawalpindi, as the International Human Rights Committee (IHRC), a non-profit and non-governmental organization focusing on freedom of religion or belief based in London, informed.
In a video that, for convenience, friends of IHRC uploaded in a version with English subtitles on Twitter, the imam threatens to break the legs of the headmaster, finding it inconceivable that an Ahmadi has been appointed to such a professional position, his qualifications and experience notwithstanding.
This is the English translation of the Urdu words uttered by Imam Idrees in the astonishing video, provided by IHRC: “We praise the Lord and invoke blessings on His esteemed Prophet, peace be upon him. I seek refuge in Allah from Satan the accursed. In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, ever Merciful. Mohammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Prophet of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets. And surely Allah has full knowledge of things. I’m talking at the moment to the residents of Rahmatabad, Chaklala, Dhok Munshi Khan. I’ve just received news about Rahmatabad High school, in which a large number of our Muslim children are taking education. Their numbers vary from 1,500 to 2,000. There, a Mirzai/Qadiani, Masood Bhatti, has been appointed as headmaster. I strongly condemn this decision. And appeal to the officials of the school, Commissioner
and Management that his cursed person should be sacked immediately. Under no
condition, will we accept Masood Bhatti as headmaster. We will not allow him to come to
school whatsoever. If he tries to come, he will not go back on his legs. If there is bloodshed
or damage, the education officials and management will be responsible. I thereby appeal that he should be sacked with immediate effect. As a headmaster, in any province or in any area, we won’t accept Masood Bhatti. I also appeal to the clergy of that area, and I say to the residents of Rahmatabad, that you have a history. You have always stood firm against Mirzais and Qadianis. We will defy this cursed man. Today, we have called a meeting of the scholars, the local clergy, and the political representatives of Rahmatabad. And starting from tomorrow, we will keep watch around that school and under no condition will we allow him to enter. May Allah keep all of us safe. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.”
“There are many cases like Masood Bhatti’s,” Nasim Malik, Secretary General of IHRC, tells “Bitter Winter.” “We just reported his case, singling him out, to alert the world and lit a light on a situation that became unbearable in Pakistan. There are many Masood Bhattis who are discriminated and threatened in their daily life and job just for the ’crime’ of being Ahmadi. How long will this continue?” (Bitter Winter)